The Gigantic Civilization of Zimbabwe


The Gigantic Civilization of Zimbabwe. About 1600 years ago, the Kalanga/Karanga people laid the foundations of a civilization that would become the most formidable in the history of Southern Africa.

Vestiges of the Shona civilization
Vestiges of Zimbabwe

19th century, European settlers penetrate violently Southern Africa. While invading the land, they discovered monumental buildings in Zimbabwe which were extending over several miles. Completely bewildered, they immediately declared that those wonders couldn’t have been made by the lower Negro race.

Thus began the falsification of the history of the civilization of Zimbabwe, whose paternity has been attributed to all the imaginary Whites of the world. The German Karl Mauch said in 1871 “The city was not built by Africans because the construction design is too elaborate: this is the work of Phoenician or Jewish settlers” [1].

Africans are forbidden to visit sites for their religious practices. The British racist government imprisoned all the researchers who support the African origin of these constructions. It was only at the end of apartheid in Southern Rhodesia that this glorious past was officially given back to the Karanga and Africa. After the independence gained from a long struggle, the country abandoned its name in homage to the English colonist Cecil Rhodes and took the prestigious name of Zimbabwe.


Undoubtedly, the various cultures of South Africa played a role in the emergence of this civilization. In neighboring South Africa are the ruins of Mpumalanga, which, after attempts at dating, represent the oldest long-standing human structures in history. Mpumalanga will be 75,000 to 160,000 years old. The largest number of traces of the original human civilization is concentrated in South Africa. But it is really Kalanga, also called Kalanga, which later increases the local culture.

Exemple de ruines anciennes et effondrées par l'usure du temps, qu'on retrouve sur le site de Mpumalanga
Ancient ruins worn out over time, which are found on the Mpumalanga site

The rise of Kalanga people

The Kalanga-Karanga are today part of the great Shona ethnic group, which represents the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. Where do they come from? It is claimed that they migrated from the Great Lakes and found the Khoisan. Because they introduced stone architecture in the region, Louise Marie Diop-Maes was wondering whether their origins can be traced even back to the Sudan, since at the fall of the powerful pharaonic empire of Barwa (Meroe), it was reported that builders migrated to the south with their techniques. The agriculture, the intense vitalist religious practices dedicated to Mwari (God) and the Mudzimu (ancestors), and the rich mineral resources exploitation in Southern Africa have favored the Kalanga’s pre-eminence in the region.

This is how they built the Mhanwa Fort (Acropolis Hill) 1600 years ago. These African fortifications are 600 years older than the oldest fortified castle in Europe. The first fortresses in the world were built in Egypt. Again, it was probably blacks who introduced the construction of fortified castles in Europe during the Moorish civilization of the black Berber inhabitants of the Maghreb in Spain. The wall of Mhanwa is 11 meters high and exceeds 100 meters !!!

Le fort sur Mhanwa
The fort on Mhanwa

The emergence of Great Zimbabwe

Around 5,400 African era (1100 AD), Kalanga settled in Mapungubwe, South Africa, building stone buildings and producing fine gold materials. At the same time, north of Mapungubwe and for 300 years, Kalanga will build new structures at the foot of Mhanwa, especially the famous large enclosures. All these buildings were called Dzimba Dzemabwe, ie Stone Houses. Dzimba Dzemabwe is the origin of the word Zimbabwe. Greater Zimbabwe impresses with its gigantism. Walls 10 meters high, 5.5 meters below and 3.5 meters above. Stone blocks weigh up to a ton. The large case with an elliptical shape has a circumference of 244 meters !!!!

In 2002, astronomer Richard Wade concluded that Great Zimbabwe was built on astronomical foundations, reflecting the Orion constellation and the indication of solstices. Once again, we come to Orion, the sacred constellation of ancient Egyptians, of which three stars are represented by the three great pyramids. The latter also mark the occurrence of solstices. We therefore conclude that the Kalanga had advanced astronomical knowledge and as authentic Africans, thus sought to map the sky in order to discover God’s word.

Grand Zimbabwe
The holy site of Great Zimbabwe
Grand Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
Grand Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
Grand Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe. The large enclosure is a religious temple built on astronomical basis in accordance with the African tradition.
Great Zimbabwe. The large enclosure is a religious temple built on divine astronomical basis, regarded as God’s word (Ma’at).

The era of Great Zimbabwe was a prosperous period thanks to strong industrial activity. Almost 4,000 iron, gold, copper and tin mining sites have been found in the region. The quantity of tin extracted at one site was estimated at 30,000 tonnes. The prolific ceramic and bronze work is also documented. International trade with Asia and the Arab-Muslim world was particularly developed. Mining resources and ivory were transported to the Solafa port in Mozambique and were exported by sea by Arab and African navigators.

