MORE THAN JUST A TOUCH OF GENIUS BY MBUYA A MAHACHI
On part of Mukoto Village, Ward 31 Buhera North in Manicaland, there is a touch of Genius. A home has been set up and lives up to its name. The home acts as a retailer for vegetables and poultry products. Local villagers are given free regular workshops to enlighten their living and giving them hope for change and the home boasts of its success which demonstrates its Touch of Genius.
Daud the first born son of the late Mr and Mrs Levison Muchafa Taranhike is running the home. The Touch has invited outsiders and is planning to start a Co-operative Horticultural Garden with the help of the Village Head (Mukoto) and Mr Nyabadza – known as Baba Chimuti. You are invited to come and see this model home – its more than just a Touch of Genius!
The above article or poem was cited and typed verbatim from Mbuya Mahachi’s handwritten note.
On a glorious morning in early March, members of board of directors and trustees of Trans4m Communiversity Associates (TCA), visited the Buhera district upon the cordial invitation extended by the proud son of Buhera, Daud and Christina Taranhike to visit their Kumusha (homestead).
According to Taranhike; Kumusha is the Shona term for the rural homestead, where people are connected with the soil and their livelihoods primarily depend on the soil and hence, they call themselves “vana vevhu” meaning the children of the soil. Vana vevhu was a term that was used to motivate the Black people to fight for liberation against the colonial regime, with the main objective of reclaiming the land from the white settlers. Kumusha is where the majority of Black Zimbabweans stay and are buried when they die, they live on the soil when alive and continue to live under the soil when they die. The soil is the Black people’s key inheritance and heritage. However, this understanding of the soil and kumusha seem to be fading away and hence people living kumusha are now being considered the poor, uneducated, backward and are often marginalised.
The Integral Kumusha thereby builds upon a natural-cultural African homestead (musha), adding technology and enterprise thus leading to a unique natural-cultural-technological-economic entity which is the antithesis of the western corporate – technologically and economically based – firm, bereft of nature and culture. As such, economic activities such as horticulture, or general farming, are grounded in nature within community-and-culture. This leads to a new form of business which embraces nature and culture of the rural people. Therefore, the Integral Kumusha is antithetical to the conventionally western corporate form which focuses mainly on exogenous technology and enterprise/economics divorced from nature and African indigenous culture.
Staying true to his African (Zimbabwean) nature, the Taranhike with support from their Buhera village heads and community have lovingly recreated a model Integral Kumusha for others to replicate or visit to learn from. Accordingly, the integrality of an integral Kumusha lies in by grounding and thereby, learning/engaging communally from one’s community, a Sanctuary within the kumusha – in Daud’s case, the cemetery of his ancestors, also by introducing renewable energy sources to his kumusha, he’s introducing new knowledge to his village people. Consequently the kumusha becomes self-sufficient and self-sustained by growing their own food as was noticed at Daud’s integral kumusha, efficiently overlooked and managed by Christiana Tranahike.
The next significant milestone for the group was to meet the village head (Mukoto) Mr M Mahachi at his kumusha along with his wife Mbuya A Mahachi. Mukoto Mahachi narrated his life journey intertwined with the historicity of Buhera district. While Mukoto Mahachi expressing his profound pride in Daud’s work of reviving the Vakamusha spirit, the reverence Daud showed him was quite hear touching for the group to notice.