meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252"> Changes in the religion of  Ndebele (Matebele) tribe   ::::
- The Changes In The Matebele Religious Beliefs  -
Changes in the Ndebele (Matabele) religion
The Enhla are thought to have been the first to influence the Zansi to believe in a high god. In 1829, Mzilikazi, in an interview with Robert Moffat mentioned that the name for their god was Molimo (Modimo), showing that they were being influenced by the Tswana. Thus it is thought that these were the origins of the Ndebele theological point of view that the ancestors did not have power of their own but depended on power from a supreme God,  uNkulunkulu or uSomandla.
The Shona on their part confronted the Zansi with a more developed cult of Mwari (god) who created the universe and all that is in it. Mwari manifested himself in certain places in the mountains through a voice which would be interpreted and communicated to the public by Mwari’s specially appointed priests. These priests were also responsible for maintaining these shrines which were caves in the mountains and the wives of the late priests held the important position of impersonating the voice of Mwari. An example of such a shrine is the Matojeni shrine complex.
During the era of the Rozvi confederacy, the Mwari cult was a sort of state religious system, closely associated with the mambo rulers. One of its chief shrines was at Great Zimbabwe. Near the fall of the confederacy, a breach occurred between the ruling authorities and the religious authorities. This breach supposedly led Mwari to reject the Rozvi state.

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When the Rozvi and Enhla came to Zimbabwe, Mwari is said to have sent his junior priests to inform the invaders of his presence. The Ndebele were told that Mwari controlled the rain and that if offered black oxen, tobacco and other useful artifacts, he would cause a downpour even if there was a drought. Mzilikazi did grasp the importance of Mwari and this is seen in the latter’s incorporation of Mwari rites in the rainmaking ceremony.
It must be noted that in their adoption of local beliefs and practices, the Zansi and Enhla did not have the Mwari cult supplant their ancestral worship, but it became a super-structural layer. No rigid divisions were placed between the two cults such that Mwari was even consulted as an additional means of divination and as a bringer of rain. With time during the Inxwala festival, thanksgiving offerings were given to both the Zansi amadlozi and to the Mwari. Thus when there was a drought, Mzilikazi first prayed to amadlozi and when these failed he summoned the Mwari priests who performed the Mutoro (rainmaking ceremony).
Shona and Venda penetration of the Zansi and Enhla religion was also seen in the increased role of Hole doctors. In 1854, even Mzilikazi himself employed a Hole doctor to treat him of dropsy. At about this time also, most of the village medicine men were Shona as they invariably knew more about the local plants and wild animals than the Ndebele.
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