TUCKED away in the serene environs of Harleigh Farm, 15km from Rusape are two magnificent ancient monuments, Zvipadze and Chitekete.
The two monuments are managed by the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ).
Zvipadze is a sacred burial place of the famous Maungwe chiefs of the17th to 19th Centuries.
A visit to the sites is breathtaking.
Chitekete is a fortified village, more or less oval, built among rocks and dominated by an enormous, overhanging boulder which is the most striking feature of the three granite outcrops around which the village is built.
The outcrop containing this boulder is strongly fortified with strong walling and forms what might almost be termed a citadel.
The lesser outcrops are protected by some stone walls along the perimeter of the outer of the two ditches which surround much of the site.
The whole site is enclosed by a wall and a causewayed ditch now dry, but having its eastern end opening in a marshy area fed by a stream which is one of the tributaries of the Chitora River.
There is also a subsidiary ditch defending the citadel. These ditches, with the trees growing along them, form a picturesque setting to the site.
There are no ditches on the side facing the stream, with the walls as a sufficient defence.
The defensive ditches were built perhaps as late as the early 19th Century and in response to the political environment which led to the overthrow of Rozvi power.
The stones are undressed blocks of granite carefully fitted together.
Numerous hut circles and granary bases of stone can be seen both on and among the boulders and also within the area enclosed by the ditches.
Granary foundations can even be seen on the most inaccessible parts of the site, where they can only be reached by ladder.
The two sites, Zvipadze and Chitekete, are believed to have been constructed between the 17th and 18th Centuries, and what is clear is that when Chitekete was first occupied, Zvipadze was already a thing of the past.
At the end of the 19th Century, this site was a burial ground for the earliest Makoni ancestors.
In instances, huts over the burial sites are still visible.
The first Makonito be buried there was a brother of the first Chipunza and founder of the Makoni Chieftaincy.
The monuments depict a variety of cultural and natural phenomena that embody the history of man in Zimbabwe and his interaction with the environment.
They serve as tangible reminders of historical events and figures, helping to preserve our cultural heritage for future generations.
“The names Chipunza and Makoni are now dynastic titles. Chitekete is known to the Ungwe as the first settlement of the Ungwe in the area, said NMMZ eastern region communications officer, Mr Lloyd Makonya.
“When the Ungwe occupied the area, they claim to have found a primitive people in occupation, the Dziwa people, to whom they taught the use of fire and a number of the Ungwe people claim Dziwa ancestry today.
“Legend has it that the original Ungwe group are from the north and they settled among the people of the Nyanga culture, hence the earliest settlements point to Nyanga tradition.
“Chitekete Monument is no longer a village, but a burial ground for Chitekete and his family and descendants. Burials are done in walled crevices on the kopje, with places of offerings for propitiation ceremonies. The descendants of Chitekete still bring offerings for their ancestral spirits,” said Mr Makonya.