We Don’t Have Nehanda’s Skull – The UK

The United Kingdom (UK) has denied having the skull of Mbuya Charwe, the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda contrary to claims by Zimbabwe.

Unveiling Mbuya Charwe (Nehanda)’s statue in Harare earlier this week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that Zimbabwe was engaging the UK to repatriate the skull of the first Chimurenga heroine.

Other skulls that are reportedly in the UK’s museums where they are displayed as trophies of war belong to Sekuru Kaguvi, Chingaira Makoni, Chinengundu, Mashayamombe, Mapondera, Mashonganyika and Chitekedza Chiwashira.

However, Josephine Higgins, the Communications Manager of the Natural History Museum in London Friday said the UK had no Nehanda’s skull. Higgins said:

_Westminster Abbey does not have and has never had the remains of Mbuya Nehanda, or any other Zimbabweans on display, or in-store._

_Media reports which claim that we do are inaccurate, and not based upon any evidence._

_We have had previous discussion with Zimbabwean officials on this subject but after extensive research have found no evidence to suggest that remains of Mbuya Nehanda or others associated with the First Chimurenga, either in terms of names or origins, are held or have ever been held by the museum._

_We have shared all the information we have with the authorities in Zimbabwe and are continuing discussions with the Zimbabwean government._

This comes after an anonymous official at the UK Embassy in Harare told The Herald this week that there are some negotiations currently underway over the repatriation of Nehanda’s skull. The official allegedly said:

_The UK welcomes ongoing conversations between the museum and the Government of Zimbabwe on the issue of repatriation of remains of Zimbabwean origin._

It is alleged that Neganda was hanged by colonial masters who proceeded to behead her, along with other local leaders, for ordering the killing of one of the members of the British South Africa Company.

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