The legendary tree from where Mbuya Nehanda is believed to have been hanged in 1898 was yesterday knocked down by a truck.
Social commentators yesterday interpreted the fall of the tree at the intersection of Sam Nujoma Street and Josiah Tongogara Avenue in Harare as signifying the beginning of a new era in Zimbabwean politics.
Others said it was a bad omen.
Mbuya Nehanda is widely believed to be the greatest spirit medium of Zimbabwe having led the First Chimurenga and ordered the killing of Native Commissioner Henry Pollard in 1897 — a deed she paid for with her life.
Yesterday’s knocking down of the sacred tree comes as Zanu PF is meeting in Bulawayo for what they say is a crucial conference will set the tone for watershed elections, which the party wants held next year.
President of the Chief’s Council Fortune Charumbira said he was not aware the tree had fallen. He said if that had happened, it meant there were issues that needed to be addressed in the country.
“It has to do either with the one who hit the tree. He might have something around him. It may also mean bad things are happening or will happen in the country and that it may be an expression that one or two things have to be corrected,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer John Makumbe said: “It is the fall of a great person.
“The fact that it’s happening when Zanu PF is holding its Bulawayo meeting may actually signify the political change that is coming into the nation. We are going to have major changes in 2012 and they will be positive for the country although that will start with the negative,” said Makumbe.
Professor Gordon Chavunduka said : “The implication of this is that we are likely to get the truth around the way she died. It has a link with the current political set-up and from this, the truth is now going to come out.”
Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said: “As you are probably aware, that is where Mbuya Nehanda was hanged by the colonial administration. It could be a prophetic event signifying the dawn of a new era.”