The spirit medium that inspired Mugabe
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Nehanda, the Shona spirit medium that inspired Mugabe

Nehanda Nyakasikana was a Shona spirit medium who led the fight against the British colonisers in what is now Zimbabwe in the 19th Century.

She took her name from the spirit which possessed her and it gave her great status among her people.

She became a spiritual, political and military leader of the Shona people.

She refused to convert to Christianity when she was sentenced to death by the British, promising her bones would rise up and continue the fight.

Nehanda Nyakasikana is the next of a new eight-part series, African Women who Changed the World, which aims to shed light on great African women whose stories deserve to be heard.

This BBC Africa series has been produced using historical and iconographic research, but includes artistic interpretation.

Illustrations: George Wafula

Producer and editor: Kat Hawkins

Extra images: Getty Images

  • 17 Oct 2018
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