The Shona people are fragmented hordes of Bantu-speaking ethnolinguistic group found predominantly in Zimbabwe, Botswana and southern Mozambique in Southern Africa and bordering South Africa. They are said to be the descendants of the Mutapa or Monomutapa Empire who built the Great Zimbabwe and hundreds of other stone walled sites in Zimbabwe. Shona with their  numerical strength of about 11 million people constitute the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe representing over 80% of the population.
                              Yound Shona girl. By simonforster

The Shona are known internationally for their stone sculpture and Mbira (the name of both the instrument and the music), a mystical music which has been played for a thousand years by certain tribes of the Shona people. Their stone carvings date back to the time of Great Zimbabwe which began in the 11th century by the Shona peoples' Bantu-speaking ancestors.

Shona Sculpture (Serpentine) "Mother Playing with Baby".   By James Mutambika, Zimbabwe

The Shona people speak Shona language and are classified as Western Shona (Bakalanga) and eastern Shona. The only western Shona group, the Bakalanga, are found in South western Zimbabwe and Botswana. The bakalanga-Banyai groups are:
Badhalaunda/batalaote (they lived in Madzilogwe, Mazhoubgwe, up to Zhozhobgwe)
BaNambya (can be found in Hwange up to Gweta)
BaLilima (BaWombe; Bayela - are in the central district with Baperi)
Baperi (live together with BaLilima as mentioned above)
The eastern shona groups are:

                                   Dancing shona girls. By Maya Rene

Ezekia Matshobana contends that the Shona consisted and still consists to this day of two distinct families – the original Bantu occupants of the country and the conquerors -each which has split up into a multiplicity of tribes, it can easily be argued that such a distinction is now blurred. The use of the term ‘Shona’, however, to encompass the various identities of the people living in Zimbabwe, parts of Mozambique, stretching to the Zambezi River in the North and the Indian Ocean in the East is problematic.

Shona Mbira playing group Mawungira Enharira has sparked interest in traditional Shona culture

The derivation of the term "Shona" itself is quite uncertain also. Some try to argue that it was first used by the Ndebele as a derogatory name for the people they had defeated and particularly the Rozvi. From the analysis of Tabona Shoko, it derives from the designation svina which means ‘dirty’ introduced by the Ndebele to scold Shona captives. He further notes that the Shona were also derogatorily called ‘Holis’ which means ‘captives’, ‘bush draggers’, and ‘Shabi’, ‘peddlars’. Some, however, argue that the term ‘Shona’ originates from the Ndebele word abetshona meaning ‘those from over there’. Among the Northern and Eastern Shona the only name which appeared common to them was ‘Karanga’.
Whatever the origins of term ‘Shona’ were, what seems clear is that the Shona at first disliked it. Generally, the Shona tended to classify themselves by their chiefdoms and apparently only began to use the term ‘Shona’ for themselves sometime after 1890. Terence Ranger captures well the sense of identity among the Shona speakers at that time when he argues,
"There certainly existed a very wide zone of common culture, which
scholars have come to call ‘Shona’, but in the 19th Century the people
who shared that common culture did not feel themselves to be part of a
single ‘Shona’ identity. People defined themselves politically- as subjects
of a particular Chief- rather than linguistically, culturally or ethically."
Rujeko Dumbutshena belongs to the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe. While  the traditional life of Zimbabwe keeps her rooted in centuries of African culture, western education provides her with a global perspective.   She has been teaching and performing throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia since 1994 and is currently on faculty at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, teaching the fundamental aesthetics of neo traditional African movement. She was an original ensemble dancer in the hit musical FELA!   
Her teaching is inspired by her dance experience in FELA!, the rhythmic intricacies from her Zimbabwean dance traditions, the lineal symmetry of Guinea dance and the centering required for the dancers of the Congo. Last night she was in Prescott and taught a dance class. What a fun evening. 

 Central Shona country is the high plateau of Zimbabwe, with an elevation of 1,200 meters or more, a temperate climate, and an annual rainfall of 70 to 100 centimeters. The Zambezi Valley, in the north, is hotter and drier, as is the southwest. Few Shona now inhabit the eastern highlands, which are cool and wet. Generally, the colonial administration moved the majority of Shona away from the best farmland, into areas where the soils are sandy and thin and where the amount of rainfall is less favorable for agriculture.

Shona people of South-Eastern Africa speak Shona or chiShona. ChiShona is a Bantu language which belong to the larger niger-Congo language family. Shona is a principal language of Zimbabwe, along with Ndebele and the official business language, English. Shona is spoken by a large percentage of the people in Zimbabwe. Other countries that host Shona language speakers are Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique.
 In Guthrie's zonal classification of Bantu languages, zone S10 designates a dialect continuum of closely related varieties, including Shona proper, Manyika, Nambya, and Ndau, spoken in Zimbabwe and central Mozambique; Tawara and Tewe, found in Mozambique; and Ikalanga of Botswana and Western Zimbabwe.
According to Ethnologue, Shona comprising the Karanga, Zezuru, and Korekore dialects, is spoken by about 10.8 million people. Manyika and Ndau dialects of Shona, listed separately by Ethnologue, and are spoken by 1,025,000 and 2,380,000 people, respectively. The total figure of Shona speakers is then about 14.2 million people. Zulu is the second most widely spoken Bantu language with 10.3 million speakers according to Ethnologue.
Shona is a written standard language with an orthography and grammar that was codified during the early 20th century and fixed in the 1950s. The first novel in Shona, Solomon Mutswairo's Feso, was published in 1957. Shona is taught in the schools but is not the general medium of instruction in other subjects. It has a literature and is described through monolingual and bilingual dictionaries (chiefly Shona – English). Modern Shona is based on the dialect spoken by the Karanga people of Masvingo Province, the region around Great Zimbabwe, and Zezuru people of central and northern Zimbabwe. However, all Shona dialects are officially considered to be of equal significance and are taught in local schools.

