HomeEnvironmentGenesis of VaShendji term and its exodus

Genesis of VaShendji term and its exodus

By Burzil Dube

THIS column cannot be complete without briefly mentioning Covid-19 tidings which continue to ravage  the entire world with latest reports in  spikes in the form of a fourth wave whose effects are considered to be more lethal  than previous related cases.

News from across  continents relate that vaccinating against this pandemic is now mandatory in most European countries and this is a clear indication  that Covid-19 would be among us for an foreseeable future.

It is, however, sad  that some unscrupulous individuals have  embarked on a pilfering spree of unused Covid-19 vaccination cards  all in an evil mind of making quick money at  the expense of one’s health.

News from our next door neighbour, South Africa, is that a new deadly Covid-19 variant has recently been detected and health scientists are working round the clock to determine how it can be tackled.

It seems the only remedy to overcome this lethal pandemic is through inoculation and the onus is us to ensure that vaccination tidings are spread to all and sundry if we are to achieve the projected  herd immunity.

That aside and it is back to this week’s business — Ba Lemba Jewish genealogy and this tribe is considered brains behind construction of Great Zimbabwe structure.

Yours Truly would like to continue highlighting  that some scholars, academics and historians are indeed of the opinion that Ba Lemba tribe were instrumental in the building of Great Zimbabwe ruins.

This magnificent stone work edifice was constructed without any form of mortar courtesy of Tovakale/Tovakare clan from the Ba Lemba tribe whose roots is traced to the biblical Israelites.

Great Zimbabwe monument is one of the country’s major tourist attractions, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Ba Lemba are among 12 tribes  traced from the Biblical Hebrew or Jewish tribe which moved from Egypt to Canaan before some later migrated and finally settled in Southern Africa.

In this week’s traveling and touring column, Yours Truly tries to unpack how the VaRemba term  ‘vaShenji’  came about and is common lingo among this particular tribe whose beliefs are usually in tandem with biblical Israelites/ Jews.

The term vaShenji was briefly discussed in previous columns whose meaning is normally associated with those of non-Lemba disposition and are not allowed to perform a number of  Lemba cultural rites and other related issues.

And how did this term came about that as it  is at times considered ‘derogatory’?

Some historians and researchers have offered varied versions on how the term came about and there is some unanimity that it could have originated from the term ‘ Zanji’ referring to East African Coast during early centuries.

This place was synonymous with all sorts of  business transactions especially  ivory trade and it is  this place where Ba Lemba briefly stayed following their migration from the Middle East.

The Ba Lemba usually call themselves ‘mushavi’ which means buyer or trader or ‘nyakuwana’ which is the man who finds things which are bought and this description could have emanated from their trade in East African Coast.

They were also called ‘mulungu’ a description specifically meant for a white man from the North who oral tradition state that these Hebrew/Israelite ancestors came to Africa by boat as traders.

Another school of thought is that parallels could be established in the Katanga province in Democratic Republic of Congo where Arabs were dominant figures and looked down with contempt to ‘Musendji’ or ‘ Ba-Sendji’.

Those who were under the Arab sphere of influence had to use this term to anyone whom they wished to treat with contempt.

However, the whole scenario has been a debatable subject since time immemorial.

It has been argued that oral tradition of  BaLemba coupled with historical, archeological, and genetic data suggest immigration of this Israelite tribe to Africa as traders could have taken place before the advent of Christianity.

Deba table indeed.

Till we meet again in the next column.

 Comments always welcome on: dubebasill@gmail.com or Twitter@BurzilDube

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading