According to the Tablet – Catholic records

Page 26, 13th February 1909

If you want to read the original article, please follow the link below. I found this very interesting.
The Catholic version

Page 21 from 28th April 1906
THE MAKING OF A PARAMOUNT CHIEF IN CHISHAWASHA.

Father Bert, S.T., in The Zambesi Mission Record gives the following account of the making of a paramount chief in succession to Chinamora : With natives there is no “The King is dead, long live the King !” Native law has no very certain nor permanent rules about succession. One thing seems accepted in a geteral way ; the crown does not go down in direct lines ; the son has no right to it ; the rightful claimant is found somewhere amongst the brothers or uncles of the dead chief. For all that, succession now, as in the past, leads to all manner of i intrigues.

Many a time in the past has t led to a tribal or intertribal war, and the boldest or bravest carried off the coveted prize. Now-adays the question is much simplified by the intervention of the Government. The traditional crowner of the Washawasha was one of the Varozwi, a tribe which at one time seems to have had the ownership or over-lordship of the land. It was the Murozai who put the red cap on the head of the new Chinamora. Once this was done, the crowning was a jail accompli, there was no going back upon it. At the present time it is pretty generally acknowledged that the real Murozwi is the Government.
As was to be expected, the task of the Government was not an easy one. Native predilections bad to be reckoned with. The various claimants with their dependent kraals lived far away from each other, and each was naturally supported by his own people. Ever since we came here the late Chinamora had lived on or close to our property, and now that all his people were either Christians or under our influence, it was natural to expect that our people would vote for a Chishawasha man. . . .
On the Tuesday, by the order of the Native Commissioner, all the chiefs with their attendants were marched off by the police to Goromonzi to hold the formal Indaba at which the new Chinamora was to be appointed. By invitation of the Native Commissioner, I was to appear also at the meeting which was held on the Wednesday. As I rode up to Goromonzi Camp in the early hours of the morning, the natives were already at their dances, each grouped around the chief whose canvass they were supposed to support. Our Chishawasha natives, pagans, and Christians formed one solid column, and were facing another composed of outsiders. My excitable young mare had another opportunity of getting used to warlike noises and revolutions. As I rode up between the columns, the refrain of their song changed to “The Utnjundisi has come !” thus showing how ready the leaders of the dance and song are to take advantage of anything at hand to change their theme.
At the appointed time word was sent to the crowd to assemble in front of the handsome new office recently erected for the Native ANALYSTS’ LAST REPORT ON SCORZA AND OLIVIERFS ALTAR WINES.
COUNTY ANALYSTS’ LABORATORY, 14, Temple-street, Birmingham, 26th November, 1908. Gentlemen,—We beg to report that on the 9th November we visited your cellars and took samples from the bins at our own pleasure, of nine kinds of Altar Wines which we found there, namely : x. Malaga Altar Wine, Rich. 2. Malaga Altar Wine, Dry. 3. Malaga Altar Wine, Medium. 4. Vino de Sacramento, Dry. 4. Vino de Sacramento, Medium. 6. Siracusa. 7. Malvasia. 8. Premonstratensian. 9. Monferrato.
These we have submitted to careful chemical analysis and as a result have pleasure in testifying that all of them conform to analysis, character of well-prepared, genuine, high-class natural Wines.
There is no sign whatever that the Wines have been subjected to treatment in any form other than that for the production of genuine natural Wines. Yours faithfully, A. BOSTOCK HILL, WILLIAM T. RIGBY. Messrs. Scorza and Olivieri, Birmingham.
Commissioner. We were soon seated under the verandah, and the dancing, shouting, and singing column came up and stood before us. They were told to squat down and the Indaba began in earnest, also the difficulty. It was evidently the wish of the Government to appoint the popular man. But how to arrive at the vox poprdi : there was the rub.
One fact had very much exercised the late Chinamori’s people. The royal insignia had throughout his reign been hidden away and had never been handed to him, although he had been duly crowned by a Murozwi. They were now lying on the table before us—not so precious as the English regalia in the Tower of London—but quite as valuable in the eyes of our natives. How relative all things are in this world ! An old weather-beaten ostrich feather cap, that was the crown. A couple of indifferent-looking assegais and a native hatchet, these were the insignia, the hiding of which by Makumbe had all along been a thorn in the side of our people. This matter was first examined into by the Native Commissioner, and the blame was laid at the right man’s door.
Makumbe was, of course, of one the principal claimants. He was there rolling in a wealth of fat, and the prestige of some twenty-five wives left at home. Gutu was there, formerly stout, as becomes a chief, but now thin and lean after a prolonged illness. There were others, too many to mention. We must not overlook Osiku, one of our men, a brother of the late chief and the father of some of our best Christians. He was apparently the favourite of our people. A thin, quiet, gentlemanly-looking fellow, with a large scar across his scalp, the mark left on him by a lion pouncing on him whilst he was yet carried on his mother’s back.
The above were evidently the ones between whom the choice lay. A formal vote would have settled the matter very soon, but of this there can be no question amongst natives. Long speeches were made, but it was difficult to extract from them a definite name. They are so afraid to speak out their mind before those who may rightly or wrongly make them suffer afterwards for their vote. They are always afraid of being poisoned. It was only after a good deal of persuasion they could be got to mention names. But they were hopelesssly divided. In former times nothing would have been left but to fight for it, when the bravest would have carried the day. Many days might have been spent listening to these people. But it was not to be so. In the name of the Government, Captain Nesbitt informed them that as they could not agree amongst themselves, Government was going to appoint a paramount chief. “Whatever right Makumbe may have had to the succession, he had lost it for unlawfully hiding away and withholding from the late Chinamora the regal insignia. I now appoint Osiku as Chinamora, paramount chief of the Washawasha tribe, and you are all to acknowledge him as such. You, Chinamora—Osiku, receive these insignia.” One of Osiku’s henchmen jumped up, quite disregarding the fact that the Murozwi who had come there for the purpose was sitting by his side, took up tie feather cap and placed it on Osiku’s head ; he then handed him the hatchet and the insignia. This was a silent recognition of the new stubborn fact that the real rulers of the country are what the natives call the ” Urumente” (the Government).
There now followed what was to us the most interesting part of the ceremony. One by one the defeated chiefs did homage to Chinamora with wonderful self-control, each in an appropriate speech backed up by a suitable present. Red Fez caps, more or less clean for wear, strips of limbo, coats, blankets, and even (oh, civilisation I) hard pieces of money were showered on the new Mambo, who at first looked anything but gratified at the weight of honour thus suddenly let loose on his scarred head. He was perhaps considering his chances of escaping the fateful muti (poison) which might some day be administered to him by people interested in his death.
Then followed shouting and dancing and hurrahing. The noise was deafening and anything but pleasing to European ears. It was interesting to watch the way in which the defeated canvassers veiled their real feelings and joined in the universal congratulation. Makumbe alone stood aloof after the first bestowal of his homage. But then his fifteen or sixteen stone of embarrassing weight seemed sufficient excuse for not joining in with the tripping throng. It is said he has since shed tears over his discomfiture. If his twenty-three wives joined in his lamentation there must have been a wailing indeed in Edom. When our ears were satisfied to the full with the noise, the people were told they might go, and each group found its way to its respective home. The new Chinamora was escorted back with shouts and exultation all the way to Chishawasha, where a new ovation awaited him. It lasted for several days and was duly kept going by copious draughts of wawa (beer). No disturbance occurred, and this, at any rate, is a credit to the influence of civilised government. A new chief had been made, and there was no bloodshed. The Government gives its paramount chiefs a brass badge with the Rhodesia Lion on it, and this is worn by a chain round the neck.