Shona is used to refer to a standardised language based on the central dialects of the Shona region. Shona languages form a dialect continuum from the Kalahari desert in the west to the Indian ocean in the west and the Limpopo river in the south and the Zambezi in the north. While the languages are related, evolution and separateness over the past 1000 years has meant that mutual intelligibility is not always possible without a period of acculturation. Therefore central shona speakers have a difficult time understanding Kalanga speakers even though lexical sharing can be over 80% with some western Karanga dialects. In the same manner eastern dialects (Shanga) spoken by the Indian ocean are also very divergent. There are many dialect differences in Shona, but a standardized dialect is recognized. According to information from Ethnologue (when excluding S16 Kalanga):
Hwesa dialect
S14 Karanga dialect (Chikaranga). Spoken in southern Zimbabwe, near Masvingo.
Subdialects: Duma, Jena, Mhari (Mari), Ngova, Venda (not the Venda language), Nyubi(spoken in Matabeleland at the beginning of the colonial period is now extinct), Govera.
S12 Zezuru dialect (Chizezuru, Bazezuru, Bazuzura, Mazizuru, Vazezuru, Wazezuru). Spoken in Mashonaland and central Zimbabwe, near Harare. The standard language.
Subdialects: Shawasha, Gova, Mbire, Tsunga, Kachikwakwa, Harava, Nohwe, Njanja, Nobvu, Kwazvimba (Zimba).
S11 Korekore dialect (Northern Shona, Goba, Gova, Shangwe). Spoken in northern Zimbabwe, near Mvurwi.
Subdialects: Budya, Gova, Tande, Tavara, Nyongwe, Pfunde, Shan Gwe.
Languages with partial intelligibility with Shona, of which the speakers are considered to be ethnically Shona, are the S15 Ndau language, spoken in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and the S13 Manyika language, spoken in eastern Zimbabwe, near Mutare. Ndau literacy material has been introduced into primary schools.
Maho (2009) recognizes Korekore, Zezuru, Manyika, Karanga, and Ndau as distinct languages within the Shona cluster, with Kalanga being more divergent

                                        Shona woman
The history of the Shona can be traced back to the magnificent civilisation on the Great Plateau south of the Zambezi River. This Plateau is the scene of much of the Shona people’s history over the last thousand years. Tonnes of historic evidence at Great Zimbabwe suggest that the ancestors of the modern day Shona are the ones who built this site and hundreds of other stone walled sites in Zimbabwe. It is, however, this history which the colonial regime, bent on subjugating Africans, tried by all means to obliterate.

                            Shona people

Reaching the site of Great Zimbabwe on the eve of colonisation, European explorers were stunned by the immense ruins. It was almost impossible for them to believe how the black African ancestors of the people they were about to colonize and exploit could have had such skill and knowledge to build such an out of this world beauty. It had now been 200 or so years since the site had been abandoned. The first investigator to arrive at the site was Karl Mauch, a German explorer, in 1871.
On seeing the ruins, Mauch made a quick conclusion that Great Zimbabwe, whether or not it was Ophir, was most certainly not the handiwork of Africans.
"I do not think that I am far wrong, so he wrote, if I suppose that the ruin
on the hill is a copy of Solomon’s Temple or Mount Moriah and the
building in the plain a copy of the palace where the Queen of Sheba lived
during her visit to Solomon […] a civilised nation (implying white) must
once have lived there."
Shona girls. Circa 1890

A look at the style of the stonework revealed that it was too sophisticated and the culture too advanced. It looked to Mauch to have been the result of Phoenician or Israelite settlers. A sample of the wood he took from the lintel happened to bolster his rapid assessment for it smelled like his pencil. Both appeared to come from cedar and since cedar wood is found in Lebanon, Mauch saw it thus worthy to conclude that Great Zimbabwe was the home of the Queen of Sheba. Deeply imbued with racist attitudes as can easily be seen, Mauch could not credit black Africans with the intellectual ability to construct such an amazing site.
In the eyes of Henry Ridder Haggard, whose best-selling novel King Solomon’s Mines fired European imagination with African themes on the eve of the imperialist expansion, Mauch had found in the far
interior a ruined city he believed to be Ophir of the Bible. To Mauch, Great Zimbabwe symbolised both the ancient mysteries and the exciting potential of the ‘dark’ continent. On learning this, the salivating landgrabbers ensured that they would reach this interior and benefit themselves with its promise of gold, diamonds and other valuables.

Several other visitors followed in the footsteps of Mauch and among them was W.G. Neal of the Ancient Ruins Company which had been created in 1895 by the British colonial regime. With the approval of Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902), founder of the British South Africa Company (BSAC) and whose aim was to distort the origins of Zimbabwe, W. Neal pillaged Great Zimbabwe and other Iron Age Sites looting away the gold and other precious materials, throwing away what appeared to be of no use to him like pottery shards, pots and clay figures.
What, however, may be termed the first official archaeological dig at the site was done by a British, James Theodore Bent in 1891. Being financed also by Cecil Rhodes, Bent threw away clay and metal artifacts
including Persian and Arab trade beads as insignificant. Bent’s conclusions were no different from those of his predecessors since Rhodes and most European settlers maintained that native Africans could never have constructed Great Zimbabwe. In his book, Ruined Cities of Mashonaland (1892), Bent concluded that the items found within Great Zimbabwe complex proved that the civilisation was not built by local Africans. If J.T Bent was an officially well-trained archaeologist then one might say that he was a victim of circumstances because his conclusion seems not to go hand-in-hand with his profession. The colonial mentality that prevailed at the time that the African continent had no history, no sophistication, its people and tribes unchanging, unable to develop and culturally barren could have prevailed on him also.
A few other Europeans who appeared to hold a different view from the colonial one were accused of being unpatriotic or worse, in secret conspiracy with black terrorists intent on overthrowing a well ordered colonial society and so were either imprisoned or deported. One particular dissent voice was that of David Randall-McIver, an Egyptologist.
In 1905 Randall-McIver managed to uncover artifacts which were very similar to the ones which were being used by the Karanga people living in the vicinity. The continuity of these artifacts suggested to him that the site had been built by people whose culture was similar. Apart from scoring a great milestone with his conclusion as regards the continuity of the artifacts, Randall-McIver managed also to demonstrate that the Arab and Persian beads were not older than the 14th or 15th Century and thus could not be dated back to the Biblical times and King Solomon.
Yet another argument he advanced was that the stonework was not at all Arabic for it was curved and not arranged in geometric or symmetrical patterns. Subsequent research and digs on the site by J.F. Shofield in 1926 and Getrude Caton-Thompson in 1929 confirmed David Randall- MacIver’s conclusions.
Despite, however, the mounting detailed evidence and archaeological testimony which was offered by this second group of archaeologists, most European settlers in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) adamantly held on to their old view. To ensure that the findings of this second school of archaeologists received no public recognition, the Rhodesian Front began to censor all books and any information on Great Zimbabwe from 1965 till independence in 1980.9 It was openly an apartheid kind of system aimed at preventing Africans from gaining power. Kiami Nehusi was thus right to say,
"[…] the fundamental form of enslavement of Africans by Arabs and
Europeans during the MAAFA: the holocaust of Africans, has not been
physical enslavement, but mental enslavement."

