Zimbabweans demanding Mbuya Nehanda bones


LONDON  – Zimbabweans are haunted by their ancestors, says Vusi Nyamazana.

“They are angry,” says the accountant and activist, referring to the spirits of a generation that fought and died in an uprising against British colonial rule during the 1890s.

The remains of warriors were never recovered in many cases, including those of leaders such as Mbuya Nehanda – a national icon who was executed and decapitated by the forces commanded by colonial tycoon Cecil Rhodes.

Many Zimbabwean skulls from the colonial period ended up in the UK either as trophies or objects of scientific study.

The soul sits in the head, according to traditional beliefs, says Mr Nyamazana, and with body and soul disconnected the spirits cannot rest.

The Hararean is part of campaign group Bring Back our Bones (BBOB), which aims to recover the missing remains of the heroes of the uprising, so that their spirits have peace.

The group formed branches in several countries, all of which petitioned the British government. Zimbabwe’s government offered to return the body of Rhodes, buried in Zimbabwe, in exchange for the skulls of the warriors.

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