The Chisuma foundation Zimbabwe
Chisuma is a village 25km east of the majestic Victoria Falls on the escarpment of the might Zambezi with a population of about 2500 to 4000 villagers. It is interesting and diverse in culture and tribesmen with great potential of being the food basket of Victoria Falls town hotels, lodges and the township population in general.
The culture and tribesman of Chisuma
Although cultural erosion is becoming a problem in most parts of the world Chisuma still has its pioneer settlers, the Nambias. The Nambias and the Rozvi are the pioneer settlers of Chisuma area however most of the Rozvi families moved back across the mighty river Zambezi to Zambia leaving the Nambias who were later joined by the Ndebeles in 1951. The Ndebeles were resettled by the colonialist from lower Gweru/Kwekwe area in 1951 where they were known as amahindi bulala or abesankwe because of their aggressive, rebellious nature and hunting spirits of abajimbi.
The Nambias until today are Zambezi River lovers and poses strong spirits used to ask for rainfalls in the area (iwosana). They have several caves in the batoka gorge were they keep their traditional clay pots they use to perform the rain rituals, however a decade ago some archaeologist took all the their clay pots away for research purposes, by so doing the rain spirit were angered and disrupted.
The area of Chisuma is under the local leadership of induna or chief Mvuthu and headmen who include Mangaphe, Likwa Mpofu, John Magomaba Tshuma, Dlembu Ndlovu and others who are not mention.
Although some political mapping class Chisuma as Kachechete, the people of Chisuma are proud and wish to be respected and called the people of Chisuma as Kachechete is beyond their border.
The area of Chisuma is characterized by the fertile black clay or cotton soils (isidaka), small volcanic rocky hills and the Kalahari sand (igusu).
The raining season stretches from December to April. The villagers substantially farm sorghum , millet, maize, sunflower, ground nuts, sweet reeds, beans, covo, spinash, tomatoes, cabbage and peas. For farming reasons every family has (inkabi) oxen or donkeys.
Considering that the Zambezi river is only a stone throw away, there is no doubt that agriculture in this area has potential to grow to commercial levels. The tributaries of the Zambezi like Chisuma river, Jengwe river, Siphaziphazi and Dibutibu give the area a added advantage in terms of developing agriculture, how ever a lot of work, funding, education. action and commitment is needed.
Game farming is an option however some safari operators are already pegging bounders on the age of the village areas threatening villagers with resettlement and serious stock and crops loss to wild animals. The population of Chisuma is bitter to such operators and wish their own people should be the benefiters of game farming especial with the government embarking on a resettlement exercise.
Education in Chisuma village is generally good with most people being able to read, write and speak English. Chisuma primary school offers classes from grade 1 – 7. Villagers wish the primary school could develop to a high school to save them from sending their children to nearby towns for higher education. Special thanks goes to the government, NGOS , individuals and local companies who have played a role in the school development.
Chisuma village has a potential to many types of tourism including cultural exchange programs, bird watching, rock climbing, up sailing, rafting, river boarding and village tours. The scenic escarpment and the Zambezi gorge make Chisuma a potential tourist attraction.
Art and Craft
Some of the greatest sculptures and art in Zimbabwe and abroad are made in by women and men of Chisuma village. The arts and crafts include walking stick, masks, ilala baskets, wooden bowels, wooden portraits, drums, ilala mats, salad spoons, cow hide shields and spears.
Chisuma also has some very talented blacksmith who make axes, knives, spears, chisels and hoes. It is fascinating to observe the blacksmith at work as they still use the ancient ways of making their tool. They still use cow hide air blowers, charcoal, hard rocks, railway line steel bars and four pounds hammers to make their tools.
Like most villages in Africa Chisuma suffers from deforestation, erosion, overgrazing due to substantial and commercial activities, however it is not too late to implement conservative measures through individuals, the government, NGOS and other experts.
Chisuma has a great investment opportunities in tourism, agriculture, art and crafts and quarry production just to mention a few.