President Mnangagwa’s great grandfather celebrated as Ndebele Warrior at Pupu

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

President Mnangagwa’s great grandfather celebrated as Ndebele Warrior at Pupu 
Pupu Memorial Site

Nqobile Tshili

Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa’s lineage holds a significant place in the history of Zimbabwe, tracing back to his great grandfather Mubengo. 

A respected figure within the Ndebele Royal Court, Mubengo served under the reigns of both King Mzilikazi and King Lobengula. 

His valour was demonstrated as a member of the esteemed Imbizo regiment, which valiantly fought and overcame Allan Wilson and his forces at the Battle of Pupu in 1893.

The arrival of King Mzilikazi marked a pivotal moment, as he established a peace truce with the local leaders. This event inspired the Ndebele people to compose a song that reflects on the changing times, with lyrics that resonate with the history of leadership in the land: “Kudala kwakunganje, umhlaba uyaphenduka, kwakubusa uMambo lo Mzilikazi” (In the past, the situation was unlike this, the world is turning, once ruled by King Mambo and King Mzilikazi).

President Mnangagwa highlights his family’s history as a testament to the harmonious relations between the Ndebele and Shona peoples. 

His great-grandfather’s upbringing in the Ndebele Royal Court exemplifies the strong bonds formed through mutual respect and collaboration.

This rich historical narrative was shared by President Mnangagwa with the media during the commissioning of the Pupu Battlefield Memorial Site on Thursday.

 The event also featured insights from Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, who acknowledged Mubengo’s legacy as a formidable Ndebele warrior.

“The background to this is that when King Mzilikazi settled here he made a treaty or arrangement with Chief Chivi, my great grandfather, that there shall never be any war between the Chivi people and King Mzilikazi. In doing that, King Mzilikazi requested for a child from Chief Chivi, who was brought into the house of King Mzilikazi as a little boy. 

“King Mzilikazi then changed the name of my great grandfather to Mubengo, a Ndebele name from Mapanzure. He grew up in the royal court. After King Mzilikazi died, King Lobengula also adopted my great grandfather as Mubengo not Mnangagwa,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said his great-grandfather became a warrior under King Lobengula and served under King Lobengula’s Imbizo regiment.

“He grew up here and he lost his Shona language and after all this happened he came back to Chivi area but he was now speaking Ndebele. He could understand Shona, but could not speak Shona. 

“We talked to him in the 40s in Shona but he replied in Ndebele because he was taken and grew up in the court of the King. That is the background my family had with what happened here. He also participated here as Mubengo but when he came back home he changed his name to Kushanduka,” he said.

Addressing hundreds who had gathered to witness the commissioning of the monument, President Mnangagwa said the current generation should respect King Lobengula’s army for fighting against colonial rule.

“On the 4th of December 1893, this sacred place was a battleground that witnessed the Shangani Battle and the Pupu Battle. 

“We the present generation must honour, remember and respect King Lobengula’s army which defeated the white army or soldiers led by Allan Wilson,” said President Mnangagwa.