The term ‘Maafa’ is derived from a Kiswahili word meaning disaster, terrible occurrence or great tragedy. The term is known also as African holocaust and today has collectively been used to refer to the 500 years of the suffering of African peoples through slavery, imperialism, colonialism, oppression, invasions and exploitation. The legacy of such enslavement still manifests itself in the socio-economic status of Africans
As has been noted earlier on, those archaeologists who tried to be vocal on the native construction of Great Zimbabwe were faced either with imprisonment or deportation. Among the deported victims was Peter S.
Garlake, a noted archaeologist. Natives also who tried to perpetuate the same view were kicked out of their jobs and locals were not allowed to use the site for any traditional ceremony.
Prior, however, to the arrival of European explorers, missionaries and settlers the Great Plateau had since witnessed the influx of many tribal groups. Following the Bantu migrations from the original Bantu homeland north of the Great Basin of the Congo River and its tributaries, the Bantu ancestors of the Shona were the first occupants of the Great Zimbabwe site. Ezekia Matshobana informs us that between 500 and 1000A.D, the Gokomere, a Bantu group, enslaved and absorbed San groups who were in the area and as early as the 11th Century, some foundations and stonework could be visible at Great Zimbabwe and the settlement generally regarded as the burgeoning Shona society.
Adding more light on this burgeoning Shona society, David N. Beach informs us that the Great Zimbabwe state arose out of the Gumanye culture, the second of the two Shona cultures to have settled on the Southern half of the Great Plateau. South-west of the Plateau was the Leopard’s Kopje culture after about 940A.D. In the central Plateau was the Harare culture which flourished from about 1150-80A.D around the Hunyani and Umfuli Valleys. Further to the North and North-west was the Musengezi culture which dates from 1210A.D. These cultures on the Plateau, as Beach further explains, were closely associated with the Eiland and Toupye cultures located beyond the Limpopo and towards the Kalahari. As a result of their close relatedness seen in their pottery styles and being so distinct from their contemporaries, these six cultures can
be grouped together into a unit named ‘Kutama’ from the Shona word for ‘migrate’. Linking also all the cultures together was the fact that they were Bantu in origin. As with the Gumanye culture, Beach informs us that its villages were found across the Southern part of the Plateau from the middle of Mtilikwe River to the Lundi River. It is one of the dynasties of these Gumanye people which is believed to have managed to build up enough power to dominate trade between the South-western goldfields of the Leopard’s Kopje people and the coast and this led to the foundation of the Great Zimbabwe state.
These Bantu ancestors of the Shona who occupied Great Zimbabwe were all embodied under the umbrella name ‘Hungwe’. Between 1000 and 1050A.D, the Mbire, from across the Zambezi River, took over land from the Hungwe and this invasion marked the beginning of Mbire dynasty which is commonly known as Mutapa Empire. This great empire also known as Monomutapa Empire covered most parts of today’s Zimbabwe and incorporated northern parts of South Africa and considerable stretches of Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. It was ruled by powerful Kings whose wealth was based on huge herds of cattle and whose trade relations extended from neighbouring kingdoms all the way to Arabia and distant Asia. Great Zimbabwe, however, served as the headquarters of the Monomutapa Empire and its hilltop acropolis came to serve not only as a fortress but a shrine for the worship of Mwari, the pre-eminent Shona deity.
Kingdoms rise and fall, so does the history of humanity testify. The Monomutapa Empire was no excerption. By around 1500A.D the authority of this powerful empire began to wane. Concrete reasons for this decline cannot be established with accuracy but historians generally believe that the mere presence of so many peoples at Great Zimbabwe could have seriously affected the ability of this site to supply crops, firewood,
game and all other necessities of life. Power struggles also among the Mbire could have resulted in the fall of the empire and the founding of the Rozvi Empire in the South-west.
Under the Rozvi Empire, peace and prosperity reigned over the centres of Dhlo-Dhlo, Khami and Great Zimbabwe itself during the two centuries which followed. The Rozvi Empire, however, failed to have complete control over those areas which had formerly been under the Monomutapa Empire. Following the political turmoil in the Transvaal and Natal which had been ignited by the ruthless rule of Shaka, the
Rozvi Empire was brought to an end by the Matebeles under Mzilikazi in the mid 19th Century. The fall of the Rozvi Empire exacerbated the migrations which had long started during even the period of the Mutapa
Empire itself. The Rozvi emigrated westwards abandoning their centre and grass began to grow over the ancient walls of Great Zimbabwe. As the Shona dynasties scattered over a large area and in contrasting
environments; they had a language and so many other cultural traits in common. Though, however, they appeared to have many cultural traits in common, these Shona dynasties were not conscious of a cultural
identity. Autonomous as they had become, they also conceived nothing of a political identity save only local chieftaincy group. David N. Beach says that even in the times past, when powerful states had emerged, these states had never pulled all their subjects together into self-conscious identities nor had they manipulated concepts of group identity in a manner which left a lasting ethnic legacy.
What the foregoing observation brings to light is that the numerous groups of the Shona were not and had never been clustered together in self-conscious ethnicities such as are implied today by the terms ‘Manyika’; ‘Karanga’; ‘Zezuru’; ‘Korekore’ and ‘Ndau’. Though these ethnic terms were sure in existence prior to the colonial era, each had arisen in a different way and with different connotations. With the coming of the colonial administration, however, bent on the system of divide and rule, tribalism was incited and the tribal differences magnified through the distortion of these ethnic terms.
A closer analysis shows that the terms ‘Karanga/Kalanga and Manyika’ had a long recorded history while ‘Korekore and Zezuru’ had a topographical connotation. ‘Ndau’ on the other hand appears to have had
been a slang term invented by the raiding enemy of these Ndau people.

Shona Karanga
The term ‘Karanga’ as noted by Terence Ranger suffered a shift both of location and meaning. With the moving inland of the Portuguese in the 16th Century this historic term was used to refer to the ruling lineages of the Northern and Eastern Shona speakers whom they encountered.
When the British came, this term was, however, shifted to refer to the first Shona speakers they had encountered in the 19th Century. Those they encountered in the South-west of the Plateau they named ‘Kalanga’ while those they met in the Southern Plateau were named ‘Karanga’. In the past, however, when the Great Zimbabwe was still flourishing the term ‘Karanga’ was almost synonymous with Monomutapa.
Today the term ‘Karanga’ refers not only to ethnic identity but also to the dialect spoken by part of the Shona people. According to Tabona Shoko, the Karanga comprise approximately 30 percent of the
total Shona population in the present-day Zimbabwe, occupying an area between Gweru in the North-west, Bikita in the North-east, Chiredzi in the South-east and West Nicholson in the South-west. Shoko goes further to say that contemporary chiefdoms in this vast area of the Karanga are mainly a result of migrations and political alignments in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries.
While distinctive features of Karanga culture are remarkably visible, one can note also a similarity of some features to those of the Korekore, Manyika, Zezuru or even the Ndau, for example, in their burial customs. The fruit of early missionary work among the Karanga has been visible especially in the educational system, hence, a number of the Karanga have been quite prominent in elite circles of the Zimbabwean society. As for the Kalanga people, they have somewhat remained cut off from the rest of the Shona peoples. Exacerbating their being cut off was the settlement of the Ndebele people between them and the rest of the Shona peoples. The Kalanga have thus come to develop a distinct language and culture from the rest of the Shona-speaking peoples.

