It’s time for Ndau heritage preservation


ON March 9, 2023, a stone was cast in the history of Chipinge when a community archive was commissioned for Manicaland Province. The archive is located at Mount Selinda High School in Chipinge.

By definition, an archive is a collection of historical documents or records about a place, institution or group of people. A group of people with similar values, norms, culture makes up a community. An archive collects preserves, stores and makes accessible the history of the community.

The Chipinge project is one of the seven centres that were established for each province in Zimbabwe. So far seven out of the ten provinces have been covered.

The other six centres are Acturus High School (Mashonaland East Province), Girls High School (Harare Province), Zion Christian Church (Mbungo) (Masvingo Province), Shabanie Mine (Zvishavane) (Midlands Province), Kariba Town Council (Mashonaland West) and Gwanda Rural District Council (Matebeleland South).

According to National Archives of Zimbabwe’s Deputy Director of Public Archives Library and Research, Brenda Mamvura, for a community archive to be established, it should satisfy one of the following: missionary history, mining history, African independence church and cultural history.

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Hon Ruth Mavungu-Maboyi commissions Chipinge Community Library at Mt Selinda

“Chipinge is well known for evangelical or missionary history, unique culture and economic history of coffee, avocado and sweet potato production. These things need to be preserved for community identity. Also the Ndau is an under documented community,” she said.

Chipinge’s community archive has a section which celebrates the life and achievements of one of the founding nationalists, the late Rev Ndabaningi Sithole, who hailed and was also laid to rest at Mt Selinda.

Rev Ndabaningi Sithole’s history is incomplete without mentioning United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) and the church’s history is also incomplete without Ndabaningi’s name.

In his speech during the commissioning of the Mt Selinda archive, UCCZ President, Rev John Matiza admitted that the church lost of lot of history and artefacts due to the fact that no one thought that archiving of such was vital for the Ndau community.

In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Hon Ruth Mavungu-Maboyi, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Hon Kazembe Kazembe revealed that the establishment of community archives is now a deliberate program by the Government to safeguard the heritage of the country.

“In tandem with the Government’s devolution Agenda, my ministry is on a deliberate programme to make this facility and service available at the community level which in fact allows the community to fully participate in managing their heritage in line with government’s thrust of grassroots empowerment and devolution towards Vision 2030.

“As you might be all aware, community archives are a reflection of our culture and identity as a people, and are an important part of our heritage,” said the minister.

Ndau people of Chipinge and Chimanimani have a rich culture. There is no doubt that Chipinge and Chimanimani are cultural tourism powerhouses which were under documented for a long time. The community archive project shall help propel the two districts to greater heights.

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