Trade served as an economic lever for the entire East African coast, especially for the very rich Swahili civilization in Tanzania-Kenya. Many artifacts of gold and copper, Chinese porcelain and Syrian pearls have been found in Greater Zimbabwe. Even the locations of Mapungubwe in South Africa and Ignombe Ilede in Zambia were rich in all these properties. This intensive business has supported the implantation of Arabs in the region.

Sculptures de Mapungubwe, couvertes de feuillets d'or
Sculptures of Mapungubwe, covered with gold foil
Copper ingots, Ignombe Ilede, Zambia, 11th century
Contrary to the argument developed by the West to take our wealth, we have never waited for Europeans to understand the value of our mineral resources and know how to exploit them.
Picture by M. Fagan
Histoire générale de l’Afrique, volume 4

The Mwene Mutapa: the climax

In the 15th century, Arab traders took the Mozambican ports over, even grabbing territories to the borders of Zambezi River. Their growing influence was a danger to the locals. Facing threat, king Nyatsimba Mutota will succeed in uniting the local peoples to drive the Arabs away by force. The great Mutota inherited the title of Mwene Mutapa, that is to say the sovereign of the conquered lands. The name Mwene Mutapa was deformed in Monomotapa by the Portuguese. His son Matope will extend his father’s power over Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa. Thus was born the Mwene Mutapa Empire of which the capital city was moved, as Great Zimbabwe was abandoned essentially because of the drought and rarefaction of gold.

The extent of the Mwene Mutapa Empire

This 1688 mapping enables us basically to evaluate Mwene Mutapa’s area. The French encyclopedist Diderot tells us “the king who rules it is very wealthy, and extends his domain almost to the Cape of Good Hope” [2]. Mwene Mutapa ruled partly or totally over Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana.

Source : Wikipedia
Source : Wikipedia

Mwene Mutapa’s organization

As on the entire African continent, power was based on matriarchy. The emperor was married to his sister and the ceremony was celebrated by the queen mother or royal mother. The king had 9 wives, reminiscent of 9 elements of African spirituality. The royal mother and every royal woman had her own court. About 3,000 people were assigned to their services. As in Egypt, Congo, Uganda, and the former Ghana under Ashantis, the royal mother and his sister / wife had an important influence. In the purely African tradition, the king was sentenced to death if he betrayed the expectations of his people.

A bird was serving as a totemic animal for the sovereign just like in Egypt, Mali, Somalia, and Madagascar. Fire was lit in the palace and was symbolizing the king’s life. It was extinguished only at his death. The king’s health, as in all Africa, was indispensable to the people’s prosperity.

The Namwari, ie the Royal Mother was the highest figure in the state like in the Kuba civilization of DR Congo. The Mwene Mutapa, the emperor exerts the power. The Chengere Mwari, the priests, coordinates the powerful vitalist cult. Then came the Mashona (officials), the Limpo (the farmers), finally the servants and the lower caste of dependents.

As far as the economy is concerned, the ancient Dutch Olivier Dapper tells us “The countryside (of Monomotapa is) fertile in pastures and fruits necessary for life … The inhabitants are rich in livestock of which they make more cases than gold … the common meat for the people is salted beef; Their milky drink which begins to grow sour, and sesame oil, their loaves of rice cakes, millet, yams.” [3]. Citizens were not paying taxes.

Diderot for his part tells us again that “this state is abundant in gold and elephant” [2].

Luxury in the Mwene Mutapa

Historical testimonies of European explorers speak for themselves. Nicolas Samson d’Abbeville says “the palace is large, magnificent, flanked by outside towers with four main gates; the inside enriched with cotton tapestry, enhanced with gold and rich and superb furniture “[4].

Dapper goes on : “One enters through four great porches, where the Emperor’s guards alternate the sentry. The exteriors are fortified with towers and the inside is divided into several spacious rooms furnished with cotton tapestry where the vivacity of the colors disputes the price to the brilliance of the gold (…) Gilded chairs, painted and enameled with ivory candlesticks suspended from chains of silver are one of the beauties of these sumptuous apartments. Its dishes are of porcelain surrounded by golden branches “[5].

“In Monomotapa the kings do not change their fashion, they wear a long silk dress in the country; they carry to the side a billhook embedded in ivory. The common people dress themselves with cotton cloths and the great Indian ones embroidered with gold “[6].

Arrived at the Solafa port in present Mozambique, the Europeans testified “two Senhores of the country came to see us. Very haughty, they did not appreciate what we gave them. One of them was wearing a cloak with embroidered silk fringe, and the one in the other was entirely of green silk. We understood by their signs that a young man who was with them had come from a distant country and had already seen large boats similar to ours.” [7].

Ruines de Khami
Khami ruins
Dhlo Dhlo Les ruines se comptent par centaines sur des kilomètres
Dhlo Dhlo
The ruins are hundreds over several miles


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