dzimba dza mabwe – house of stone
Zimbabwe was once part of the great Munhumutapa Empire which stretched across the interior of the continent,with the trading ports based along the Mozambican and Tanzanian Indian Ocean coastline.This was the Empire of gold and the gold mines from this time litter southern Africa, at least 4000 in number.
The heyday of this empire was between c. 1100- 1450s AD.The emperors were extremely powerful and wealthy. The region was divided into kingdoms with the emperor king of all.
The architecture of the Munhumutapa Empire is unique with all structures built in fluid lines using a perfect mortarless technique that has stood the test of at least 800 years.The grounds of Great Zimbabwe cover an area of 800 hectares and would have been home to a population of around 20 000. Which is a population figure comparable to any capital city in the world in the 1400sAD.
Thankfully, there are fewer backward historians nowadays who refuse to grant such magnificent architectural ability to Zimbabweans.In the past these incredible structures have been attributed to anyone but.The outer wall of the city is 20 meters high made from cut granite blocks. The interior walls of Great Zimbabwe are up to 11 meters high (36ft) and are continuous up to around 250 meters ( 820ft), not in linear construction but in flowing curves.
“Artifacts from all over the medieval world have been found in Zimbabwe suggesting that this was home to a wealthy trading empire. Local history and artifacts at this particular site suggest occupation as early as 350AD, even though Western archaeologists date the construction of one of the world`s largest mortarless stone structures between 1000 and 1200AD. Other sites nearby, however, such as the `Hill Complex` and `Valley Complex are much older and architecturally different than the `Great Enclosure`. Khami is an ancient city in present –day Zimbabwe with impressive mortarless stone structures believed to have been developed in the 1400sAD. Evidence of human habitation at this site goes back 100,000 years, according to UNESCO. While excavating the Khami ruins in 1910, archaeologist, RN Hall documented his discovery of Chinese and Persian pottery from 900-1100 AD. UNESCO claims German stone figures from 1500s, Ming dynasty porcelain (1500-1600s), and Spanish silverware from the 1600s have all been found at this site, suggesting it was once a major centre of trade.” Source: Ta Neter Foundation.
“Among the gold mines of the inland plains between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers [there is a]…fortress built of stones of marvelous size, and there appears to be no mortar joining them…This edifice is almost surrounded by hills, upon which are others resembling it in the fashioning of stone and the absence of mortar and one of them is a tower more than 12 fathoms high.” Vincent Pegado, a captain at the Portuguese garrison of Sofala, on seeing the ruins of Great Zimbabwe in 1531. Source: House of Stone by Christina Lamb.
The stone tower is solid.It is a feat of masonry.It is within an elliptical compound, part of the Great Enclosure. Both the tower and the shape of the compound are religiously symbolic.The tower is 5.5m in diameter and 9.1m high.
Zimbabwe Stone eagle Ancient Kemetic depiction of Ra
The concept of Ra was not unique to so-called Ancient Egypt. Ra was a part of all African religion and a part of the religion of the British Isles in times past, for that matter.
According to African oral history, sea-faring foreigners first sailed up the mouth of the Zambezi in southern Africa, some two thousand years ago. The Zulu word for Phoenician is Ma-Iti. Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa explains in his words….”Their hair was the colour of dull fire, their skins were like dirty milk into which a little blood had been poured…They wore bands of white around their heads…Their shields were round with bosses of bronze….They hunted in ways most strange and repugnant to the Bantu…they hunted for the sheer joy and pleasure of killing beasts-for no particular reason at all…”Source: `Indaba my Children` .
The Ma-Iti came to southern Africa for the same reason they went to the Americas. From North America they traded copper and from Cornwall they had tin.
“…to go down into their mines which they dug with our unwilling assistance, to bring dull iron and bright sun metal to the world above.” Source: My People, My Africa`, Credo Mutwa, pg. 113
The Bantu and the bushmen have since time began painted the tales of history in secret places, on the walls of remote caves. A rock painting called `The White Lady of the Brandberg` tells the beginning of the story of Great Zimbabwe.
The White Lady of the Brandberg is around 2000 years old. According to Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa, the painting depicts a white person of Caucasoid or Semitic origin, with long reddish hair, the straight nose and the un-African chin.
The White Lady as he tells us, is no lady at all (Europeans gave the painting its name),but a strikingly handsome young white man, one of the five great emperors who ruled the African Empire of the Ma Iti for nearly two centuries. There is a figure in the painting of another man behind the foreign king. ”This figure is wearing a bronze helmet with a plume, and in his right hand he carries a long barbed stick. This dreaded `thorn stick `a flexible cane inlaid with rows of small metal teeth, together with a mighty whistling whip of woven hide with the end forked like the tongue of an angry mamba were classic tools in the hands of slave-drivers. The figure is also carrying two swords with finely tapering points and conspicuous hilts. These are as African as the jet airliner”. Source: Credo Mutwa, pg. 115.