6 thoughts on “According to the Tablet – Catholic records

  1. I seriously question the authenticity of these documents. i have seen these and many more… I will speak more on this when i get my documentation to shed light to why I say this. Its funny how they document AFTER they massacre and killed people on that land and then claim there was noone inhabiting this land.

    1. Quite right, its just something I found interesting and what we can learn from this document is the details of the so called meeting that happened to elect the new chief. we need to find out if this happened at all? What do we know about it. I wish someone could go to the national archives and get information on the Chinamora Chieftainship as to who was the chief and when?

      1. This is the information that a very well versed scholar is helping me along on and i am awaiting to hold documentation that holds information that predates 1896 era of those who lived in Chishawasha.
        This information has been slow in coming forward but I am seeing slow and steady progress that I hope to share with you and those of interest. Some documentation apparently may be attained there kuChishawasha as my father let me know of the printing press that was there and said to me in a recent conversation it is worth me going to see if the originals maybe still available.
        Also i need to find vaSekuru’s brother who was a known figure for those in this region by the name Simeon Taonei. Last i heard they relocated to live kwaMurewha…

  2. Mukanya Chikowore, you have gone quiet when we you were becoming our professor. Anyway, when can you tell us about the Mwari priesthood that is said to have relocated from Njerere to Domboshava?

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