Shona and Ndebele War or Chimulenga War 1896-1897

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Shona and Ndebele War or Chimulenga War 1896-1897

Shona and Ndebele resistance  this was NdebeleShona revolt against the British South Africa Company’s administration of the territory (Zimbabwe) 1896-1897. Massive confiscation of Ndebele cattle by Company officials (BSACo) was a wake up call to Shona and Ndebele.

Shona and Ndebele was traditionally known as Chimulenga joined two and Ndebele against the British rule in Zimbabwe in 1896-1897 under the leadership of King Lobengula.

Shona and Ndebele War or Chimulenga War 1896-1897

Shona and Ndebele resistance was first launched/started by Ndebele (Matebele) tribe in April 1896 following British occupation at Matebele land, Shona joined the war in June 1896 (the same year) that is why the war was called Chimulenga war.

Therefore, Chimulenga war was the traditional resistance which was organized by Shona and Ndebele tribe against British rule in Zimbabwe in 1886 to 1897 led by king Lobengula.


1. Land alienation: The British South African Company (BSACO) and white settlers confiscated the fertile land from the Africans hence the natives were Pushed into the reserves and ultimately they became the labourers in the various economic sectors.

2. Introduction of Forced labour: The prevalent policy of the whites was to force the Africans in both Mashona and Ndebele [Matebele] land to provide labour in the colonial economic sectors. The Africans through their chiefs were forced to provide labour power in the farms and mines. All able men had to work regardless of their former positions in the

3. Introduction of Taxation: In 1894 the hut tax was introduced. Some of the Shona chiefs and their subjects rejected new laws that were introduced by colonial government; cattle, goats and grains were confiscated from those who failed to pay

4. Introduction of low wages: Those Africans who were subjected to forced labour in the mines and in white farms were poorly paid though they worked for long

5. Interference of trade: The desire of the company [BSACO] to control trade in the Mashona land created chaos in the

6. Interference of culture: Missionaries wanted to spread Christianity which was against the African culture and

7. Loss of cattle: Cattle were the backbone of the Shona and the The British government confiscated the cattle and gave them to the British.


1. Depopulation: Chimulenga war led to the decrease in number of Shona and Ndebele because of the killings and many people

2. Hunger and famine: Shona and Ndebele war led to hunger and famine because people were not involving in production and many crops were destroyed during the

3. The Ndebele chiefs were employed in various administrative positions under the BSACO

4. Destruction of properties: Shona and Ndebele properties such as farms, houses, and cattle were destroyed during the Chimulenga war.

6. Death of people: During Chimulenga war many people including the Shona, Ndebele and the British lost their lives.

7. Fear and insecurity: Chimulenga war led to people unrest and fear because there was no peace and

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