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"Our gods never helped us again ..."
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 17:24

The Tonga people describe resettlement and its aftermath in a booklet published by Panos Southern Africa in 2005 as part of The Oral Testimony Programme.

"Some 55 years ago, from 1957 to 1958, some 57,000 Tonga people in the Zambezi Valley were resettled, as the rising waters of the Kariba Dam flooded their villages. For many, the move marked a dramatic change in their quality of life, and the memories remain vivid"... (Preface)

"This booklet contains extracts from 46 interviews which were gathered between 2000 and 2002, from Tonga areas on both sides of the river. The project was designed not just to give a voice to Tonga men and women, but
to train Tonga interviewers, so that they also framed the questions. The result is a moving collection of personal views and experiences. Older people recall the process of resettlement and its effects on their communities,
lifestyles and traditions. Zambian and Zimbabwean Tonga, of different ages, describe the challenges they face today. They reflect upon how far these are due to the upheaval of relocation, and how much also to the influence
of other cultures and beliefs, notably Christianity, and to wider economic and social forces.

Giving up fertile land on the river banks has had major repercussions. “lf fields could be carried, ” said one narrator, “we would have carried them. ” Others speak of the deep sense of loss they felt at leaving behind the shrines
and graves of their ancestors. Yet despite the anger and disappointment in these accounts, they are also full of ideas for moving forward, and of positive hopes for the future. The Tonga want to tell their stories, and they wish
others to understand what they have been through. They know all too well how complex the impact of resettlement is onfamilies and communities, on their culture and their resources. Their experiences can contribute to greater
awareness and understanding of the many different ways the resettled have to changeand adapt to new environments".

This booklet was published by Panos Southern Africa in 2005 and compiled and written by Elisabeth Thomson, then curator of the BaTonga Museum, Binga, Zimbabwe, and Olivia Bennett Panos of the Oral Testimony Programme (OTP), with help from Mercy Khozi, Duncan Millar and Siobhan Warrington. David Mainza produced the Ci-Tonga
version. Editing was undertaken by Sebastian Mainza, who edited the Ci-Tonga version, and Prof. Fackson Banda, Simon Mulumbi and Maambo Malawo of Panos Southern Africa who efficiently edited the final copy, coordinated Ci-Tonga translations and supervised the printing process.

The project was funded primarily by the Department for International Development UK, with additional support from NORAD and Sida.

Mercy Khozi and Penny Yon coordinated the interviewing teams in Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively. Interviewers were Isaac Mumpande, Beauty Zimbili, Leonard Mudimba, Ellen Mangoro and Mathias Munsaka in Zimbabwe; and David Mainza, Crodia Syabbalo, Nkombo Kalima, Jacob Muchimba and Lubobya Mooya in Zambia.

Panos Institute Southern Africa is an independent, regional information and communication organisation that seeks to cultivate an enabling environment for marginalised people to participate actively in informed and inclusive
public and policy debates and decision making processes by generating information and creating effective communication channels.

With help from the BaTonga Museum, Binga, Zimbabwe; and Kunzwana Trust, Harare, Zimbabwe.

ISBN: 9982-844-08-3

read more: http://www.kunzwana.net/content/focus-tonga-ngoma-buntibe-music#attachments