Chirongamabwe – A Ziscosteel tradition
According to African traditional beliefs and norms surrounding each area that has some traditional values and norms, Ziscosteel is heavily a traditional and a cultural place and rituals of cleansing the place must be performed to reverse any misfortunes from happening at the company and its environs. According to Shona oral culture and history, Ziscosteel was under the chieftainship of Chief Mupamombe from Chegutu and the Mupamombe clan would come and perform any rituals when the company faced any challenges dating back from colonial Rhodesia.
The revival of Ziscosteel is shrouded in cultural and traditional beliefs and practices. Some of the traditional belief is that a mysterious mass grave near the company along Kwekwe River needs cleansing as a bad spirit is hovering over the area and the fortunes of the company will never be realized.
“ There is a mass grave near Ziscosteel along Kwekwe River and if traditional rituals are not performed the fortunes of the company fortunes will not come to pass. Ex combatants are believed to be buried in the grave and a cleansing ceremony needs to be performed “, said a self styled Sekuru who guards the grave and stays near the ‘graveyard ‘.
Recently a traditional Bira was held inside the company in anticipation of reopening Ziscosteel as a once giant steel making company. But the matter at Ziscosteel fortunes and misfortunes hinges on Chirongamabwe, a traditional ritual act that was performed frequently by Ziscosteel management, local chiefs and traditional leaders in appeasement of spirit mediums that rule the area. TRADITIONAL leaders from across the Midlands Province on Friday thronged the Ziscosteel plant in Redcliff where they performed rituals.
Traditional opaque beer and drum beating as well as dancing characterised the all-night vigil as the traditional leaders performed their rites and dedicated the plant to their ancestors.
This comes as Ziscosteel has floated an Expression of Interest (EOI) which has since been extended to the end of June due to increased interest and request for more time to prepare from internal consortiums and external bidders.
Ziscosteel Public Relations Manager, Mrs Patricia Muzenda said given the latest developments at the company, they have been engaging stakeholders.
“We have been engaging all our stakeholders as we look forward to reopening the company. In that vein, the chiefs being key stakeholders requested that they wanted to perform their traditional rituals at the plant. So, the activity was a result of the request from our chiefs,” said Mrs Muzenda.
“We are a nation with our own beliefs and as a company we just had to comply with the request by the chiefs so that they can perform their rituals,” she said.
Mrs Muzenda said it was not the first time that such rituals were held at the company.
Chief Weight Gwesela said the function was meant to dedicate the company to their ancestors.
“We have different beliefs according to countries and as Zimbabwe we believe in dedicating everything we do to our ancestors. The event was for us to plead with our ancestors to watch over operations at the company. Remember this company deals with minerals and our ancestors watch over the minerals,” said Chief Gwesela.
Also in attendance were chiefs, Mupamombe, Malisa, Chiundura, Gambiza and Kazangarare, and officials from the Kwekwe District Development office as well as Ziscosteel representatives.