The Marumbi Rain cult: Gender and the interface between rainmaking and the politics of water in Gutu
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The major concern of this paper is to analyse the socio-political dynamics of the Marumbi Rain cult in Gutu. Of central importance here will be the interface between rainmaking and the politics of water. The Marumbi Rain Cult provides an interesting scenario where a woman, Marumbi Karivara with rainmaking powers ended up transforming the power into political influence. In the end, not only did she assume control over rainmaking in Gutu, but also the control of sacred groves, pools and springs around Mt. Rasa where the rain cult was based. As a result of her rainmaking powers she also founded the Munyaradzi Headmanship. Upon her death her only son, Chinamasabwa took over control of both rainmaking powers and control of the Headmanship. In recent years disputes have erupted between the descendents of Chinamasabwa and those of Marumbi Karivara’s brother Chagonda and these have centred on the control of the rain cult and the sacred groves around Mt. Rasa. The disputes have also extended to the issue of legitimacy of the descendents of Chinamasabwa’s control of the rain cult, the sacred groves, pools springs and also the Munyaradzi Headmanship. This paper is therefore an attempt at giving a genealogy of the intricate politics of rainmaking, water, gender and politics in an area that is drought prone. It submits that for the Shona, the whole rhetoric of water politics remains inseparable from the institution of rainmaking, the influence of rainmakers and the spirituality of water.