SHONA AND NDEBELE RESISTANCE 1896 – 1897 (CHIMURENGA UPRISING)
Mashona and Matebele resistance ( Chimurenga war) refers to the resistances which took place in the present day Zimbabwe against the establishment of Colonial rule.
It was a reaction organized by the Mashona and Matebele people against British Colonial rule in Zimbabwe ( Southern Rhodesia) which was represented by B.S.A.CO
The origin of Chimurenga uprising can be traced back in 1890, where at first the Whites ( British) who were under B.S.A.CO arrived in Mashona land.
The Shona people decided to collaborate with the British as they hoped that, the British would protect them against their traditional rivals, the Ndebele.
But the matter was not so. The Shona later on in 1893 came to realize that their interests were in jeopardy because the B.S.A.CO started to monopolize trade and land in Masholand.
Therefore, in the same year 1893, the Shona decide to react militarily against the British. But this was fruitless as the Shona were very weak militarily compared to the whites.
Three years later, In April 1896, the Shona decided to join with their traditional rivals, the Ndebele to make a joint uprising which came to be known as Chimurenga uprising.
REASONS FOR THE OUTBREAK OF CHIMURENGA UPRISING
Land alienation (Expropriation)
The B.S.A.CO expropriated the Shona land without consulting the local chiefs. Nearly all the fertile land in Mashona was taken away and given to the whites.
In other hand the Ndebele were turned to be squatters on European farms. They were required to pay rent of labor for the use of land. This as a result led to the outbreak of Chimurenga uprising.
The B.S.A.CO established policies which forced/ compelled Africans in both Matebele land and Mashonaland to supply labor in whites and mining. Labor was recruited by armed forces or by police forces something which provoked anger to Africans hence Chimurenga Uprising.
The Chimurenga Uprising was also due to the British South African Company (B.S.A.CO) which interfered and monopolized the trade patterns of the Shona and Ndebele. The Shona for long time had established a mutual trade relationship with the Portuguese in which they obtained arms and a variety of goods at low price.
The B.S.A.CO attempted to stop that trade something which angered the Africans. Also the Ndebele were forced by the Company to dispossess the gold mining and buying and selling from South Africa. This also added to the inevitability of the Chimurenga Uprising.
The Mashona and Matebele depended much en – cattle rearing. The B.S.A.CO interfered with the native Germany as they started to confiscate the cattle and give to the whites. Meanwhile, the Ndebele were only permitted to keep at least 40,00 cattle.
Therefore, for those with above the permitted number, their cattle were offered to the volunteers or to the B.S.A.CO. Other exceeding cattle were dispatched to the South Africa. This as a result led to the Chimurenga Uprising because Africans were discontent with Cattle confiscation.
The outbreak of rinderpest diseases
In 1895, there was outbreak of rinderpest disease which killed many cattle in both Matebele and Mashona land. The outbreak of this epidemics was associated with the presence of Europeans ( White men) in the region.
Traditional leaders said that the Rinderpest occurred due to the presence of the white men, and therefore it was a punishment or curse from the ancestral spirits. In other hand, the B.S.A.CO in the process of combating the epidemics, ordered the people to kill their cattle. The decision of the British provoked the Africans who started organizing the war against the British hence Chimurenga war.
Chimurenga uprising also was influenced by harsh treatment which was practiced by the British officials, the B.S.A.CO administrators and also the Native commissioners.
Frequent brutal and corporal punishment were exercised by the B.S.A.CO administrators and the native commissioners who used the “ Sjambok” a kind of whip to punish the Africans. The elderly people were flagged and killed in public, and the conditions in the mines were deplorable.
The British introduced different taxes in Matebele and Mashona land and the collection of tax usually took the form of cash payment or grabbing cattle, goats and grains from the people who could manage to pay taxes. In 1894, Hut tax was introduced. The Shona and Ndebele Chiefs regarded this measure as a threat as the British government did not consult them hence Chimurenga war.
Payment of low wages
Chimurenga uprising was also resulted from payment of low wages to the Africans by the British in both Matebele and Mashona land.Africans were lowly paid in the mines and farms compared to the work they were performing. Also the environment of works and working hours were exploitative and harmful hence Ndebele and Shona Resistance.
Abolition of the Indunas
The British abolished the Indunas age regiments among the Matebele. Military towns were outlawed and the Ndunas were deprived their power, importance and position
Above all it was embarrassing for the British to nominate the Shona policemen to enforce laws and order in Matebele land. This angered much the Ndebele hence they joined with Shona to resist the British.
The British Missionaries disregarded the traditions and customs of the Shona and Ndebele people. The Missionaries wanted Africans to abandon their culture, especially ignoring their traditional religion which was based on Mwari cult. This eventually resulted into the outbreak of Chimurenga Uprising.
The desire to restore the lost independence
The British interference and colonialism in Matebele land and Mashona land created hostility and Africans day to day were discontent with the situation.
EFFECTS OF CHIMURENGA WAR
By 1897, the whites with their new and modern weapons and tactics defeated the Ndebele and finally the Shona. There was a cup of effects of the Chimurenga war as follows:
Death of people. The Chimurenga warriors were taught a bitter lesson and many of them died during the Many people died and many other were put on trial for murder and hanged.
The Indunas ( retired soldiers) in Matebele were recognized and given some leadership in the new system and paid
The Ndebele were redistributed new lands in the lowlands where they lived happily without being
The S.A.CO administration incorporated and expropriated more fertile land and cattle as war compensation. This made many Africans to lose fertile land and their cattle.
The Ndebele received favors from the whites because they ceased the fighting against the But the Shona in other hand did not cease fire during the uprising and continued the war. That is why they were not favored by the B.S.A.CO administration.
Many Africans adopted Christianity due to the inability of Mwari cult and Mhimo cult to defeat the white men. This eventually resulted into stagnation of African
The company administration was blamed for brutal administration and
The defeat of Chimurenga war resulted into total Colonial occupation by the British in both Mashona and Matebele land. The two regions became a single country which was named Southern Rhodesia by the British and the Shona and Ndebele were subjected into divide and rule
Divide and rule policy. After defeating the Shona and Ndebele, the British introduced a policy of administration called “ Divide and Rule Policy” in Southern This was aimed at disuniting the Shona and Ndebele so as to weakening the Africans and avoid another uprising.