Chimurenga is a Shona word which translates as “revolutionary struggle”. The first Chimurenga was a revolt by the Ndebele (Matabele) and Shona peoples of Matabeleland (now Zimbabwe). The revolt failed after initial successes, and Matabeleland became Rhodesia.
In the 1960’s and ’70’s the revolt of the Ndebele (PF) and Shona (Zanu) against white rule became the Second Chimurenga. This one succeeded. Robert Mugabe, leader of Zanu then united the Shona and Ndebele factions into the Zanu-PF party which has ruled independent Zimbabwe ever since.
Leaders in the brutal guerrilla bush war often adopted war names to enhance their ferocity. Gentle intellectuals went through over a year of tough bush training at the hands of North Korean and Chinese instructors. They hardened up and so did their names. They took cues from movies such as James Bond, Cowboy films, from music icons like Bob Marley, from sportsmen like Muhammad Ali, political leaders like Hitler, Stalin and even Indira Gandhi.
“What’s in a name?” asks Juliette from the Shakespeare play. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Bart Simpson suggests “Not if you call it a stink blossom or a crap weed”.
Nominative determinism, the theory that our actions or career tend to fit our names, will see a job as a mechanic go to John Wright instead of Fred Taylor. Do Chimurenga names work?
Who would you fear more? Someone called John Oboyo or the guy beside him called Commander Comrade Mao? Would you prefer to be interrogated by Ariston Ford or by Machete Footchopper?
More to follow on this theme.