BaNambya Cultural Exhibit
BaNambya Cultural Exhibit

We first visited the rural settlements of the Nambya and Tonga tribes in 2014. Lured by mystical stories of their past, we were keen to learn about our community, and began to compile a record of the Nambya journey sourced through oral tradition and discussions held with local Chiefs and elders. 

In 2015 and 2016, materials from our research findings were presented as part of a series of public forums and in 2017, we began to work on The BaNambya Exhibit for public display at Gwango Heritage Resort. Visitors are able to retrace the Journey of the Nambya and prepare a traditional meal while touring a replica Nambya homestead. Some nights we dance under the open night skies.

The BaNambya came from Great Zimbabwe, this is evidenced by the great stone walled Nambya structures, which are similar to Great Zimbabwe. They are descents of the Rozvi Dynasty, a strong centralized society dating back to 1100 AD when Great Zimbabwe was built. 

After migrating north from Great Zimbabwe, the Nambya inhabited Hwange National Park. It was their home from the end of the 18th century until 1927 when the government of Rhodesia declared it a game reserve where people could not live.

Today, it is estimated that there are about 100,000 Nambya in Zimbabwe. They live in communal farming areas clustered around Hwange, a coal mining town which was first established in 1903. The town was named (Wankie), after the Nambya paramount Chief/King Hwange.

The BaNambya Exhibit is a compilation of stories documented through scholarly research and oral tradition. When our work began in 2014, very little was known about the Nambya and other tribes inhabiting this region. The BaNambya were only known to be originally from Masvingo. Their spoken words were vaguely recognisable and reminiscent of the Shona language, but with a new vocabulary.

Since 2015, numerous gatherings were organised with Nambya Chiefs, elders and stakeholders. We also arranged expeditions to Nambya sacred sites, and have carried out a series of discoveries. We came to know of nearby sacred places, where annual pilgrimages and ancient ceremonies took place in times past - and we began to piece together the Journey of the BaNambya, beginning with the exodus of two Rozvi princes from the ancient Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe, to the expansion and evantual fall of the Nambya empire in Hwange. We are proud to present our findings for public display at Gwango Heritage Resort.

26 May 2016 Gwango organised an expedition to Shangano Ruins. The expedition titled "Journey of the Nambya People" was organised in partnership with the Hwange District Administrator's Office and included, as part of the the expedition, the Minister Cain Mathema, traditional Chiefs from the region, the Deputy Director for Provincial Affairs as well as representatives from the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority, Forestry Commission and tourism stakeholders.

14 January 2016 Gwango led a historic expedition to Mtoa Ruins. This was the first time the living BaNambya Chiefs had visited to the sacred site where their ancestors once held ancient rainmaking ceremonies.

10 April 2015 Traditional Chiefs and Stakeholders from the Hwange region came together to formalise the establishment of the BaNambya Cultural Exhibit, a platform through which traditional leaders, local community and other stakeholders from the region can participate meaningfully in cultural preservation and tourism activities resulting in more jobs and economic development.


No posts have been added.


Subscribe to our newsletter to receive news and updates.