Stella Chiweshe



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In December 2011 the sky was blue without a single cloud for about two weeks in Summer and, the crops were suffering especially the maize in Zimbabwe. We were in Mashonaland West at Pickstone newly built primary school preparing for the Chivanhu Trust gathering which was supposed to be for three nights, seven of us were at the venue to prepare before the rest of the people came.

The preparation was to brew traditional beer for the ancestors which takes seven days to be ready. When the beer is in the process its a must that everyone around should not be sad or, argue with each other. It is supposed to be brewed by elderly ladies from 60 years and above. The lady who was prepared to brew it could not come because her elder sister was in hospital.

The beer was instead brewed by one of the eighteen mbira players who is a medium of an old lady who lived in the fifteenth century. Dreams were guiding us about the procedure to be taken. It was then said that before we present the beer to honour the earth, the ancestors we had to honour the ancestors who lived around that place first for them to join in. 

It then became clear to us that before our generation wherever we are, there were people who lived there before us. We never know what was there before where we lay our heads when sleeping, when walking and also right where the stove is where we cook. The earth is millions of years old so we had to acknowledge the spirits of those who were there about what we were doing there.

That was our first ceremony where we asked chief Ngezi of that region to announce our intentions as well as offering traditional beer to those spirits and traditional soft drink to those who didn't drink alcohol on our behalf. As it was being done it rained for two days, a sign to let us know that the spirits accepted it. The people from that region were pleased and thanked us for doing such an act they never thought of.

The intention was to be forty-five mbira players but we ended up just being eighteen, there wasn't enough money then. The aim is to promote our lost traditions as well as mbira music. In every country there is traditional music, manners and gestures and laws of nature to be followed. There are also sacred places where our people used to pay there respects all that plus a lot of our beautiful traditions got swept up. It causes havoc in our lives that we never know where its coming from.

Our ancestors tell us before a havoc happen for sure, they also say what needs to be done to prevent it but people no longer listen to them, then it happens. People then say oh my God oh my God because the minds are trained to just pray to God. Oh yes, i did the same one day after thinking that, all these prayers people follow were not written by Him but by other human beings like me so i wrote my own prayer to my Creator. After the third day of saying my prayer to Him He answered to my prayer in my sleep.

He said: that is a very good prayer that you wrote but, write another to your ancestors which you will then say first to them before you say this beautiful one of mine. I woke up and wrote a prayer to my ancestors where i was thanking them for being there for me, for them to guide me, etc. So, God for sure exists as well as the spirits of our ancestors so i pray like how my Creator told me. In Chivanhu that's what we do that is why anyone from whichever praying you follow or not at all are well come. It is mostly for to take care of our roots.

This year 2012 we are going to gather again in December. If you are interested in joining us or just becoming a member please let us know by writing to us on the space provided or straight away to:  chivanhutrust@googlemail.com

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