Shona – The People

This is the first part in a series of posts I am going to do on The Shona people. In the coming days and weeks I shall introduce you to their sociopolitical and economic lifestyle.I seek to celebrate my roots and appreciate how much we have evolved into what we are today.

Shona people are found in Zimbabwe and some parts of Mozambique and Botswana. They speak a language which is also called Shona.

Shona as a language is part of the Bantu languages. It has many dialects the major ones being karanga,kore kore, zezuru,ndau and manyika. Almost, if not all Shona words end with a vowel. 

Not much certainty can be placed on the origin of the name Shona itself. Some attribute it to the Ndebele a Nguni tribe that later entered Zimbabwe during the mfecane wars. Some scholars believe the name Shona is derived from the Punjab word Sohna meaning gold. Indians are believed to have sought gold from the Shona.

Between the 11th and 15th century the Shona set up their kingdom on top of the Zimbabwe plateau. There they built marvelous stone walls later to be known as the Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe Ruins

Great Zimbabwe stone works were laid out without mortar much to the awe of early European colonisers who refused to believe that mere Africans could have constructed such a wonder. They attributed the construction of these great walls to foreigners.

The country of Zimbabwe derives its name from these stone works. Great Zimbabwe ruins has since been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Shona people are renowned for their stone carvings and mbira music which I shall touch on in future articles.

In my next article we shall look at their spiritual beliefs.


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