discuss the impacts of the nguni incursions in zimbabwe around the 19th century

/discuss the impacts of the nguni incursions in zimbabwe around the 19th century
discuss the impacts of the nguni incursions in zimbabwe around the 19th century 2016-06-21T09:43:43+00:00
Questionsdiscuss the impacts of the nguni incursions in zimbabwe around the 19th century
Anonymous asked 2 years ago
1 Answers
Wiseone Staff answered 2 years ago

Just remember the Nguni include the Ndebele, Kololo and the Shangaane. We have partly covered these groups so you can view the topics currently covered here http://www.revision.co.zw/notes/ordinary-level-notes/history-o-level-notes/ you can look at effects such as the continuous weakening of the Mutapa State, the fusion of various cultures, the annexation of various territories by these new groups etc.

Parasmento replied 2 years ago

The Nguni incursions definitely increased violence within the Rozvi state. There is much truth to the claim that the Ndebele economy relied heavily on raiding and the various Rozvi communities especially those close to the Ndebele suffered as a consequence. From the arrival of the Ndebele in present day Matabeleland up to the imposition of colonial rule in the 1890’s, there was never a decade without Ndebele raids into Rozvi territory. Mzilikazi and Lobengula pursued a consistent policy of raiding against one or the other Shona communities. Apart from attacking the declining Rozvi, D. N. Beach cites Ndebele raiding activities which greatly affected the Chirimuhanzu dynasty in the 1850’s. These were repeated during the 1860’s when they raided the Kalanga during the 1860 – 1 drought. These were Rozvi tributaries in the west. That same decade (1868) the north-western Ngezi dynasty of Rimuka was also raided resulting in the flight of the Mashayamombe and Chivero rulers further north-east. In the 1870 the Ndebele raided across a 70km radius from the western Duma on the confluence of the Mutirikwi and the Popoteke rivers to the upper Popoteke. Finally the Ndebele raided from the Chivi to Gutu in1892 and from Mupfure to Chishawasha in 1893. These examples paint a picture of a consistent policy of raiding and therefore suggesting its central significance to the Ndebele way of life.

Among other things, the Nguni incursions definitely weakened the state. According to D. N. Beach (1986. p.51), the southern Shona became regular tributaries of the Ndebele. These included the Chirimuhanzu on the Shashe River as well as the other Rozvi groups in the modern Shurugwi and Zvishavane districts. Nguni groups like the Ndebele began to collect tribute from the Rozvi and that was evidence of the weakening of the latter. Tribute was usually in the form of grain, animal skins, cattle and even young me and women who were incorporated into the Ndebele state. As overlord of the Rozvi clans such as Svabasvi, Lukiluba and Rozani, Mzilikazi exacted tribute. During Lobengula’s tenure, Nemakonde and Chivi were some of the Rozvi chiefs paying tribute to the Ndebele. Those who paid tribute were not subjected to raids. Raids were more of punitive measures rather than the norm as evidenced by the 1893 raiding expeditions sent to punish Gomala in Masvingo for using Ndebele cattle to pay a fine imposed by the European settler administration.

Another significant albeit negative aspect of the Nguni incursions was that they fomented and worsened the rivalries among the Rozvi groups. The Ndebele did not fight all the Shona at once and they actually allied with some Shona groups while fighting others. The generic term Shona is misleading as it is implies a single, united and homogenous political entity which certainly did not exist in the nineteenth century. There were many scattered and independent Shona groups which were as likely to fight each other as much as they could fight the Ndebele. This explains why the Ndebele could fight against Chirisamhuru and Tohwechipi in the early 1850s and then became Tohwechipi’s allies before the decade was up. Chizema was also assisted by the Ndebele in his attempts to conquer southern Buhera. This also explains why Mzilikazi had the Chaminuka medium killed while maintaining good relations with other Shona mediums such as Nyamuswa, Wanewawa and Chikono. According to D.N. Beach, Mzilikazi even paid tribute to these mediums.

