The Tembo-Shumba Samaita clan

1. Why Tembo-Shumba?

I have come across a number of differing accounts on this clan. In one of them, it is stated that Tembo-Shumba (‘Zebra-Lion’) is the totem of the present-day Mutasa people, and that they were not always known as such. It is said the dynasty’s totem was changed from tembo to shumba, and the dynasty’s title was changed from Chikanga to Mutasa.


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2. Nhetembo yedzinza: Tembo-Shumba Samaita

Mwaita Mbizi,
Mwaita Chiwara,
Njuma yerenje, Mashongera,
Hekani vene veChirovarova,
Vakabva Marenje,

Thank you Zebra,
Thank you Chiwara,
Hornless beast of the wilderness, Adorned One,
Thank you masters of Chirovarova,
Who came from Wildernesses,

Mwaita Tembo Shumba,
Zvaitwa Muroro, Musimira, Maruki,
Mwazviita Mupiyaniswa,
Vana nyora dziri mudumbu,
Magunde avasikana,

Thank you Tembo Shumba,
You have done well Muroro, Musimira, Maruki,
Thank you Interlaced One,
The ones who have tatoo marks inside the belly,
To girls they are (sweet) green stalks,

Wazviita Mbizi yokwaChikanga,
Tatenda vaChifambausiku, Tendai waMutasa,
Muzungu, Mutakurwa,
Mushambadzi wamachira,

Thank you Zebra who hails from Chikanga,
Thank you, One Who Roams at Night, Tendai son of Mutasa,
The Caucasian, One Who Is Carried Around,
The cloth salesman,

Chitendera chamambo changu chichi,
Mbizi yakashonga mikonde savakadzi,
Maita Shumba Tembo,
Mwazviita Chihwechiremera,
Chakaremera wari kure,
Wari pedyo wachitamba ndicho,

You, the King’s confidante,
A Zebra adorned in girdles of beads like women,
Thank you Shumba Tembo,
You have done well, Fearsome Rock,
Intimidating to those afar,
Yet hospitable to those near,

WaSenwa avete Gorongozi,
Mwaita vari Makarati,
Vari Marenje, Guruuswa,
Tatenda VaMoyo,

Son of Senwa who lies buried at Gorongozi,
Those in Makarati, to you we are grateful
Those in Marenje, Guruuswa,
We thank you son of Moyo,

Zvaitwa Dhuve rangu riri,
Rina makwapa makwapa,
Hekani VaChikanga
Mwazviita wari kuTsoka,
Wari Nyamusipiti,
Mbizi Chiverekete,

Thank you my Zebra,
With stripes all over,
Thank you Chikanga
To those in Tsoka, we thank you,
Those in Nyamusipiti,
Zebra The Glittering One,

Mwaita Shumba yapasi,
Mwaita Zenze, Romo,
Kuwa kweBinga zuva rinoora,
Mwaita vari kuGwara, Mahwemachena,

Thank you Lion of the earth,
I am grateful to you, Large Mane,  Large Mouth,
Where a collapse of the chief’s enclosure foretells an eclipse of the sun,
To those in Gwara, we thank you, White Rocks

Zvaitwa vari kuTsoka,
Vari Chirovarova neMahwemasimike,
Mwaita Chihwa, Shumba yewese,
Mwaita henyu vari kuChai, Mahwemanyoro,
Aiwa zvaitwa Dehwerembizi,

To those in Tsoka, we thank you,
Those in Chirovarova and Mahwemasimike,
Thank you Chihwa, Lion To All,
To those in Chai, we thank you, Soft Rocks,
We are surely thankful to you Zebra Hide ,

Gakangoma,
Zvaitwa Samaita.

Drum-maker
Thank you Samaita.

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What is 'mutupo,' and why does it matter?

As presented by A.J.C. Pongweni (1996). Translation by ZimbOriginal with reference to A.J.C. Pongweni (1996).


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    32 thoughts on “The Tembo-Shumba Samaita clan”

    1. Please research further. This Tembo – Shumba Nhetembo does not make sense. Its like saying Nzou – Mhofu. I believe this came was a remix after the Mutasa people were invaded, defeated by the Shumbas and were were forced to adopt add Shumba as a way of submission. I think Chigwedere had the true History of the Shumbas. I am from the Shumba – Chiwara clan.

      Reply
      • Thank you Tichawona. Do you think the nhetembo might be incorrect? I know some colleagues who say they are of the Tembo-Shumba mutupo. Also, while they are called Tembo-Shumba, they are originally Samaita.

        This is the nhetembo as presented by A.J.C. Pongweni. I believe he also did very good research on the Shumba clan. I however agree that more research would be good. I will certainly do so and then share an article!

        Thank you Tichawona for stopping by.

