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The Hungwe Nation
Hungwe people are a tribe found across Southern Africa and believed to be the earliest Bantu-speaking inhabitants of modern day areas south of the Zambezi River and stretching to the Limpopo basin and whose arrival was only preceded by the San and Khoi Khoi.
To this day, Hungwe people remain connected by the common bond of the Fish Eagle totem which transcends tribal, linguistic, cultural and geographical boundaries. The Hungwe people can be classified as tribal grouping that is characterized by inter-marriage and assimilation into other tribes over centuries.
Today, Hungwe people are associated the main tribal and linguistic groupings of Karanga (Hungwe; Shiri), Kalanga (Nyoni), Ndebele (Nyoni), Ndau (Mutisi), Nambiya and Tonga (Nyoni) and Chikunda (Marunga/Malunga).
Descendants of the Hungwe tribe are today found geographically concentrated in Somabhula, Filabusi, Mberengwa and Gwanda areas where they speak Ndebele; Masvingo, Shurugwi and Zvishavane areas where they speak chiKaranga, Plumtree, Bulilima and Mangwe areas where they speak Chikalanga, the Zambezi Valley areas of Hwange, Binga and Dande where they speak ChiNambiya and Chitonga; and the Chipinge and Chimanimani areas in the east of Zimbabwe where they speak chiNdau. Beyond the borders of Zimbabwe, Hungwe descendants are believed to be found among the BaVenda in South Africa, BaKalanga in Botswana, BaTonga in Zambia, and vaNdau, Manyika and Shangaan and Chikunda in Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi.
The Hungwe ancestors are believed to have originated from a mythical place known as Guruuswa, believed to be north of the Zambezi River just south of Lake Tanganyika. The earliest phase of the Bantu migration saw the Hungwe people setting up the earliest kingdom in southern Africa under the leadership of one Hungwe with its capital city at Mapungubwe, just south of the Limpopo River. They lived side-by-side the Khoi-khoi and the San people who had lived in southern Africa for centuries.
According to Hungwe mythology, taken down by ethnologist, in olden times, a poverty-stricken people known as the Dziva were dwelling on a mountain. They ate food raw because their chief, Madziva, had lost the fire that his daughters kept in a sealed horn containing oil. Hunters from the north, the Hungwe's ancestors, came into the land. They had fire and ritually smoked a pipe to sustain their magical force. Their chief gave fire to Madziva, married his daughter, and Hungwe became the first "king" (mambo). Many people united around him, and even Madziva became his servant.
, a Professor of English and Art History at Brown University in the U.S points to a refusal by Europeans and their friends to embrace the fact that the Great Zimbabwe was built by the Karanga in general, and the Hungwe in particular.
"Since Europeans first encountered the ruins of Great Zimbabwe," he writes, "it has been the focus of ideological concern and conflict. Unwilling to believe that sub-Saharan Africans could have built such a structure, adventurers and ideologues long claimed the ruins a mystery, theorising that ancient Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans, or Hebrews created the structures. In fact, since archaeologist 's excavations in 1932, it has been widely known that Great Zimbabwe is truly of Africa and less than 1000 years old.
"Nonetheless, the White Rhodesians, whose ideology proclaimed the land 'empty' of people and culture before they arrived, tried to rewrite history -- even asserting that an African genesis for Great Zimbabwe was tantamount to treason," says Landow.
This denialism also extends to the Karanga/Shona tribes who individually have fought hard to prove they built Great Zimbabwe, notably the Rozvi. However, historical facts indicate that it wasn’t until the 16th century that a Rozvi state was established. The Rozvi are part of the Mbire invaders who took over Great Zimbabwe from the original rulers of the Hungwe-Dzivaguru totems. While the Mbire invaders continued to involve the Hungwe in the political, economic and religious activities of Great Zimbabwe, it can be argued that they took over a functioning state with the stone structures already built by the Hungwe-Dziva people. Unlike Great Zimbabwe and Khami which were built by the Hungwe, the Rozvi are credited with building a Khami phase site, Danamombe (Dhlodhlo), which became their new capital.
According to, “the construction of Great Zimbabwe is also claimed by the Lemba. This ethnic group of Zimbabwe and South Africa has a tradition of ancient Jewish or South Arabian descent through their male line, which is supported by recent DNA studies, and female ancestry derived from the Karanga subgroup of the Shona.” However, the Lemba only reached the northern part of South Africa around the 13th Century way after the collapse of Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe was already in decline.
Historian  described the works by some early Great Zimbabwe Historian as intended to "show that black people had never been capable of building in stone or of governing themselves".