Shona Manyika
As indicated already, the term ‘Manyika’ also had a long recorded history. Back in the 16th Century the Portuguese reported the existence of a chiefly territory called Manyika. They thus called the large region around the Manyika Chieftaincy, Manicaland.22 When the British came in the 19th Century, they also picked up this historic term and applied it to almost all the inhabitants of that area. Most people, however, living in this region never thought of themselves as related in any way to the Manyika Chieftaincy.
Prior to the existence of this extended Manyika identity, the concept ‘Manyika’ can be said to have been used in three different ways. H. H. K. Bhila tells us that the original historical meaning of Manyika is the people of Chief or King Mutasa. This territory lies North and Northwest of the modern day Mutare city. The Western side bordering Chief Mutasa’s kingdom was his long time enemy and competitor for land, cattle, women and slaves: Makoni, who headed the Maungwe kingdom. As a result of the wars between these rivals the boundaries of the two kingdoms often shifted, thus the best definition of traditional Manyika,
according to Bhila, was political rather than geographical. Manyika in this case, encompassed all those who at any one time acknowledged the authority of Mutasa and nobody else.
Moving to the second sense in which the term ‘Manyika’ was used, the Portuguese in the later 19th Century developed and propagated this concept for themselves. A claim was made by them that the then reigning Mutasa Chief had made a voluntary submission to them in 1876.24 They thus utilised this as a basis to expand the area of Manyika on their maps. At the end of it, they had an enormous territory under their influence. As evidenced from the writings of Bhila,
"On a Portuguese map of 1887 […] its boundaries extended along the
Zambezi from Shupanga to near Tete, then South-west along the Mazoe
and South by the Sabi river valley to its junction with the Odzi River,
then along the Musapa and Buzi Rivers to the mouth of the Pungwe.
This enormous size of Manyika was evidently fixed by political and
commercial considerations. The Mazoe river valley was included because
of rumours of abundant alluvial gold. The kingdom of Manyika over
which the Manyika rulers […] exercised authority […] was a much smaller
The Maungwe kingdom which had been once outside the Manyika territory came to be encompassed also on this Portuguese map. This was, however, a merely notional and paper definition for the Makoni chiefs
continued to exercise their autonomous sovereignty. To avoid clashes, as noted by T. Ranger, the Portuguese made treaties with these Makoni chiefs.
The coming of the British, as has been earlier noted, ushered another sense of Manyikahood. The BSAC in its effort to gain control of the Pungwe River route, the main water way to and from Beira, imposed a treaty on Mutasa on 14 September 1890.27 As is evidently clear, this move was a counter measure to the Portuguese claims and the condition of the treaty was that no one could possess land in Manyika without the
consent of the BSAC. With the signing of this treaty, the BSAC created its own ‘Greater Manyika’, the Western boundaries lying deep inside
Portuguese territory. Areas like Maungwe and Mazoe were, however, left out of this new draft of the BSAC. Having ensured that the Company’s frontiers had been fixed, the BSAC went on to break the Old Manyika kingdom between two administrative districts of Umtali and Inyanga. The colonial administration
took upon itself the task of developing a minimalist definition of Manyikahood. Only Mutasa’s people and only those in his territory were defined as Manyika. Language also became a special characterisation of
these people for the Manyika have a dialect different from other Mashonas.
The Umtali Native Commissioner Hulley in pursuit of the same minimalist understanding of Manyikahood argued that the three Chiefs in the district, Mutasa, Marange and Zimunya were of quite distinct origins even though there was a popular tendency to refer to his district as Manicaland.
In the case of the Maungwe, the Native Department was concerned to emphasize the distinction between people of that region and the Manyika ones. One thing quite certain was that tribally, linguistically and culturally the people of Maungwe could not in any way be seen as one with the Manyika of Mutasa. It was only much later in the 1930s that a diffused sense of Manyikahood was reached and the Maungwe too have generally come to accept being labelled as members of the wide Manyika identity. Some, however, still vehemently deny any links with this Manyika identity.

Shona Korekore
The term ‘Korekore’ is attested to have had a topographical connection. According to M. Bourdillon, following developments at Great Zimbabwe in the mid 15th Century, large migrations of the Shona peoples moved to the Northern edge of the Plateau and spread East and West to cover what is now Korekore country. Though the term ‘Korekore’ was officially applied to these people at a much later date, it had generally been used as referring to the people of the North and North-west of the Plateau.
In this present day a few other chiefdoms have come to settle among the Korekore. Living North-east of the Korekore are the Tavara, the autochthonous people who lived in the Zambezi Valley before the Korekore moved down from the Plateau. Prior to the movement of the Korekore from the Plateau, the Tavara saw themselves under the influence of these Shona people hence they fled East and South away from these new invaders. Today the division between the Korekore and the Tavara correspond roughly with the boundary between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Though a bigger number could have moved into Mozambique, some elements of the Tavara people can, however, still be noted on the Zimbabwean side. Such a boundary is similar to what we find when we look at their cultures, the Tavara have a distinctive kinship system which gives less emphasis to the male line than do other Shona systems. When the Korekore are compared with the Zezuru, little can be said of a cultural difference between them.