        Reply
          • Thank you very much
            I was told that the Tembo Shumba people were originally Tembo.
            When they fought the Portuguese who had settled and hunted in the Eastern Highlands,These Tembo men and women proved to beto be great and unbeatable fighters who fought like lions and earned them The lion aspect to their to totem
            It was Mutasa,Makombe and Makoni who drove the Portuguese out of Manicaland .Mutasa elder Brother Nehoreka proceeded to Buja /Mutoko where the used their sister Njapa whom they married of to chief Chinyamakate who ruled Buja and asked their sister to spy on all his War tactics and report back including the bees which he used fight for him .She successfully accomplished her argument took the juju bees kit and have it to her brothers who drafted Chinyamakate who cut open Mutemwa Hill which he entered with all his people and Nehoreka and his Matasa Mabwiraupfu liones and muzvare Princess Njapa took over now Mutoko displaying their power and strength resulting in them being call Ganda Chiurayi Harahuru Shumba Nyamuzihwa Nehoreka..
            Chifambausiku boys Chavazve, Zimheni, Mukumbira,Mwashanya Washorwaand their Sister Nyemba better known as Buweramambo Mutasa went to Marondera accompanying
            some Portugues traders who were hunting and Selling fabrics and ivory including beads These also proved to be real liones and mighty warriors who fought and defeated chief/King Gunguo of Moyondizvo Rozvi tribe who raped vaNyemba Buweramambo who had two organs with the male irgan being more active evidenced by the fact that she impregnated her brothers wives while they were out hunting .This group proved to be real liones .Their brother Majanga proceeded to join the brothers Govera and the Chirimuhanzu Wemhazi vaGovera.Tembo shuma

            Reply
            • Thank you Dr Rudo for this interesting contribution. It will certainly be useful to other readers.

              Thank you for checking out my blog.

      • Haunyepi i listened to Chigwedere/Dzvova the great Zimbabwe HIstorians. speak makore iwayo and i was persuaded to believe he was speaking the truth. Having lived near a very old lady in the day those guys came at some point and that lady was correcting a lot of the misconceptions. We are still of the Samaita Clan from the Mutasa Dynasty. Hengu zvedzihondo dzakarwiwa we may go to town and back but we may never agree. Why i am saying this is the version we got from our own elders from the Shumba Samaita people is, Mutasa was involved in a war and ,”Akarwa seShumba”. Thus the Shumba Samaita emerged. I do not know how far true it is but this is what i got from my own grandmother many moons ago. Im no spring chicken myself. I am saying what i was told and i took it with a grain of salt coz it was not making sense to me kuti we are Shumba- Mbizi. Why having 2 animals as a totem. Pakipa.

        Reply
    2. Absolutely nonsense. Let’s not rewrite history. There is Shumba and there is mbizi. Not both. Mukanya Chigwedere explained all this

      Reply
      • Hi Chief Svosve,

        You are right, Chigwedere did explain all this. I hope you do realise the challenges that historians face. They always try their level best to accurately present history.

        I wish you had left details of the exact information that differs from what Chigwedere presented.

        Thank you for stopping by.

        Reply
        • Yes vaChigwedere explained this totem very clearly. Vakati vanhu ava mutupo wavo hausi shumba. Mutupo wavo iTembo Samaita. Kuti Shumba Chidawo. Chidawo chii? Wakati izita rinodeedzwa munhu zvitevera muitiro wake. Semuenzaniso wanaSamaita, wakati pawakauya kuzogara munzvimbo yavari vakarwa wakakunda zvinemutsindo zvekuti vanhu wakatanga kuti vanhu ava marwiro avo iShumba chaidzo, kubva ipapo Chakabva chava chidawo. Ndomataurirwe azvakaitwa navaChigwedere.

          Reply
          • Thank you Chakabvira for the feedback. I’m sure other readers will have much more information to consider as they weigh in on the debate that surrounds this totem.

            Reply
          • Wow ..very interesting..ini ndakanzwawo kuti yes mutupo is mbizi, but they wanted to lionise their hunting skills and also kungoda kutyiwawo in the new area of residence , having migrated from Zambia, hence adopted the mutupo shumba ..

            Reply
            • Thank you Jennifer for your contribution. This totem is certainly interesting because of all the different explanations around it.

              Thanks for checking out ZimbOriginal!

          • Thats what i heard from my grandma, in saying that i really doubted the authenticity of the story coz i remember laughing so hard as a 12yr girl. Ndiwo mutupo wangu, at 60 im still 😕 confused kuti ko vakuru ava vairei apa.

            Reply
      • I don’t think tembo ne shumba could be one thing but i think the is an explanation to why they combine two different animals imagine mbizi ne shumba being one thing this doesn’t make sense, it’s either the two clan went to war against each other and the thembo were defeated and were forced to add shumba to their name as a simple of surrendering or maybe shumba was a nickname who was given to one of the Tembo clan due to his hunting or fighting skills

        Reply
        • The little I have heard is that the victor in war was generally regarded as iShumba ya (the defeated). This was much so where the defeated was a known prominent person/fighter hence their defeat was serious news. So it could have been Tembo Samaita Shumba yema putukezi… Shumba ya ….

          Reply
    3. Just heard that shumba samaita were originally shumba only. Their giant ancestors were so boastful n never wanted to go hunt, they became huge n lazy. One day there was a fierce fight n small lions chased them away. So wat happened was the small ones would jump on bigger ones dipping claws n slide down causing deep stretches of injuries. They hide in caves until the wounds were healed but they caused marks which looked like zebra lines. So by front they seemed lions yet from the back they seemed like zebras hence Shumba-Samaita

      Reply
    4. I always wondered why we use Mbizi – Shumba interchangeably. Though we are more lenient to calling ourselves Shumba. Some bits and pieces I got when I was younger is that Chief Tendai Mutasa was originally Mbizi but had to adopt Shumba after fighting and conquering in Manicaland. Something like that. I can see some similarities here. Anyway nice read. Ill share it with my family.

      Reply

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