The Bantu came to hate the Ma Iti.” By this time, the black race between the Zambesi and the Limpopoma had been all but totally annihilated, and the only free people were the dead.” pg. 42. This was the time of the first overlords, ruthlessly ruling with their lust for gold.
The Ma Iti by all accounts were cold-hearted, blood-thirsty, ruthless bastards. They were socially degenerate, practiced orgies, human sacrifice and general wholesale decadence which eventually lead to the demise of their southern African kingdom. Above all the Bantu were disgusted at the lack of respect these foreigners had for wildlife. Ritualistic slaughter of elephant, hippo, buck, lion, was an anathema to the Bantu. To kill for pleasure was against their laws of nature and totally abhorrent. The Bantu also depict in paintings the sexual degeneracy of the Ma Iti royals, for example the sexual intercourse with animals as a form of entertainment. Rape is also depicted in many paintings. Violence, bloodshed, and abuse of power, social decadence, and wanton killing of animals…..the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Lumukanda is one of the greatest heroes of Bantu folklore. It is Lumukanda that initiated the first of what would be many burnings to the ground of the Ma Iti cities. He led a slave rebellion, an army of Bantu and Bushmen against their overlords. The Ma Iti were so hated that almost all the fortresses and citadels were destroyed. Every last brick was smashed and every last metallic relic of this vile empire was melted down.
Lumukanda and his army became the Lu-Anda, a great nation of Africa. They joined forces with the Ba-Kongo and ruled a vast region.
According to Credo Mutwa this is the story of the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and the Matopo hills:
Many years past after Lumukanda and his army razed the Ma Iti city on the shore of Lake Makarikari to the ground. Many generations later a ruler called Munumutaba, which means `Man of the Great Mountains’, began to style his rule on the legends of the Ma Iti. He wanted to become the emperor of an empire. He enslaved the Bechuana people. Wishing to have the spirits of the long dead Ma Iti on his side, he had every brick from the shores of Lake Makarikari dragged on sledges pulled by slaves and taken to the land of the Mashona where the ruined fortress of Zima-Mbje stands today. The Arabs had by this time made an appearance in southern Africa and it’s with the Arabs that Munumutaba traded his own people into slavery in return for wealth and the knowledge of how to forge iron into a harder metal than was used by the Bantu at that time. Entire tribes were wiped from the face of the Earth. Time came and went and eventually this cruel kingdom came to an end. When it did, the Nguni nation formed. The Nguni were formed out of all the fractured tribes and slaves of this old empire originally founded by Munumutaba.
The mountains from which this ruler who so revered the Ma Iti was named, are called the Monomotapas and this is where Cecil Rhodes chose to be buried ; among the ancestors of the great kings and chiefs. Understandably many Zimbabweans would rather his remains were sent home.
There is even more to these hills however. African legend has It that this very sacred place is where certain initiated Africans can communicate with the lizards that live among the rocks. They are blue headed iguanas.
The story of Lumukanda is a story of a great general who was of royal African blood, who saved his enslaved and landless people and led them into battle , Lumukanda founder of a great nation. This great general was a slave like all his people, slaves in chains, working the mines of an evil overlord`s empire. This great general led his people in an uprising against the overlords, conquering them and razing their cities to the ground. He then led his new nation to another land. In order to defeat the last city, a heavily guarded and impenetrable fortress, Lumukanda ordered a tunnel to be dug which would reach the inner sanctum of the city; allowing the avenging slaves to appear in the midst of the enemy and to overwhelm and destroy them from within. These are the same tales of Moses and Troy. These tales are not unique to the Hebrew or the Nguni. These are mankind’s eternal stories from a much more distant past and not unique to any race or nation; each new event, each new cycle of time grafted onto the original story of brave leaders leading mankind out of slavery and battles fought from within.
Between around 1415-1450 Mwene Mutapa also referred to as King Mutato, Mutato the Great, sensed the impending danger to the empire with the arrival of Portuguese traders.He attempted to fore-sway the impending break-up of the empire by strengthening the armies and uniting all tribes. He was successful in his endeavors and his strategies were carried on by his son,Matope. But after King Matope`s death foreign forces began the process of division within the empire,tribal in-fighting and disharmony quickly led to decline and by 1550 Great Zimbabwe was deserted.