Hungwe Praise Poetry
Vakadzi kuvarume vavo;
Vaira shiri Chasuranebanga,
kunge zvombo zveshumba;
Muranda we vanhukadzi;
Shiri isina shura nemunhu;
Mutupo uri Shiri
Shiri iri Hungwe
Unpublished Poem by, Mberengwa (2012)
Vashanga yemhande haipiwi simbe
Gavhu guru haripiwi simbe
Inobva yodya mukorovera
Kunyima vana zvinoshura
Mavokomapi vane fuma
Vomutupo wepazvitambi nemari
Pane dzeBotswana, Zambia nedzomuno
Kuratidza kugere vamwe vavo
Pamureza weZambia nomuno uripovo
Nepanyembe dzenyika dzomuno nedzeNamibia
Kuratidza hwavo vushe
VaBonda vanoera kutengwa nemari
Vakabva kure kure Chingorobwe
Vari Guruguru raMpakame
Navamwe vari kwaWatungwa
NevokwaFupajena pamwe naChipadze
Rinova gomo ravo
Vari Fizhu neNgomeyebani
Nevokwa Mandava vari Zvishavane
Maita vari Gwamakunguvo
Navana Mauruka mhiri kwaNyazvidzi
Kureva vushe bwavo
Vatema sovusi bwehuni nhema
Masundamabwe gomo guru
Vagadziwa vushe vasi venhema
Vasingatosvori sovusi bwenhema
Mutangi mukoma waVambe
Hekanhi Mutangi mukoma waVambe
Sakunara mubvakure wokutanga muno
Wakabva kure nowake munun’una
VokwaBvute vanenge pabvute
Vamwe vanoti mabwe matema
Madzisekuru aVambire, vaRozvi navaNjanja
Keredza wakasara pakufa nobwowa
Musiiwa muhondo yamaZvangendava
Vana vakumbwa namaZvangendava
Vazukuru vokwa Madzivire muBeta
Gonamuroyi reshiye Nyikavaranda
Nyikavanhu muduku wavatatu
Poem by  published in Uyavaya Hwenduri Dzechinyakare  Ed. (1988)
Mai vaKiri mwana akura uyu mhoti?
Kusati ndoda devedzi munoti urema?
Kuzonzi nevanhu moto wadzima ndokunei?
Inga Kiri kachamera mazamu takangotarisana
Kana dai zvazvo zvisiri zvemwana mai vaKiri
Zvavakuru zvoomera kunge demo ndakarasa
Zviuno zvasungwa noutare chokwadi.
Ibvai Baba vaKiri, munotaurisa
Tibvirei zvedu tikotsire munenge mucheche
Regai kundibata-bata kani
Baba vaKiri, asikana!
Changu chabata mai vemwana, bopoto ndorinei?
Chirega kundipa gotsi kani magumbo,
Ihi, munongotorarawo makazvimonera tumicheka
Kururai zvedu chinono ndochinei, mukadzi mukuru?
Asi Baba vaKiri asikana, baba vaKiri!
Hauonika, chidariso zvinyatsoti mwangawaya
Torai mutsago muise pano pamusana, MaiKiri
Chiregai ndikuitirei magumbo, mandinonokera
Hauonika zvanyatsoti gudyanga panzvimbo chaipo
Kuzondidzvokora kudaro asi ndodzidzoroya?
Zve, muri kunhuwa hwa...
Yowe mandityora musana Madyira!
Kubva maita zvokukwakurira sembada
Tsaiya yenyu yavira
Kodzongerai Baba vemwana
Ndosaka ndiri pano
Shiri isina shura
Ehe zvombo zveshumba
Chinobhururuka murume wangu
Mamhara chaipo paivavira
Nyama dzasununguka tafefeterwa
Zvaitwa Hungwe yangu yiyi
Ndanga ndashaya matangirwo arwo
Mwoyo wagarika ropa romhanya
Ranga ragwamba semukaka wakora.
Chokwadi varume veShiri munombogadaira
Kunzwa nemusana kuti tasa
Ndokusaka vakadzi tichizoita shanje
Nhapitapiyo kumbogoverwa mumwe
Ndingakan'avure mumwe nedemo chokwadi
Ahizve Ziendanomudenga, murume wangu!
Chimbomirai kani, tozoti torusimudzirazve!
Munoti ndagarwa padikisu, nhai Baba vaKiri?
Regai ndimboteerera parere mwoyo.
- Leo Viktor Frobenius
- George Landow
- Gertrude Caton-Thompson
- Tudor Parfitt
- Tafara Hungwe
- S. Mutisi
- J. Haasbroek