Opinion / Columnist

Mzilikazi gave the Shona a name to be proud of !!!

by Ryton Dzimiri
16 Feb 2013 at 05:22hrs | 10013 Views
King Mzilikazi is highly credited to be one of the best ever rulers of Zimbabwe. He was able to plan a start and an end of a National programme producing a happily strong Nation with an identity. When Mzilikazi arrived in Zimbabwe 1830, the country was fragmented with hundreds of different fragmented and infighting territorial leaders. The Monomotapa's  Empire had disintegrated and weakened after the death of Matope. The Karanga  (which means coward) were scattered all over without a single Governing Structure.

Mzilikazi fought through his way to become the overall ruler and absolute Government of the country. He organised the locals and gave them an identity and a culture to observe Law and order.

Back in 1834, Mzilikazi's warriors noticed that the Karanga were very good in hiding during a battle. The Karanga would stick very close to trees such that Mzilikazi's warriors could not see them. Mzilikazi warriors would then say in Ndebele "Utshonepi ke lo umuntu obelapha khathesi?" meaning "where did this man go because he was here just now?"

It was a skill the Karanga were good at, to hide so close to a tree during a battle so much that the warriors could not see them. The Ndebele then gave them the title "tshona", which means hide in Ndebele and Zulu languages.

Long before Mzilikazi came, the Portuguese had briefly conquered the Karanga who were generaly called Karanga which means a coward. Matope organised and wiped the Portuguese proving that he was not a coward.

Mzilikazi then brought Governance which earned him respect from the generality of the Karanga, Maanyika and the Rozvi groups. After resounding conquest, Mzilikazi restored order, law, love, respect, peace, security, protection and created a modernised Nation with one ruler. The country had long forgotten about the meaning of peace before then. The last time they had had stability was a century before during the reign of Mutapa.

Restoration of peace and creation of a stable modern Tax based Government by Mzilikazi was good news for the country.

Another good thing Mzilikazi brought was to give the local disorganised and ever quarrelling people an identity. He called them Shona, derived from "tshona".

I always wonder if people of Zimbabwe know this hidden history. When some people talk about their language and display it above other people's languages, I always wonder if they know that history is a science of equilibrium.

It always reminds me of my rude neighbour who used to brag and shout at his father saying "Dad, I am Gilbert, I need to remind you that !!!" His wise and educated father would always ask calmly, "Where did you get such a nice name son?", and common sense would prevail over baseless empty pride.     

  The name Shona was then officially launched in 1929 to give the Shona one umbrella name that would give them pride and identity. When President Mugabe was born in 1924, the name Shona was still a Ndebele term used to identify people from Eastern Zimbabwe who spoke related languages.

The Ndebele created the name Shona to bring civilisation, identity, order, pride and Governance tools which are still upheld today.

  Thank you King Mzilikazi for giving me an identity. At least I am known as Shona even by United Nations. I do not know what I would be called today if Mzilikazi had not given me the Shona identity. I do not like the Karanga identity which actually means coward.

Source - Shona,Mzilikazi
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