Zimbabwe Independence national celebrations will be this year held in Buhera District, located in the eastern part of the country in Manicaland Province, about 82 kilometres southeast of Chivhu town.

This scribe hails from Buhera, 22 kilometres away from Murambinda along Murambinda Birchenough Road and among other reasons, it is prudent to give a historical background of the District in nexus with the independence of Zimbabwe.

Buhera is one of the seven districts that make up Manicaland Province.

The name Buhera is a Nguninised then Anglicised, version of the name uHera.

uHera means territory of the Hera. The vaHera of the Museyamwa totem occupy most of the Buhera territory (under Chief Nyashanu) and much of neighbouring Chikomba (under chief Mutekedza).

The Hera are of the Manyika tribe and claim that they came from Guruuswa, which has been identified as an area north of the Zambezi River, somewhere around Uganda or South Sudan

Farming and cattle ranching activities are the basis of its economy. Rainfall is erratic and there are some irrigation schemes which help the people to supplement their limited harvests.

Buhera District was established in 1895, as part of the Sabi District and became part of the Charter District in 1899.

In 1912, a sub-station of the Charter District Office was opened at The Range, (then Sabi Native Reserve).

In 1943, the Sabi Reserve was made a full Native Commissioner’s District and in 1945 the Southern part became an independent district, known as Buhera District.

Its boundaries have remained largely unaltered since the time it became a sub-district of Charter. 

It is bounded on the north and northeast by the Save River, on the south by the Devure River and on the West and southwest by the Nyazvidzi River.

Livelihoods of Buhereans are primarily subsistence agriculture and mining.

Buhera is one of the driest districts (Region 4) in the nation with average annual rainfall of 450-650mm which left communities relying on boreholes or small holes where rivers used to flow (mafuku) to access water for either livestock or household purposes.

In the colonial period the Buhera District was designated an African Reserve as white settlers had little interest in its dry and sandy soils. 

As a result of this lack of interest, historical sources on the area are limited to reports made by colonial officials.

Mwerihari is the biggest river in Buhera.

Developments in the district such as the Marovanyati Dam have helped to keep the water flow in Mwerihari River.

Marovanyati is named after one of the three mountains surrounding the dam, namely, Marovanyati Mountain North West of the dam. The other two being Dukutira Mountain to the north and Bwenje Mountain to the south.

Major perennial problems faced in the district include veld fires, deforestation, land degradation and drought.

Buhera District played a crucial role in the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe. Dzapasi Assembly point is one of the biggest Assembly point during demobilisation after the war.

Dzapasi accommodated about 5 000 veterans of the war during the demobilisation exercise.

“The biggest Assembly Point at ceasefire for the brave and selfless liberation fighters who subordinated their individual lives to the collective interest of Zimbabwe leading to the attainment of independence on the 18th of April 1980” – National Museums and Monuments.

The above is the inscription on the mini-billboard at Dzapasi Assembly Point in Buhera.

Chiurwi Mountain was a major staging point for ZANLA liberation forces, during the Second Chimurenga War (1966-1979).

During Zimbabwe’s war of independence Buhera District was part of ZANLA’s Monomotapa and Musikavanhu sectors opened in 1976 in the Manica operational province and was thus a ZANLA sphere of influence.

It was due to the attainment of independence by Mozambique in 1975 which opened the whole eastern frontier to guerrilla infiltration into Rhodesia.

The guerrillas entered the district through the Chirozva and Birchenough Bridge areas which were close to the Honde Valley and Chipinge guerrilla infiltration zones respectively.

Buhera District reveals the importance of traditional leaders because they aided successful guerrilla infiltration and operations in this part of the country. This is notwithstanding the existence of other traditional leaders opposed to the guerrilla cause.

Murambinda Growth Point, falls under the jurisdiction of Chief Nyashanu, of the Vahera tribe and Shava totem, whose chidau is Museyamwa of the Sabi Tribal Trust Lands.

Thsse are some of the various facts one should get to know about Buhera District as the 44th Zimbabwe National Independence Host.

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