Did you know?
Early History of Chimurengas
The word Chimurenga is derived from the Zimbabwean spirit of war (wars of liberation) and this spirit was known as Murenga Sororenzou (he is also known by the Venda, and Lobedu as Thohoyandou, and they honoured him by building a city in his name). It is said the original Murenga was a great warrior emperor a long time ago. The name of Murenga means “Resister" or "Fighter". It is also believed that the wars of liberation in Zimbabwe were fought in his name.
There were many Chimurengas, like the Rozvi Chimurenga where Changamire Dombo and his followers vanquished the Portuguese and their mercenaries in a war that raged from 1684 to 1696.
The Barwe Chimurenga was in 1900, when the frontier Shona people united around Mambo Mapondera, Makombe Hanga, and Mwenemutapa Chioko, in a coordinated effort to ‘regain their country and women who had been taken from them’. Makombe Hanga was the last Makombe (or king) of the Barue or Barwe in Central Mozambique. He helped unite the various Zambezi tribes of the Tonga and Tavara (Shona subdivisions) in an anti-Portuguese coalition. He was known and respected by the last Mwenemutapa Chioko Dambamupute. Makombe Hanga was allied with both Mapondera and Mutapa Chioko and provided them with men and provisions to assist them.
At the end of the 1900s, the liberation force under Mapondera's military command had driven the Portuguese from the frontier region. By 1901 the Chioko-Mapondera union became a full-scale Shona rebellion. With the help of Makombe Hanga, the Barwe army liberated the Changara region from Portuguese control. Beginning in 1894 Hanga established a network of clandestine trading operations which extended from Salisbury to Beira and included merchants residing in Sena and Tete. In exchange for gold, by 1894 the Barwe acquired more than 7,000 modern rifles. To reduce his dependence on external sources, Hanga manufactured his own guns, gun powder, and cannons. The war was fought from 1896 to 1917 when Makombe Hanga was finally defeated. Makombe Hanga was the last African king in Mozambique.
Credit: Author Sabelo Shongwe: The Tradition of Resistance in Mozambique: The Zambesi Valley, 1850-1921