The Nguni incursions broke the Rozvi state into much smaller and fragmented polities. Like the Mutapa state before it, the Rozvi state collapsed under the weight of its vastness which could not be sustained by its ‘feudal’ structures in the face of growing pressures from the Mfecane groups advancing from the south. From about 1826, Rozvi were subjected to severe pressure from migrants fleeing from the Mfecane disturbances south of the Limpopo. By 1838, as many as five Nguni groups had passed through or settled in the region, each bombarding the Rozvi state and transforming the way of life of the local people. Two of these groups, the Ndebele and the Gaza, however eventually settled permanently in Zimbabwe and subjected several Shona groups to their rule. The new settlers introduced a system of tributary control premised on the threat of military use. These newcomers not only dismantled the core of the Rozvi ruling elite, but also scattered its varying factions in all directions. Mzilikazi’s Ndebele state thus subjugated and or incorporated into Ndebele society some Rozvi houses. By the 1850s, Ndebele rule stretched over the Zambezi, the Mafungavutsi plateau and Gokwe, with the Shona chiefs there paying tribute to the Ndebele.
The Nguni incursions resulted in fundamental changes to Rozvi settlement patterns during the nineteenth century. Many of the Rozvi communities abandoned the more open lowlands in favour of hilltops that could be better defended from Nguni attacks. Archaeologists came to use “Refuge Period” to refer to archaeological sites and artifacts loosely conceived as representing a widespread movement of population to walled hilltop sites and hidden refuges as a result of the Mfecane and other disturbances in the 19th century (e.g. Huffman 1971, 1974; Izzett 1980; Pikirayi 1993). Thus Huffman (1971) referred to the Refuge Period as a wider phenomenon in northern Mashonaland with characteristic pottery, while Izzett (1980) also refers to Refuge Period and “Refuge type pottery”. Pikirayi (2001) used “Refuge Tradition”, “Refuge Culture” and “Refuge period” interchangeably
The Nguni incursions also resulted in the cultural and linguistic assimilation of the Rozvi by the Gaza. Different Nguni groups raided the southern Rozvi groups in the 1820s and 1830s. These included the Nguni led by Ngwana Masesenyane and Mpanga. They raided the Great Zimbabwe region and incorporated some Rozvi groups before continuing with their northward advance (D. Beach p.50). In the early 1860s, another Gaza Nguni group established its authority east of the Save River and exacted tribute from the Rozvi in the area including the Duma. Their power also extended down to the Mwenezi and Bubi areas. This enabled them to become masters of the Hlengwe and Tsonga who had been Rozvi subjects in the past and led to their incorporation into the Gaza state as Shangaans.
The Nguni incursions also resulted in the cultural and linguistic assimilation of the Rozvi by the Ndebele. The Ndebele assimilated or incorporated Rozvi people into their society to the extent that the amaHole caste became the largest within the Ndebele caste system. Although prejudice existed it was not a totally bleak scenario as this caste could also provide chiefs and also enjoyed the same state protection accorded the Zansi and Enhla. If assimilation was forced on amaHole, it certainly was not forced on the Mutevaidzi of Mberengwa who voluntarily adopted the Ndebele language, forged alliances with the Ndebele and even copied Nguni practices such as ear piercing. For their part, the Ndebele adopted some of the Shona religious practices including the shrine at Matopos (Njelele). Historians such as Ranger have asserted that the cult priests of Njelele had sufficient authority among the Ndebele to organize resistance to European rule in 1896.
The Nguni incursions also fostered innovation among the Rozvi especially in the area of weapons manufacture. The Njanja have been cited as an example of how some of the Rozvi -Shona responded to the Nguni menace through perfecting their skills in gun manufacture and repair. They also perfected their technology of forging bullets and manufacturing gunpowder from the droppings of rock rabbits (Mackenzie 1975: 218). The Madzivire branch of the Rozvi also improved the weapons-making skills. According to Burke it took them only a night to forge bullets at short notice of the news of the approach of the Matabele (Burke 1969: 170). These and other weapons obtained from the Venda and Portuguese were useful in sustaining the long sieges of the Ndebele. The defeat of the Matabele at Nyaningwe in 1879 according to Beach had much to do with the rapid accumulation in the Mhari armoury of such locally manufactured and Venda guns (Beach 1994: 164). The Mhari themselves had come to forge different types of guns, common among them being kororo, and hlabakude (G. Marufu, M Matumbure pers.comm.). Ellert (1984:57) elaborates the development of this gun industry arguing that the 19th century Shona made copies of most of the imported guns which became known by their onomatopoeic names as zvigidi and most of them were extensively and effectively used in the 1896-7 Chimurenga.
There is little doubt that the nineteenth century was a turbulent period on the Zimbabwean plateau region owing to the various developments that took place. This situation was the end-product of the Nguni incursions on Rozvi territory.