Shona Zezuru
More like the term ‘Korekore’, the term ‘Zezuru’ also did not originally correspond to any clearly defined 20th Century tribal reality but simply had a topographical connection. While the Korekore were generally referred to as the people of the North and North-west, people around the head of the Mazoe Valley were referred to as ‘Zezuru’. Thus put side by side, the terms could simply be conceived as the equivalent of ‘Northerner’ and ‘Highlander’ rather than ethnic or tribal categorizations. According to D. N. Beach, the term ‘Zezuru’ meant people who live in a high area, but the area in which it was used was only high in relation to the Mazoe and other valleys. He further contends that it is difficult to be certain which groups originally used the term because it was later used by linguists to denote a complete dialect cluster which has since led to many peoples calling themselves ‘Zezuru’ who would not have done so a century ago.
For the Zezuru to be found where they are today, it was a result of the numerous movements of groups of people who were breaking off from larger chiefdoms and coming to settle in this central Shona country. By the beginning of the 19th Century, as M. Bourdillon observes, much of the central Plateau was becoming settled and most of the modern chiefdoms had been established. As regards the political structure of these people, they comprised a hotchpotch of chiefly dynasties with a variety of histories but united by geographical propinquity and a common culture.
Up till this day, the Zezuru peoples are made up of independent chiefdoms. Apart from being united by geographical propinquity and culture, they have a language in common and some of the greater religious cults which spread their influence beyond tribal boundaries. Having the capital city of Zimbabwe: Harare, in their midst, much of their material lifestyle has been made to look a bit more advanced when compared to other peoples in the remoter parts of the country.

Shona Ndau
When it comes to the term ‘Ndau’, there is no clear cut information as regards its origin. David Beach on one hand would like us to understand that it was a derogatory nickname given to the peoples of the Eastern
frontier by the raiding Gaza Nguni of the mid-19th Century. Elizabeth MacGonagle argues almost along the same line with Beach when she says that Ndau became a nickname used by others in the 19th Century to
describe the people who said Ndau-we Ndau-we as their customary greeting when they entered a homestead. Ndau-we literally meant ‘we salute you!’ and such a greeting served as a sign of humbleness and respect.
On the other hand, however, we find that the term ‘Ndau’ can even be traced back to the 18th Century. The earliest reference to this term is apparently from a Portuguese document that mentions ‘Mujao’ traders who crossed the Save River in 1739 to trade gold for cloth at Inhambane to the South. Such a reference to ‘Mujao’ is said to be said to be similar to the Inhambane version of Ndau. Other references suggesting an earlier existence of the term can be found in the writings of both the Portuguese and the British. More like the other ethnic terms we have been looking at, it can also be argued that whatever the time the term originated, Ndau was not widely used to designate a specific group of the Shona people until the 19th Century.
When the Portuguese arrived in the 16th Century, they found that the dominant aristocracy in the Shona region of the Northern Zimbabwe Plateau was the Mutapa state. The influence of the Mutapa rulers covered also much of the Eastern region and further into Mozambique which was inhabited by the Ndau people. Hence, many of the states in the Ndau region such as Teve, Danda and Sanga relied on the Mutapa state for symbolic legitimacy and they all claimed along with Manica that the sons of the Mutapa ruler founded these States. When the Mutapa state began to fade away, States in the greater Ndau region began to craft their own political identities which lasted into the 19th Century. Though such distinct identities had emerged, a wider cultural identity based on a shared history and the Shona language permeated much of the Eastern
Just as they had done with the other Shona tribal groups, the colonial administration in the early 20th Century revitalised the Ndau political identities as ethnic markers in their quest to classify and sort out the tribes of the South-east Africa. Though today some speakers of Ndau would identify themselves as both Shona and Ndau, their ancestors would not have considered themselves as either Shona or Ndau before the 19th century but rather as Danda, Sanga or Teve. Today among the Ndau of Zimbabwe, being Shona is replaced
for the most part by a sense of being Ndau and even many of the Mozambicans who live in the wider Ndau region do not see themselves as being Shona even though linguists designate Ndau as a dialect of Shona
language. Culturally, it is easy to note that several long-standing, interdependent social structures and cultural practices have bound together Ndau communities over successive generations and across a vast region.
Though such structures and practises are not unique to the Ndau, certain myths and rituals have helped shape their identity.

There were some large stockaded villages prior to colonial settlement, but in some areas people lived in scattered family hamlets. The dominant settlement pattern is one of villages with homesteads spread out in lines next to agricultural land. The traditional homestead included a number of round, pole- and-mud huts with conical thatched roofs. These huts have largely been replaced by brick houses, roofed with zinc, sometimes in the traditional style of round huts.

Shona are primarily agricultural. Their main crop is maize, but they also grow millet, sorghum, rice, beans, manioc, peanuts, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes. They raise some cattle, sheep, and chickens. Women may supplement their income by selling pottery and handwoven baskets that serve primarily as utilitarian objects. Men may work as blacksmiths or carvers by commission. Although cows are milked, they are most often used for bride price. Cows are considered taboo for women, so men must do all of the milking and herding. Men also do some hunting and fishing, but neither contribute greatly to the food supply. Men and women both participate in farming.

             Shona woman pounding maize to make a staple food called Sadza

 Industrial Arts
 In the rural areas everyone is involved in agriculture and there are no full-time specialists. In the past there was extensive iron and gold smelting, but all the surface gold has now been mined, and superior iron is now obtained from modern plants. One still finds blacksmiths in many villages, however. Traditional crafts of basketwork and pottery are still widespread. One now finds carpenters, builders, tailors, and other semiskilled specialists in many rural areas. Women engage in sewing and knitting, now often on a cooperative basis.

                         Shona girl carrying a water pot
 Although there is a long history of trade both between Shona groups and with outsiders, there were traditionally no markets in Shona settlements. These are now well established in cities, towns, and many rural centers of administration and trade. Even the remotest areas have access to some stores in which basic consumer goods are sold.

Division of Labor
 The division of labor in Shona society is primarily based on sex. Women make pottery, do all the domestic work, and perform many of the less strenuous agricultural tasks. Men are responsible for more strenuous (but less time-consuming) agricultural work, raising cattle, hunting, and ironwork. They are also involved in politics, which requires much sitting around and talking.
Certain men, such as a chief or a man with many daughters, can expect to have dependents do chores for them. People with good incomes from wages or salaries are now able to employ others to do some of their agricultural work.

Land Tenure
 Traditionally, every adult man was given land by his father or village headman. Land could not be bought or sold; it was returned to the community for redistribution when no longer in use. Now there is a scarcity of agricultural land in most communities, and land rights are carefully guarded and inherited. Land has acquired a commercial value. Grazing land, however, remains communal and, except in freehold commercial-farming areas, is habitually overused.

Marriage and Family
 Polygyny was traditionally preferred, but the cost of living, and especially of education, has made monogamy more common. The preferred form of marriage is virilocal, with the payment of bride-price, traditionally in cattle but now in cash and kind. Bride-service was formerly an alternative; in the remoter low-lying areas where cattle are not kept, it remains a prominent part of marriage transactions. Occasionally, a young girl may be pledged to a wealthy man against help in time of extreme hardship. Divorce, although discouraged, is common and usually involves the return of a proportion of the bride-price, depending on the duration of the marriage and the number of children born.
Traditionally, the sexual activities of women were strictly controlled, and girls were inspected for virginity at marriage. Such controls have largely broken down.

