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Nehanda statue erection challenged

by Staff reporter
29 Jul 2020 at 17:07hrs | Views
A HARARE man wants the High Court to stop the erection of the statue of Zimbabwe's late heroine, Mbuya Nehanda, in the capital, arguing the government had bypassed traditional rites by not engaging her family.

Felix Elijah Shamuyarira, who claims to be a maternal relative of Mbuya Charwe, the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda, said in court papers the government was making a grave mistake by going ahead with the statue before a cleansing ceremony is conducted in the "dirty" city of Harare.

He said the city had to be cleansed of the spirits of a lot of innocent lives that have been lost in recent years.

Work on erecting the statue started in Harare this month and is expected to be completed in two months.
Shamuyarira cited Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, his Local Government counterpart July Moyo, National Archives of Zimbabwe director Ivan Murambiwa, National Museums and Monuments director Godfrey Mahachi and National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda as respondents in the court case.

Shamuyarira wants Kazembe, Moyo, Murambiwa and Mahachi interdicted from erecting the statue of Mbuya Charwe, also known as Nyakasikana, the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda, at the intersection of Julius Nyerere Way and Samora Machel Avenue.

He said the project must be declared unlawful in the absence of a consent document signed by her four "blood" family members, two representatives of the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda, chiefs Chiweshe and Hwata and two other individuals.

Shamuyarira questioned why chiefs Hwata and Chiweshe were not engaged or informed about the statue yet they were responsible for preserving the traditions of the areas they govern where Charwe originated from.

He said since independence in 1980, the government did not bother to meet with or appreciate Charwe's family for the work she had done as a spirit medium during the liberation struggle.

Shamuyarira said a meeting was called on July 3 in Mazowe where representatives of Charwe's maternal and paternal families agreed that the government had made a mistake by not engaging them, adding "it adds more injury to a broken heart".

"The family members and Chief Hwata, together with their spirit mediums maintain that the government of Zimbabwe and its leadership made a grave mistake in announcing their mission to the world without first engaging them on such important, national and historical matters that directly affect them," Shamuyarira said.

"The erection of the statue is of great importance as it is clearly apparent that Charwe did not die a natural death as she was murdered by the colonial regime of the settler British colonialists.

"As a matter of fact, the Hwata people have since independence remained secretive as the execution of Charwe traumatises them to this present day, hence the need of a healing process for them at national level. According a special day in our calendar to be declared a national holiday and in her name as already directed and pleaded to our authorities with due respect, remains necessary," Shamuyarira argued.

He said sacred mountains where spirit mediums were buried have been vandalised by illegal miners.

Respondents are yet to file their opposing papers.

Source - dailynews

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