SOME NAMES OF THE ‘HILLS’ IN THE MATOBO HILLS
The Matobo Hills are an extesive granite landscape, charactised by a sea of rocky peaks and undulating plains.
The term ‘Matobo’ is plural for rocks and since these rocky hills have been inhabited by man for millenia some of you may be wondering what they are actually called.
Here’s a look at only five prominent granite peaks in Matobo and the meaning behind their names.
The Njelele Hill is the sacred site of the traditional rain making ceremony conducted by locals every August to ask the gods for good rains. It is located outside the south western fringes of the Matobo National Park in the Khumalo communal area approximately hundred kilometers south of Bulawayo.
According to authors Burret, Fitzpatrick and Dupree, the name Njelele is thought to be a corruption of the name of the founder of the Mlimo cult, Njenjema.
Njelele Hill is a granite Kopje that looks solid and similar to several others in Matobo. However it houses the Njelele Shrine and cave in which an assortment of skulls and horns of big game, iron hoes, clay pots containing water, cloth and beads, piles of tobacco, hatchets, and spears are kept.
Malindidzimu Hill is the granite landform upon which Cecil John Rhodes and other leaders from the pre-colonial era are buried.
Malindidzimu means ‘dwelling place of the benevolent spirits’. Rhodes loved the panoramic view at summit of the hill and named it View of The World.
Malindidzimu is one of the most visited sites within the Matobo Hills and has been a source of controversy over the years with some nationalists calling for the removal of the remains of Rhodes and other white settlers.
Inungu Hill is the landmark in the Matobo Hills with a cross on its summit. The Hill lies just outside the Matobo National Park on private land.
The Hill is said to resemble a Porcupine, hence the name.
The Cross on Inungu Hill is a statement of Christian presence within the Hills. Erected in 1982 by parishioners at Christ the King Church in Bulawayo, the cross stands as a memory to a Catholic priest, Father Odlio Weeger who is said to have loved the Matobo Hills and its people, Christian and non-Christian.
The Hill is the landmark upon which the famous Bambatha Cave is perched on.
It is located on the northern flanks of the Matobo Hills just off the main Kezi road.
Bambatha derives from the Zulu/Ndebele term meaning “to caress or stroke with hands”. It is upon this hill that most archaelogocial activity in the Matobo Hills has occured.
Ntunjambila is a hill on the eastern sideo of the Matobo Hill. It’s name means “the split rock” .
The hill is home to the Ntunjambila Cave, a sacred cave that is used for traditional rain making ceremonies.
Ntunjambila cave is also the site in which ZIPRA military hardware smuggled from Zambia via Bulawayo was hidden.