Domestic Unit
 In a polygynous marriage, the domestic unit was usually a wife and her children. Such a unit was usually allocated its own fields for subsistence purposes. A nuclear family is now the most common domestic unit.

 A man's status, wives, and possessions may be inherited by his brother or by his adult child. The inheritor takes responsibility for the family of the deceased. Adelphic succession results in the position of chieftainship rotating between houses descended from different wives of the founder of the dynasty. Adelphic inheritance sometimes poses problems in a modern family, when the deceased husband's kin take all the family property, leaving the wife destitute. A woman's personal property is inherited by her daughters.
Shona woman with a kalimba

 Infants are pampered and receive much personal attention until the age of 3 or 4, resulting in rapid development of motor and cognitive skills. Thereafter, they are strictly disciplined. Children receive much personal attention from peers and a number of adults in the extended family. Although importance is attached to authority structures, including authority based on age among siblings, this authority is diffused among a number of older persons. Now, with more emphasis on the elementary family, authority often rests entirely with the family head and is more open to abuse.

Sociopolitical Organization
Social Organization
 Shona societies are primarily organized around kinship. Relations between non-kin may be formalized in bond friendship, which imposes mutual obligations of hospitality, material assistance, and certain ritual services. Heavy tasks, such as thatching a house, clearing or plowing a field or reaping the harvest, may be performed by work parties, at which neighbors work and are rewarded with supplies of millet beer. Attendance at such parties imposes obligations of reciprocation.

Political Organizatio
. The principal Shona political unit was the chiefdom. A hereditary chief was ultimately responsible for the distribution of land, for appeasing the territorial spirit guardians, and for settling disputes. Larger chiefdoms were sometimes subdivided into wards, each with its ward headman. The details of distributing land and settling minor disputes were left to the village headmen, but in the colonial era his main function became keeping a tax register.

                             Shona elders

Although the traditional political authorities are still recognized in order to maintain Shona culture and values, they now have little power. Dispute settlement is now in the hands of elected presiding officers, and land distribution is controlled by government administrators.

Social Control
 Serious crimes, such as incest and homicide, used to be in the control of the guardian spirits, through their mediums. All other offenses were dealt with by a hierarchy of courts from the village level to the chiefly level. Now offenses are dealt with by a hierarchy of government-controlled courts, from the community level to the High Court.

 Warfare between the scattered Shona chiefdoms was rare. A number of Shona groups suffered from raids by Ndebele armies during the nineteenth century. Tensions between the Shona and the Ndebele have not yet been totally resolved.

                                          Shona girls
Religious belief
The indigenous religion of the Shona consists basically of a tripartite view of the cosmology. As noted by T. Shoko, there is in the first place, a belief in a ‘world above’ which is the abode of the Supreme Being or a Creator god known by different names, Mwari (“The Great One” or “He
who is”), Musikavanhu (“the One who created people”) or Nyadenga (“the Great Spirit
that lives above in heaven” or Owner of the Heavens), Dzivaguru (Great Pool) and quite a number of other names. The Shona does not believe God to have a shape or form such as a human being, but rather sees Him as a Spirit who inhabits heaven but who is also present on earth.
Secondly, there is the ‘human world’ which is the physical location here on earth. Constituting this world are
humans themselves, animals, rocks, rivers, forests and so many other natural features. It is believed that God made all and everything that exists and that He is somehow involved in the everyday lives of people. He is responsible for good but also for bad in the world, and can give happiness or bring sudden destruction to an individual. It is believed that a human being cannot really reason or argue with Mwari, and the concept of an individual living in a close personal relationship with God (as found in Christianity and Judaism) is therefore not accepted.
Thirdly, one finds belief in the ‘underworld’ also. Such an underworld is normally associated with the dead as well as with evil powers. Though these worlds may be conceived as tripartite, they are not separate entities as such, but are linked through ritual and conciliation. Spirits of different kinds, especially that of ancestors; pervade the worlds ‘above’, ‘below’ and ‘underground’. Human beings hold a central position in this Shona worldview.
Ancestral Spirits
Because God is regarded as being largely inaccessible to the individual, the vadzimu (ancestral spirits) plays a very important role in the Shona’s religious life. It is believed that when an individual dies, his or her spirit wanders until it is invited to return home and protect its descendants. This is done during the kurova guva
ceremony when beer is poured over the grave and the spirit asked by the relatives to “come home” and protect them. However, only an adult individual who has children of his own can become a family mudzimu (plural). The vadzimu are believed to live in an invisible community parallel to the community of the living, which enables them to watch over the living and be aware of everything that happens in the lives of their living relatives.
Two groups of vadzimu can be discerned – the mhondoro who are believed to be the spirits of the founders of the clan or tribe, and the vadzimu, believed to be the spirits of the individual’s deceased patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors. The mhonddoro or tribal spirits are therefore mostly concerned with the clan or tribe as a whole and would traditionally be approached in matters such as drought, warfare, succession of chiefs, etc.
The family vadzimu not only controls the lives of their descendants to a large extend, but also act as intermediaries between them and God on all matters concerning everyday life. Although the vadzimu helps and takes care of the family on the one hand, they can also be angered or offended easily, especially when certain customs, rituals or traditions are not kept by the living. They would then punish the offenders by causing sickness or other problems in their lives.
Evil Spirits
When a mudzimu becomes extremely angered or seeks revenge against someone, it is known as an ngozi or evil spirit. Typically, the spirit of someone who was murdered is believed to become an ngozi who would revenge his murder on the murderer and his or her family. Such an attack would be far fiercer and more savage than the punishment a mildly angered mudzimu would bestow on a descendant who offended it by neglecting a custom or ritual. The ngozi may attack its victim in various ways, causing serious
sickness, death or disaster in the family.
In such a case, the offended mudzimu or ngozi has to be appeased by first discovering the cause of its anger and then doing restitution by prayer and offerings (beer, animal sacrifice, etc.).
Wandering Spirits
Another type of spirit Shonas traditionally believe to have an effect on their lives, are the shavi (plural mashavi) or wandering spirits. These are foreign spirits from outside the family – spirits of strangers who died away from their homes (and who was therefore not granted the proper burial rites). The spirits of people (children or adults) who die without any descendants of their own also becomes mashavi who roams until they find a person from another family whom they can possess to express their ego and identity. Another kind of mashavi are called majukwa – the spirits of ancestors that no one remembers and honors any more.
Spirit Possession
The Shona believe that it is not enough for a spirit to merely exist, but that it is essential for a spirit to be known to exist, to be acknowledged and remembered by its descendants and to have a way of expressing its ego and identity. Although the family mudzimu is incorporated into the family vadzimo during the kurova guva
ceremony and thereafter venerated and honored as a member of the family, all spirits (vadzimu, ngozi and mashavi) manifest themselves through living persons by ways of possession.
When a spirit selects an individual to possess, the individual becomes ill or has strange dreams. This will continue until the person consults an n’anga (witchdoctor) who will reveal that a spirit that wants to possess him or her causes the sickness or dreams. If the individual accepts the spirit, a ceremony is prepared during which the spirit “comes out” and introduce itself and its intentions. If the person accepts and welcomes the
spirit, it would remain with him or her and the person would become the svikiro (medium) for that particular spirit.
In this way, the possessed individual could receive special powers or abilities that it did not have before. For instance, it is believed that each shavi has a particular skill or talent such as artwork, hunting or healing. When a person becomes the medium for a shavi skillful in healing, that person would then become a skillful healer.
It is believed that when a mudzimo wants to possess one of its family members, that individual will die if it refuses to accept the mudzimo. The chosen one may, however, ask the mudzimo to choose another of its descendants – something that he may or may not decide to do. If the chosen individual is a Christian, prayer to Jesus Christ and/or exorcism will free them from the power of the mudzimo or shavi.
Witches (Varoyi)
The traditional Shona religion does not provide for the existence of Satan or demons. However, varoyi (witches, plural muroyi) and the ghosts under their command are seen as responsible for a lot of evil that takes place in this world. Just as the talents or powers of a n’anga is passed on from one generation to another by a mudzimo, the evil powers of a muroyi is also passed on by ways of spirit possession. Unlike the n’anga, however, varoyi are almost always women.
It is said that a muroyi travels at night (usually naked on the back of a hyena) to visit the people she wants to harm. To bewitch someone, the muroyi first misleads the persons guarding family vadzimo to think she comes as a friend, and then proceed to cast spells to cause the victim to fall into a deep coma. She then sends her zvidhoma (ghosts) into the house to beat or even kill him or her.
Witches are believed to create ghosts to serve them by calling the spirits of children they have killed and forcing them to eat their potions. They are said to practice a variety of spells and magic, but always with an evil intend. For instance, their so-called “black medicine” causes permanent physical disorder instead of healing. Some of their rituals include the use of dead bodies and even cannibalism. Witches often meet in
covens to practice rituals together and keep “familiars” such as owls or snakes which they sometime send to carry evil to unsuspecting victims.
Witchdoctors (N’anga)
The Shona believe that, ages ago, there were families among them who had the ability to heal the sick and help those suffering from misfortune. These special abilities or gifts were passed on through the vadzimu from one generation of descendants to the next. This means that a chosen individual could become possessed by a mudzimo that will empower him or her with the talent of an n’anga (witchdoctor).

