Shava, is an animal totem variant of the Mhofu/Mpofu, which is the name of the Eland deer-like animal in Southern Africa. Shava is often associated with the fairness of skin, resembling the colors of the Eland, or becoming self-sufficient, such as by hunting or fishing.
Shava is associated with the Vahera tribe, descendants of Mbiru, who lived at Gombe Hill in present-day Buhera, East of Zimbabwe. The Vahera are Shona, a collective name of many tribes who lived in present-day Zimbabwe before Mzilikazi settled there with his Ndebele people. The Ndebele use the name Mpofu in Matabeleland. The Vahera people claim that they came from Guruuswa, an area North of the Zambezi River, in Uganda and Sudan. Another claim is that they entered Zimbabwe via Mozambique, where some of their daughters had bred with the foreign traders along the coast, resulting in the light brown skin tone. That light brown is called shava in Shona.
Buhera word means the Hera people.
Mbira was identified by his totem Shava (the Eland), also known as Nauka. All descendants of Mbiru share the same totem of Shava, but some changed to various Chidawos over time (praise name in parentheses) to hide from their enemies. Their praise poetry uses terms such as Mhofuyemukono (the bull eland) and Mhukahuru (the large beast).
The Shava belt possesses the following dynasties: Bocha, in the East, in the angle of the Odzi and Save; Marange (Shava Mukonde) in Buhera on the south bank of the upper Save River, the Nyashanu (Shava Museyamwa), the Mutekedza (Shava Masarirambi) South of Buhera and the Munyaradzi (Shava Wakanonoka).
Shava Royals stretched west of the watershed from the upper Munyati to the Munyati-Mupfure confluence. These include the Mushava (Shava Musimuvi), the Nherera and Rwizi (Shava Mazarura) in the middle of Mupfure River, the Chivero (Shava Mwendamberi) to the far West of Chivero, the Neuso (Shava Mhukahuru Murehwa), the Muvirimirwa, the Chireya, or the Shava Murehwa, the Njerere (Shava Mvuramavi), the Nemangwe, the Matore (shava mudavanhu) and this was direct descendancy of Dore son of Nyashanu and they stretch from Kasuwe in Gokwe to Piriviri in Hurungwe, they praise mutunhu uri panaChiremera, Chirembera is a place in Gokwe Kasuwe area where Dore the son of Nyashanu resided during his stay in Gokwe before he went back to Buhera and died, the Nenyanga, the Negonde, the Nyavira, the Neharava, the Seke Mutema (Shava Mvuramavi), the Hwata dynasty (Shava Mufakose) and the Chiweshe (Shava Mutenhesenwa) in northern Zimbabwe and (Shava Nyakuviruka) and Shava Mhizha and the Shava Museyamwa of Chishanga ,who praise vari Matiringe ,vanodana vari Majakatira, vari Chishanga vari Mashakazhara who are direct descendants of Mutunhakuenda(sometimes referred to as Mutunhakwenda or just Mutunha) , a great- grandson of Nyashanu. His father was Ndyakavamwa, the son of Gukunava, the son of Dakota, or Mutekwatekwa, the son of Nyashanu. He moved south to the current day Masvingo province and established the Chishanga kingdom.
Contrary to accepted history, the governance of the area was organized.
Vahera culture was underpinned by inclusiveness and including marrying outside the totem. The most compelling untold history is that of Seke Mutema, whose actions opened up the North, East, and West of present-day Zimbabwe to the Valera. Seke was the first son of Nyashanu and was disgruntled because he had been passed over in succession. His mother may have been from the Dziva people in the West and the Northeast.
With his brothers Hwata, Chiweshe, Marange, and Gwenzi, he set up a vast kingdom that encouraged other members of their tribe to move south and west. The change in totems had more with these events than the need for intermarriage, which is still not widely accepted there.
It is said that Chiweshe’s and Hwata’s children’s battles over land and women were encouraged by Uncle Gwenzi, who himself never sired a child. In settling these disputes, Hwata became Mufakose. He intervened in conflicts in the West with Mzilikazi and was fighting within territories under his governance while Chiweshe assumed mutenhesanwa (those fighting among themselves).
Seke changed to Mvuramavi (hellstorm/waterstone-Mvuramahwe) after having agreed, as per Rozvi tradition, to change his people totem to Zuruvi to marry the Zuruvi Chief’s daughter as a peace arrangement. Upon the death of the wife, the people agitated to return to their original totem. This was no longer possible given the intervening intermarriage.
Seke was the eldest, followed by Aitewedzerwa na Chiweshe, Kouya Hwata, Marange, and lastly, Gwenzi. Their mother was a Rozvi princess. When he used the Chidawo, Seke boasted that he was a Muzukuru of the Rozvi (Varidzi Wevu) through using the Chidawo Ivuramai Vangu, shortened to Vhuramai (the soil/land belongs to my mother, i.e., vana sekuru vake, or the Rozvi).
This served to remind all neighboring clans of Seke’s blue blood, e.g. the Matemai. Seke’s new sons-in-law, the Matemai, went crazy on seeing Vabvana Vatsvuku Weshava and immediately gave Seke the area where they now live.
His neighbors were the Matemai to the Northeast, the Tingini’s Soko Murehwa of Washawasha in the North around the Harare suburbs of Glenlorne/Chisipiti, and to the West Chiwero (around WarrenHills/Dziwaresekwa all to areas around Norton) and associated people such as the Gwanzura. To the Northwest were the Mapondera, who occupied the land stretching from the Harare suburbs of Marlborough/Mt Hamperden to the Mazowe valley (Kugomba). The South was the dominion of Seke’s father Nyashanu (Churu Chine Masvesve). To the East was the Vatsunga of Nyandoro, the Vahota (Chihota), and the Vambire around Mount Hwedza.
War with the Gunguvo people ensued during Goreraza’s rule (Seke #18). They pushed the invaders out and thus assumed the totem Mhofu Mvuramahwe, which over time came to be Mvuramavi (Waterstone) and is now commonly referred to as Vhuramavi. Seke was not the first son of Nyashanu. Nyashanu’s first son was Masarirambi, followed by Chiwashira, Mapanzure, Munyaradzi then Marange. The name Nyashanu is a nickname. His real name is Mbiru or Munhuwepi. He came and settled at Gombe hills (Chikomo che Mbwera), particularly with his 5 sons. He then sirred other sons, ie. Chiweshe, Gwenzi, Hwata, Seke and others. Their Sister Nehanda, the first, was given to the Rozvi Chief as a little girl. The Rozvi then migrated to the Mazoe area en route to Guruve. The girl was young and a virgin. A spirit Medium manifested in her, and the Rozvi send a message to Nyashanu. Nyashanu dispatched his two sons Chiweshe and Hwata, to go and perform rituals as the inlaws of the Rozvi, and that’s how Chiweshe and Hwata were given areas to rule by the Rozvis. Chiweshe was very good and a snipper with Bow and arrow. He was a great warrior. Nyashanhu later had many wives and many sons. All the first 5 sons had left Vuhera and were chiefs in Areas around their father. Masarirambi had gone north at the Mtekedza area, followed by Chiwashira, who was near Chivu. Marange settled across Save in the present Narange area. Munyaradzi settled in Gutu. Mapanzure settle in the Rushanga area is relocating to Zvishavane. Back a Mbwera Seke was now the oldest son looking after his father. The father was now old and could not manage his conjugal duties to his many wives. Seke as the elder son took over duties to the younger wives. When the father became aware, he runs away, following his brothers up North. That’s how Seke left Vuhera.
Shoko, Tabona (1 January 2007). Karanga Indigenous Religion in Zimbabwe: Health and Well-being. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-0-7546-5881-8.
Beach, D.N.A Zimbabwe Past, Mambo Press, 1994