- Kaguvi (Sekuru): Gumboreshumba, martyr, Freedom fighter  -
Profile of Sekuru Kagubi, a.k.a Gumboreshumba
Because of Kaguvi’s Goromonzi connection, it is not surprising that his message was acted upon quickly in the area. In fact the commander of Chief Chikwaka's warriors, one Zhanti, actually travelled to the Umfuli to receive the message and returned to this place eager to act upon it. The rebellion broke out on or about 16 June, 1896, with the first killings being in the Umfuli / Hartley area and in the Norton area. So it was that Kaguvi, who was a emanciated looking 'man of about forty years of age', who had previously specialized in providing 'medicine' to ensure success in hunting; now he preached war to the death.
There is a historical eyewitness account of some of the events Kaguvi was involved in:
Kaguvi and Dakwende arrayed themselves in striking feather caps and fastened horns upon their heads …. These two worthies would then rush into the centre of the people….. then falling into trance, presumably possessed, gave out orders as though coming from the ancestors whom they all revered”
By the end of 1896, the authorities had at last recognised the importance of the 'spirit mediums' to the rebel cause. Lord Earl Grey wrote to his wife, “Kaguvi is the witch-doctor who is preventing the Mashona from surrendering. Whilst a Native commissioner in the then Salisbury wrote, “If we capture Kaguvi the war is over”. From then on the military began to exert increasing pressure on the areas where Kaguvi and Mkwati had set up their headquarters, but both men escaped when, after three attempts, the stockaded kraal was stormed. They took refuge in the Mazoe valley with Nehanda.
Kaguvi Mug
Kaguvi Framed Tile
Sekuru Kaguvi hoodie
The prisoners, Nehanda and Kaguvi were perplexed by the white men's long processes of the law which only ended in the March of 1898 with their conviction; they were hanged seven weeks later. It is necessary to read the account of Kaguvi last days, written by a priest from Chishawasha Mission. He came to offer Nehanda and Kaguvi religious instruction and baptism, and, although Kaguvi at first refused to listen to him, he came to believe later that it might help him to avoid the gallows; somewhat pathetically he even offered his clerical visitor "10 head of cattle, his children, etc., if only I could get his sentence changed'. 
Nehanda on the other hand loudly and constantly rejected the priest's services. Nehanda was hanged first, in the view of Kaguvi
After which though very much frightened Kaguvi listened to me and repeated he would no longer refuse to receive baptism. After he had made the necessary acts of faith, repentance, etc., I baptised him, giving him the name of the chief Dismas . . . Kaguvi did not give the least trouble nor did he make any lamentation. He died. . . quiet and resigned, and, as I hoped, in good dispositions."
He was hanged in 1898 at the same time as Nehanda, but unlike Nehanda who remained proud and unrepentant to the end, Kaguvi appeared to recant and shortly before his execution.
It seems clear that despite this somewhat abject ending, Kaguvi should be credited with the spark which set alight the rebellion and yet his spirit wife, Nehanda, seems to have received more acclaim for this than he has. Is it that the people remember and compare his lack of courage at the end with the steadfastness of Nehanda or is it that his spirit was not as powerful as that of Nehanda? One hears of the Nehanda spirit being resurrected not only in the war that led to the independence of Zimbabwe but also in other times of crisis between the first and second Chimurenga wars. Charles Bullock in a footnote in his book, The Mashona, published in 1927, has this to say:
"It was no leading Mashona chief who fermented the rebellion in Mashonaland but Kaguvi. That false charlatan with his concertina and paraffin tins deceived the people into believing that he was the host of the God of Battles - the Lord of Sabbath; and that his spirit power would blind the white enemies or turn them into mountain hares. He was an impostor to us - but even so to the natives eventually; for the spirit he claimed as he did, did not rise again in another. "
A similar sentiment is expressed by Native Commissioner Wiri Edwards which was published in early editions of NADA. the quote goes as follows:
“The Mondoro or Mwari was no god of war, but a new priest or mouthpiece comes upon a scene in Kaguvi alias Gumboreshumba. Kaguvi was a ventri­loquist of this Native Commissioners Campbell, Kenney and myself were convinced by our investigations and comparing notes after the rebellion. Through Kaguvi the Mondoro spoke from the trees and the rocks to the people. According to Mwari the cause of all the trouble that had come upon the land was the white man. They had brought the locusts and the rinderpest, and to crown it all, they, the owners of the cattle which had died, were not allowed to eat the meat. The carcasses had to be burned or buried. Mwari decreed that the white men were to be driven from the country. They, the natives, had nothing to fear, Mwari would turn the bullets of the white man into water. Nehanda, the high priestess of Mwari and the most influential in the northern and central parts of Mashonaland, was not at first inclined to follow Kaguvi's lead but was finally convinced on hearing the trees and rocks give out the message from the Mondoro”

Oliver Ransford: The battle of Rhodesia

RH Wood, Kagubi: Why is he forgotten?

A.S. Chigwedere, From Mutapa to Rhodes.

Peter Gibbs, The History of the BSAP.

W. Edwards, Reminiscences in NADA.

P.S. Garlake, The Mashona Rebellion east of Salisbury, Rhodesiana No. 14, July 1966. A. S. Hickman, Balleyhooley Hotel, Rhodesiana No. 17, December 1972.

D.N. Beach, Kagubi and Fort Mhondoro, Rhodesiana No. 27, December 1972

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