                            Shona nganga

The Shona recognizes several kinds of n’anga or witchdoctors. Firstly, there are herbalists who specialize in herbs that are sold to customers to treat a variety of illnesses or misfortunes. These n’anga are generally regarded as “good”, although they have the ability to cause harm by using poisonous herbs.
The second kind is bone-throwers or soothsayers that cast bones (literally a variety of “magical” items such as pieces of rock, bones, wood, hair, etc.) to reveal the unknown. They are consulted on a variety of issues, such as determining the cause of a sudden illness or crisis or advice when an important decision has to be made. If the problem is the result of witchcraft, the n’anga will use the bones to identify the witch or guilty
party. If the problem is caused by an angered mudzimo or avenging ngozi, the spirit must be placated by prayer and sacrifice.

The most feared n’anga are those magicians who could use magic to protect or harm people. They could for instance be hired to strike a house with lightning or inflict pain or death on an enemy. They can also be hired to cast spells to protect someone who is under attack from a mudzimo, shavi or the magic spells of another person.

 Most important ceremonies involve offerings of millet beer to the spirits concerned. Small libations are poured, and the remainder is consumed by the gathering, amid singing and dancing. Sacrifices may occasionally be offered to ancestors and territorial spirits but are regularly offered to Mwari. Spirits may also be honored with gifts of cloth or money, handed over to the medium.

 The most important musical instrument is the mbira. In African music, the mbira (also known as likembe, mbila, thumb piano, mbira huru, mbira njari, mbira nyunga nyunga, sansu, zanzu, karimbao, kalimba, or—between the late 1960s and early 1970s—sanza) is a musical instrument that consists of a wooden board with attached staggered metal keys. It is often fitted into a resonator. In Eastern and Southern Africa, there are many kinds of mbira, usually accompanied by the hosho. Among the Shona people there are three that are very popular (see Shona music). The mbira is usually classified as part of the lamellaphone family. It is also part of the idiophones family of musical instruments.

Both Dr. Joseph H. Howard, owner of the largest collection of drums and ancillary folk instruments in the Americas, and Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji argue that the mbira is thoroughly African, being found only in areas populated by Africans or their descendants.
Mbira came to prominence after the worldwide stage performance and recordings of Thomas Mapfumo, whose music is based on and includes the mbira; the work of Dumisani Maraire, who brought marimba and karimba music to the US Pacific Northwest; Ephat Mujuru, who was one of the pioneer teachers of mbira in the US; as well as the writings and recordings of Zimbabwean musicians made by Paul Berliner.
Mbira Dzavadzimu
In Shona music, the mbira dzavadzimu ("voice of the ancestors", national instrument of Zimbabwe) is a musical instrument that has been played by the Shona people of Zimbabwe for thousands of years. The mbira dzavadzimu is frequently played at religious ceremonies and social gatherings called mabira (sing. "bira").
Shona women playing mbira

A typical mbira dzavadzimu consists of between 22 and 28 keys constructed from hot- or cold-forged metal affixed to a hardwood soundboard (gwariva) in three different registers—two on the left, one on the right.
While playing, the little finger of the right hand is placed through a hole in the bottom right corner of the soundboard, stabilizing the instrument and leaving thumb and index finger of the right hand open to stroke the keys in the right register from above and below. The fingers of the left hand stabilize the left side of the instrument, with most fingers reaching behind the instrument. Both registers on the left side of the instrument are played with the left thumb and sometimes the left forefinger.
Bottle caps, shells, or other objects ("machachara") are often affixed to the soundboard to create a buzzing sound when the instrument is played. In a traditional setting, this sound is considered extremely important, as it is believed to attract the ancestral spirits.
During a public performance, an mbira dzavadzimu is frequently placed in a deze (calabash resonator) to amplify its sound.
The mbira dza vadzimu is very significant in Shona religion and culture, considered a sacred instrument by natives. It is usually played to facilitate communication with ancestral spirits. Within the Shona tradition, the mbira may be played with paired performers in which the kushaura, the caller, leads the performed piece as the kutsinhira, the responder, "interlocks" a subsequent part.
The Ritual is known as the Bira. During these all night ceremonies, people call upon the spirits to answer questions, the variations of notes in an Mbira piece aid the participants by going into a trance in which it is said in shona culture aid the spirits in taking over the participants body
Mbira music, like much of the sub-Saharan African music traditions is based on cross-rhythm. The following example is from the kushuara part of the traditional mbira piece "Nhema Mussasa." The left hand plays the ostinato "bass line," while the right hand plays the upper melody. The composite melody is an embellishment of the 3:2 cross-rhythm (also known as a hemiola)

