Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Is November still sacred ?

Melinda Kusemachibi

Known in African Traditional Religion practices and customs as ‘Mwedzi Wembudzi’, literally, the month of the goat or Mwedzi weBenzi (month of the fool), folks who believe in its sacredness hold that any contravention of the custom is taboo.
Carrying out any activity that it is deemed an abomination could bring bad fortune (death, accidents) to the land and its people while it is also believed that people should not marry during the month of November.
November or Mbudzi is a month in which no ceremonies or rituals may be done. If one intends to have a ceremony or event in this month, a spirit medium will have to intercede on their behalf. Even traditional courts close off.
It is believed that transgressors bring bad luck upon themselves. Weddings for instance, held in November are said to end in divorce as punishment for this abomination, with other ceremonies such as lobola negotiations, biras and tombstone unveilings largely prohibited.
In short, nothing, happens on the cultural front during the month of November, contrary to what the proliferation of other religious practices have brought in the current era.
Traditionalists concur that during this month the spiritual realm will be resting.
A traditionalist Sekuru Takura Tongwe of Zaka highlighted that rituals are not allowed to be done in November month.
“The month November ‘mwedzi wembudzi’ in shona is so sacred that all rituals and everything on socio-cultural front has to come to a standstill. The socio-economic aspects of everyone’s existence are believed to be linked to the spiritual world,” said Tongwe.
Paramount Chief Nemauzhe born Nelson Murandu from Chivi South said they still maintain the sacredness of the month and called for the upholding of such values and norms related to the African culture.
“Here in Chivi especially in my area, we still maintain the sacredness of this month. We call upon the younger generation to learn from our culture for the preservation of our values, customs and norms.
“What really happens is that we may have challenges as chiefs of having officers to enforce the upholding of such aspects of our culture. It might not necessarily be a matter of following different religious sects but as long as we are there, all the people in our communities should abide and seek the blessing of Chiefs and even approval if they can go ahead with such,”
He also said they also do not carry out any form of rituals during the month and even other related activities are suspended as well.
Mauka village head Phinias Kuchakanya indicated that partaking in any form of cultural ceremony during the month of November is a taboo.
“I would not accept bride in November, it is culturally wrong. In our village we do not do any rituals or allow couples to get married since it is taboo,” said Kuchakanya.
The traditional calendar of the Shona is based on the movement of the moon. Hence, the Shona calendar has 13 months in a year. The Shona believe that ancestral spirits rest during the month of November, known as mwedzi we mbudzi. During this month everything with links to the spiritual and ancestral world of Zimbabwean tradition temporarily ceases to function because ancestors will be resting
Today many people take the precision of traditional calendars for granted, unaware of the significance and impact of doing so. The African traditional calendar is based on the Earth’s rotation around the Moon.
The basics are that in November people don’t marry, they don’t perform traditional rites and so forth. But what has not been explained is: why is this so? And when does the traditional November start and end?
According to African tradition, this is the month that the ancestors do not deal with earthly issues but deal with Musiki, God, on various issues tabled before the ancestors during the course of the year.
However, Chief Murinye real name Ephias Munodawafa said he does not believe in anything about sacredness.
“I do not even know, I only heard about it when Negomo served Tsvangirai summons for marrying someone in November. To me that’s when the issue was popularized. In Masvingo it is something that was not popular at all. Nothing was exempted from being done just because of November. Anyway, let me say also hasten to say I am an Adventist and l do not believe in that,” said Munodawafa.
Assemblies of God Church Pastor Kimion Tagwirei said there is nothing taboo about marrying in November.
“Biblically, there is nothing spiritual or taboo about November month. On November 6, 2021 we had a wedding of one of our congregants in Bulawayo. November was just culturally declared sacred but biblically it has no sacredness thus all Christians who believe and subscribe to the Bible taken it like any other month. There is nothing wrong evil or taboo in marrying in November. It is viewed as wrong culturally by those who profess and propel culture,” said Tagwirei.
Should there be a violation, it is made good only by penance. In 2012, the late MDC leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirai was found culpable by Chief Negomo, Lucious Chitsinde, of breaking customary laws that prohibit families from performing marriage rites in the “sacred” month of November.
His marriage to Locadia Karimatsenga did not last and those who maintain this traditional custom think that the break up was due to Tsvangirai having broken customary codes.

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