For the last part of my heroine series, I go back to my home country Zimbabwe, to celebrate a phenomenal woman who has inspired generations. This woman is none other than Charwe Nehanda Nyakasikana(Mbuya Nehanda). She stood at the forefront of the first Chimurenga(“Revolutionary Struggle”) to resist the Colonial Settlers when they initially arrived. She carries the title Nehanda because she was a spiritual leader as well, a spirit medium.
Cecil Rhodes arrived in the country with the British South Africa Company( BSAC). When the BSAC invaded the country, they possessed the land, imposed heavy taxation and forced labour on the indigenous people. This oppression now led to a rebellion. Mbuya Nehanda and other leaders such as Sekuru Kaguvi were responsible for organising and directing people to resist the invasion.
The resistance began in 1896 till they captured Mbuya Nehanda and sentenced her to death by hanging 1898. The defeat came as they ran out of resources and the BSAC had superior firepower. This first resistance of colonialism was not in vain, as there was a second Chimurenga(“Revolutionary Struggle”) which gave birth to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
The story of this great woman’s, bravery, leadership and resistance to colonialism will be passed on to future generations. We celebrate you Nyakasikana; you continue to inspire Zimbabwean women to be strong leaders!