                        Anna Mudeka, Shona mbira player

Tunings vary from family to family, referring to relative interval relationships and not to absolute pitches. The most common tuning is Nyamaropa, similar to the western Mixolydian mode. Names may also vary between different families. For example, Garikayi Tirikoti has developed a "mbira orchestra" that has seven different tunings, each starting on a different interval of the same seven-note scale, where it is possible to play all instruments in a single performance. The seven tunings that Garikayi uses are: Bangiza, Nyabango, Nhemamusasa, Chakwi, Taireva, Mahororo, and Mavembe (all of which are also names of traditional songs save for Mavembe and Nyabango). The closest to what is commonly named "Nyamaropa" is his "Nhemamusasa" tuning.
Historically, mbira tunings have not mapped exactly onto Western scales; it is not unusual for a seven-note sequence on a mbira to be "stretched" over a greater range of frequencies than a Western octave and for the intervals between notes to be different from those in a Western scale. Tunings have often been idiosyncratic with variations over time and from one player to another. A mbira key produces a rich complex of overtones that varies from one instrument to another depending on its maker's intentions and accidents of fabrication, such that some instruments simply sound better when some notes of a familiar tuning are pushed. With the increased popularity of the mbira in North America, Europe, and Japan in recent decades, Zimbabwean mbira makers have tended to tune their instruments more uniformly for export, but much variation is still found among mbira in their homeland.
Stella Chiweshe, Shona from Zimbabwe, a great Mbira player and awesome singer

Common names for tunings are
Nyamaropa (Mixolydian mode) (considered the oldest and most representative in Shona culture) It emphasizes togetherness through music, creating polyrhythms through having two Mbira players at once, having singing styles accompany an Mbira such as Huro (High emotional notes that are at the top of a singers range) & Mahon'era (a soft breathy voice at the bottom of the singers range) or both elements. A single Mbira is considered incomplete for a performance.
Dambatsoko (Ionian mode), played by the Mujuru family. The name refers to their ancestral burial grounds.
Dongonda, usually a Nyamaropa tuned mbira with the right side notes the same octave as the left (an octave lower than usual).
Katsanzaira (Dorian mode), the highest pitch of the traditional mbira tunings. The name means "the gentle rain before the storm hits".
Mavembe (also: Gandanga) (Phrygian mode), Sekuru Gora claims to have invented this tuning at a funeral ceremony. The mourners were singing a familiar song with an unfamiliar melody and he went outside the hut and tuned his mbira to match the vocal lines. Other mbira players dispute that he invented it.
Nemakonde (Phrygian mode), same musical relationship as the mavembe, but the nemakonde tuning is a very low pitched version.
Saungweme (flattened whole tone, approaching 7 tone equal temperament).

Mbira Nyunga Nyunga
Jeke (Jack) Tapera introduced the mbira nyunga nyunga in the 1960s from Tete province of Mozambique to Kwanongoma College of African music (now United College of Music) in Bulawayo. Two keys were then added to make fifteen (Chirimumimba, 2007), in two rows. The mbira nyunga nyunga is similar in construction to the mbira dzavadzimu, but has no hole in the soundboard. Key pitch radiates out from the center, rather than from left to right.
Zimbabwe's Dumisani Maraire originated mbira nyunga nyunga number notation. The upper row keys (from left) are keys 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 while the bottom row keys are notated as 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15. Maraire brought awareness of this instrument to the United States when he came to the University of Washington as a visiting artist from 1968-1972.
Recently a Midlands State University (Gweru, Zimbabwe) lecturer in the department of music and musicology has suggested a letter notation; the upper keys as (from first left upper key) E, D, C, F, C, D, and E and the lower or bottom keys as (from the first lower key) A, G, F, A, F, C, D, and E. But the Maraire number notation has remained the internationally accepted system (Chirimumimba, 2007).
Mark Holdaway of Kalimba Magic has introduced a graphic form of tablature for the karimba, and traditional karimba tunes as well as modern songs and new compositions and exercises are available in this tablature.

The Shona also have a variety of drums, and in different parts of the country one finds horns, friction bows, gongs, panpipes, and xylophones.
Visual arts were relatively undeveloped in precolonial times. More recently, fine wood and stone carving have become widespread.
Shona women showing original artwork in their dress

 Western medicine is widely available in Shona country and is widely accepted for most ailments. A wide range of herbs and charms are available for ordinary ailments or protection against them. When illness is persistent or when it is accompanied by tension in the community, spiritual causes are suspected and traditional healers are consulted. These divine the cause by dice or through spirit possession and prescribe both ritual and herbal remedies. Such healers may also prescribe charms for good fortune in various domains. A common result of divination is that a spirit wants the sick person to become its host; in such cases, healing may be achieved through possession trances. Traditional healing is particularly effective in dealing with psychological tensions: responsibility is transferred to spirits, and the whole community is involved in sorting out the problem.

Death and Afterlife
 Although the ancestral cult is important, traditional Shona rarely speak about an afterlife; a person's future after death is vaguely thought to depend on having descendants who will remember the deceased and hold rituals in his or her honor. Death, as commonly perceived among the Shona, is the separation of the body and soul in which the material body takes a new state of decomposition while the soul due to its immortality continues to survive as a spiritual entity.
When it comes to the Shona, one finds that it is not a single rite but rather several of them which they perform in respect of their dead and for their own well-being. In total, they can actually come up to seven. They are as follows: kupeta (folding) ritual; burial ritual; ritual of purification; ritual of bringing back the spirit; ritual of inheritance; ritual of honour and rituals of appeasemen
 Funeral ceremonies are performed to take a dead person away from the community and to keep him or her away. For an adult with descendants, an additional ceremony a year or more later welcomes the deceased into the company of benign ancestors and back into the homestead.
Shona girl


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