Biggest baobab tree in Tsholotsho still unrecorded

AN organisation that spearheads the uplifting of the Khoisan community in Zimbabwe, Tsoro-o-tso San Development Trust, is pushing for the baobab tree at Tjitatjawa (Tshitatshawa) called mbu-u-dema in Tsholotsho to be declared a heritage site.


Tsoro-o-tso-San Development Trust director Davy Ndlovu said the baobab tree in question could be the biggest in the country with a circumference of 25m. The popular baobab tree in Victoria Falls is about 17m in circumference.

Ndlovu said they had approached the Department of Museums and Monuments to have the baobab tree declared a heritage site, but an official informed them that there was a problem with trees being declared heritage sites or monuments as they grow and eventually die.

He said the official, however, indicated that their request would be sent to Harare for consideration.

“We have this baobab in Tsholotsho, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, tree in Zimbabwe,” Ndlovu said.

“There are many stories about this giant tree, which is thought to be hundreds of years old. According to elders in our village who first settled in the area, their grandparents used to tell them that they found the tree as it is today when they first arrived in the area more than 100 years ago.

“The tree was first discovered by the San people as they moved about in search of food during the early 1900s immediately after the fall of the Ndebele State in 1894,” Ndlovu said.

He said the tree was used as meeting place by the San elders and also as a place where traditional healing rituals were performed.

The late Gogo Motshwa Moyo, who was born in 1917 when the San were still practicing their nomadic lifestyle, recently said the mbu-u-dema was also used back then as a natural campus and they got their sense of direction from.

Gogo Moyo also said the tree also provided spiritual connection between humans and the spirit world.

Many healing activities and festivities took place at this giant tree throughout the year.

Ndlovu said some people had tried to chop the tree in the past, but claimed that it was now protected by a swarm of bees that chases people with intentions of vandalising it.

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