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The Lost Kingdom (Part 5)

Chilisamhulu, later known as Nichasike, had long coveted Chibundule’s throne, but he was initially unable to overcome the power of the Mambo’s magic.

He then learnt that, as with the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, Chibundule’s hair contained the secret of his special power.

Chilisamhulu therefore decided to get at Chibundule by first having him enticed into marrying to his daughter (in some accounts sister) Ninembwe, also referred to as Bagedze Moyo. He thus summoned her and giving the following instructions.

“You should see my daughter that the reason I am giving you in marriage to Chibundule is this: I want to enter the country of the Kalanga but I have been failing because of Chibundule’s magical powers.

So I am instructing you that when you are married to King Chibundule you must look after him well and put his mind at ease. You must then pull out some of his hair, and hide it in your skirt.

Then you must tell the king that you are sick and wish to be with your father and mother. You can then return with the hair of the king. Once I have the hair of the Kalanga king I am sure to defeat him, Chibundule. I shall enter his country and rule over it, and will give you a share of the spoils.”

Ninembwe agreed to do as her father said. One night, while Chibundule was sleeping, she managed to cut a lock of his hair and subsequently take it to her father.

Thus, the Banyayi medicine men had the material they needed to make invincible protective charms against the Balilima Mambo.

Emboldened Chilisamhulu sent Ninembwe back to Chibundule, but told her that: “On the day the Banyayi will attack the country of Chibundule you will hear a war trumpet that will indicate that we are approaching from all sides.

You must then leave the village of Chibundule and find the Banyayi army.

 You must then signal the army with a white pure cloth so that the army will know that you are their child given to Chibundule in marriage. They will then protect you. You must do this for the army will surround Chibundule’s village and set it on fire.”

After Ninembwe had returned to Chibundule, Chilisamhulu ordered his warriors, the infamous Rozwi into battle. They attacked Chibundule’s followers from all directions.

The main force-marched northwards from Tuli area along the modern Botswana-Zimbabwe border, which was the site of Chilisamhulu’s stronghold known as the Black Hill or Hill of Nyayi (Lutombo gwaba Lutema/Nyayi).

As was their custom, their women, who carried provisions and cooked for the men,

accompanied the Banyayi regiments.

Meanwhile, Chibundule was in a relaxed state at his headquarters at the Matopos or Mountains of the King (Matombo akaMambo), which were then also known as the Mountains of Bhuba (Matombo aBhuba).

There his peace was suddenly interrupted by his chief councillor, She Vunamakuni, “the breaker of logs” (also known as Chombe-Ntulunhulu), who brought news of the enemy’s advance.

On hearing of the news, the Mambo reached for his medicine calabash in order to create a great smoke that would conceal his forces and confuse the enemy.

But the medicine had been rendered useless by the charms that had been created as a result of his wife Ninembwe’s betrayal.

The King then gathered his family and principal councillors around him.

These included the Boshe Vunamakuni, Nkami, Zwikono, Nimale and Hungwe. Although their cause looked desperate, each was determined to fight to the death. A great fog is then said to have descended onto the battlefield as the two armies clashed. The warriors could no longer tell if it was night or day.

In the end the Banyayi emerged as the victors.

Thus it was that Chilisamhulu of the Moyo clan replaced Chibundule of the Humbe or Wumbe clan the new supreme ruler, Mambo, of the Bakalanga.

It is further recorded that the fate of the last of the Bawumbe paramount rulers is a mystery.

“And so the armies of the Banyayi and Bakalanga of Bawumbe. The later were defeated, and chased hard so that they fled and threw away their weapons. It is there where the Banyayi army conquered that of Chibundule.

The Banyayi army followed the track of the Bakalanga king. They followed Chibundule’s spoor until it ended at an anthill of the mukoxo trees at the Hoze (Muguza) river because they wanted to catch him, but they failed and he disappeared until today.

“The Banyayi army moved around and around looking for more tracks of Chibundule but they completely failed to find them.

They searched the entire Bukalanga country, but finally gave up because the spoor ended at the Hoze River, at the Mountains of Kings.”

For years thereafter it is said that people passing through the area could in the early morning and evening hear the noise of the stamping of pestles and the bellowing of beasts in at the place where Chibundule’s spoor ended.

These noises, which came up from the ground, only became quiet with the arrival a century and a half later of the Amandebele.

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