ALTHOUGH it looked very dangerous, the late Father Zimbabwe Dr Joshua Nkomo’s knobkerrie which was his trademark throughout his life was not just a weapon as many people assumed.
The sceptre contained magical powers to guide his instinct and warn him if something bad was about to happen, B-Metro has learnt. Thus, it is not a surprise that he survived many coup attempts.
Wednesday 01 July marked 21 years since Dr Nkomo’s death in July 1999.
Apart from the traditional short knobkerrie, the late Vice-President of Zimbabwe, Dr Nkomo was also famed for donning his traditional animal skin hat as a symbol of his leadership status.
Commenting on the significance of the unique weaponry, chief executive director of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo National Foundation (JMNNF), which set up a museum and superintends over it, Jabulani Hadebe said he used to carry quite a number of them with the one in question being the remarkable one, he used to carry the most.
Hadebe said the knobkerrie was displayed at the Joshua Nkomo Museum, which is situated at house Number 17 Aberdeen Road in Matsheumhlophe, formerly Dr Nkomo’s house. Dr Nkomo’s residence was converted into a museum and opened to the public at the end of January in 2012.
“It was a knobkerrie which guided his natural being and instincts. Whenever he had that knobkerrie, he could sense danger and whenever something unpleasant was about to happen.
“It’s still not known where he got that particular knobkerrie. It could be one of the sacred shrines like Njelele, Dula and Ntabazikamambo which he and other liberation war fighters used to visit during the struggle for our nationhood,” said Hadebe.
On whether the knobkerrie would be given to any political figures, Hadebe said: “It will remain part of the family history and tradition though the general public will be given the opportunity to see and touch the knobkerrie which was believed to give Umdala Wethu some mysterious powers.”
An extract from the book, Joshua Nkomo: Politics, Power, and Memory, which was edited by Professor Sabelo Gatsheni Ndlovu, also details how Dr Nkomo became associated with the rod which is also a must-see at the museum.
The extract reads: “Nkomo modelled himself as a cultural nationalist. His pilgrimage to the Dula Mwali cult shrine in the Matopos Hills in 1958 was to seek legitimacy.
“To solidify his claim to be Father Zimbabwe, Nkomo even sought ritual powers so as to mystify himself as the true inheritor of a chain of power that was disturbed by colonial rule.
“Nkomo portrays himself as the keeper of national ritual secrets that other nationalists were not aware of. Until his death, Nkomo associated himself with the Matopos shrines and carried a traditional short knobkerrie wherever he went”.
The book further says his leadership was also endorsed by such Shona leaders and veterans of the First Chimurenga (1896-1897) as Nyamasoka Chinamora (uncle to Chief Chinamora) who in 1962 offered him a ritual war-axe, sword and knobkerrie, urging him to fight to the bitter end.
In 2028, MDC-Alliance President Nelson Chamisa came under fire from State Media for allegedly claiming that he had been offered Dr Nkomo’s traditional staff/sceptre.
However, Chamisa never said that he was offered Dr Nkomo’s traditional walking stick. What he actually said was that he was offered a walking stick. Nowhere does he say he was offered Joshua Nkomo’s walking stick in the video.
Watch video below: