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Chief Chingaira Makoni remembered

Chief Chingaira Makoni remembered

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

HAVING been killed by the colonialists in 1896, Chief Chingaira Makoni continues to be remembered by the people of Makoni for his bravery and his heroic acts of resistance to colonial subjugation.

Chief Chingaira Makoni who was a great military strategist and first Chimurenga hero remains an iconic figure and an inspiration for the people of Makoni more than 127 years after his execution by the colonialists.

This Friday evening into Saturday morning, Chief Makoni led the commemorations celebrating his life as his head was taken to Britain as a war trophy.

In an interview on the sidelines of the commemorations, historian Ernest  Nyamukachi whose Uncle fought alongside chief Chingaira against the colonialists narrated how the first Chimurenga hero and military strategist successfully commanded battles before being overpowered by the reinforced colonialist forces.

“I am a descendent of Mahumbunga who was one of Chief Chingaira’s high-ranked military warriors. During the two wars known as the Gwindingwi battles, Mahumbunga fought together with Chief Chingaira. A total of 230 colonialists came to raid Chief Chingaira’s court led by Lieutenant Colonel Alderson and were heavily defeated during the war which took place at the beginning of August 1896. Chingaira was now using guns with Mahumbunga being one of the snipers and killed Captain Alfred Ernest Hynes.

“After regrouping they came with reinforcements and were now 440 armed with Maxim guns and dynamites to increase their fire power resulting in the defeat of Chief Chingaira. He is one of the few kings in the country to be the first people to resist colonialism.”

Although Chief Chingaira paid a heavy price for resisting colonialism, his acts of heroism remain engraved in the hearts and minds of many from Makoni.

Chief Makoni who led the proceedings during commemorations spoke on the importance of the day.

“We are remembering a highly decorated hero Chingaira Mutota Makoni. Chingaira is one of the first Chimurenga heroes who fought the Chindunduma war. He resisted colonial subjugation during the colonial period. Chingaira had wars with the whites with the first battle claiming 12 lives. The second claimed 3 lives before reinforcements came. He was killed in 1896. When they killed him they took his head as a war trophy to show Queen Victoria.”

Chief Makoni who is also the Chairperson of the repatriation committee is grateful that the second republic led by President Mnangagwa has taken up the responsibility to ensure the remains of the first Chimurenga heroes taken as war trophies to Europe are returned home.

“We are happy that the issue of the return of the remains of the first Chimurenga heroes taken to Europe is being pursued by the second republic, we understand that the British have agreed to return the heads of our heroes.”

The event saw traditional beer being the main drink with modernised traditional dishes being served.

Chingaira, Kaguvi, Nehanda, Mapondera and Mashayamombe are some of the early nationalists whose heads were taken by colonialists as trophies.