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Memoirs of an Unsung Legend, Nemeso

Munyaradzi Mawere, Cosmas M. Mukombe

Publication Year: 2013

Nemeso ñ a four eyed manñlived in southeastern Zimbabwe in the mid-17th century. Stories about him are widely known by the Duma in southeastern Zimbabwe as he left a legacy, a delicious dish ñ of edible stinkbugs locally named harurwa. These insects, believed to be a gift to Nemeso by the ancestors, thrive in a grove (jiri) where no one has been allowed to meddle since the time of Nemeso, the medium through whom the stinkbugs were gifted to the living by the living-dead. The insects are a source of livelihood for the Duma people and for people beyond, and serve as a drive for forest conservation in the area. The wealthy stories of Nemesoís life have been passed on through oral tradition. This book, generated from an ethnographic reconstitution in southeastern Zimbabwe, documents the stories in a lively and fascinating thirst quenching manner.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. iii-9

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Chapter One. Culture of the Duma

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pp. 1-6

The Duma area was amply endowed with minerals and a rich cultural heritage. This is where Nemeso, a man with magical powers and four eyes, two in front and the other two at the back, was born. This area shared borders with Mandau to the east now known as Chipinge; the Rozvi...

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Chapter Two. Growth of the Duma chiefdom

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pp. 7-8

The growth of the Duma also coincided with the rise in prominence of such chiefs as Pfupajena, Budzi also known as Bikita, Nhema, Masuka and Mutindi. The latter was father of Mukanganwi whose descendants still use the name Mukanganwi. These chiefs ruled under the name Duma...

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Chapter Three. Musikavanhu’s journey to the Duma

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pp. 9-14

Early in the morning Chief Musikavanhu woke up his wife to begin the journey to Duma. The journey was long especially for women and children. He asked for guidance from his ancestors. His wife joined in as he did the necessary rituals in preparation for his journey. He started...

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Chapter Four. Mhepo’s childhood

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pp. 15-19

The widespread famine in chief Musikavanhu’s area had led him to name his daughter, born to the wife with whom he travelled to Duma, Mhepo. Traditionally names carried a message. Famine, war, plagues of locusts and army worms, and other occurrences were understood to result from moral situations. Chief...

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Chapter Five. Mhepo’s marriage and the birth of Nemeso

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pp. 21-25

Back at her parents’ home, Mhepo continued to grow physically, and her elegant beauty dazzled many potential suitors. The problem was how the young men would propose to her, as she was deaf and also stammered....

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Chapter Six. Mhepo escapes with Nemeso

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pp. 27-32

The chief had heard subdued ululation while in his bedroom. He also realised on the following day that the midwives sounded like they were not excited. Besides, he had not been informed about the birth. All these things puzzled him, and he began to suspect there could have...

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Chapter Seven. Mutindi’s creative genius

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pp. 33-38

When Mhepo disappeared from Chief Pfupajena’s court, the midwives were accused of facilitating the disappearance. They were only spared from severe sanctioning because the most senior midwife was Chief Pfupajena’s grandmother who according to custom was...

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Chapter Eight. Mhepo flees with Nemeso

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pp. 39-42

Mutindi did not disclose to anyone where Mhepo and Nemeso were hiding. He continued to visit Mhepo and her son and help with provisions. With time, people began to smell a rat. His favourite wife began to suspect that something was amiss. When a woman...

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Chapter Nine. The return of Nemeso

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pp. 43-48

After arriving in her place of birth, Mhepo had to follow laid down traditional procedures. The fact that she was running away from her husband’s home without his consent meant she was not supposed to go straight to her parents’ home. She approached chief Mutema’s senior adviser so he could convey her message to...

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Chapter Ten. The reign and magical powers of Nemeso

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pp. 49-53

As time progressed, Pfupajena began to ponder about Nemeso. He decided to call his uncle Mutindi and some of his advisers to a meeting to discuss issues having to do with Nemeso. After deliberating on this issue, it was agreed that Mutindi who is the great ancestor of the...

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Chapter Eleven. Growth of Nemeso’s family

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pp. 55-56

After having settled in the Nemahwi mountain, Nemeso got married. His wife fell pregnant and gave birth to a son who was named Nemahwi meaning that they had survived during the battle with the Dzviti ramambo, the king’s ruthless army. The child was raised and...

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Chapter Twelve. The demise of Nemeso

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pp. 57-62

As typical of Nemeso, he attracted harurwa everywhere he stayed. Soon, there were lots of harurwa in the Bvuma mountain. Because of this occurrence, Nemeso became very famous in the whole Matsai area. Pfupajena and his sons Gundiro and Mutindi heard about Nemeso. Young Mutindi had been named after his...

Back cover

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p. 74-74

E-ISBN-13: 9789956790951
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956790821

Page Count: 72
Publication Year: 2013