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date: 16 October 2019


  • William J. Dewey


Bantu-speaking people numbering c. 9 million, living mainly in Zimbabwe with a smaller population living in Mozambique. Historically, the people known as Shona identified themselves by either dialect or political names: the five main dialect clusters, Korekore, Zezuru, Manyika, Ndau and Karanga are all mutually intelligible; it was not until the late 19th century that they became known as the Shona. Their neighbours to the north and north-east are the Tonga (Tonka), Chikunda, Sena and Barwe. To the south-east are the Hlengwe and Tsonga (Shangane), and to the south are the Venda. The Ndebele to the west incorporated most of another Shona dialect cluster, the Kalanga, into their kingdom when they moved into western Zimbabwe in the 1830s. The ancestors of the Shona are the builders of Great Zimbabwe and hundreds of other stone walled sites in present-day Zimbabwe. In the second half of the 20th century a new tradition of figurative stone-carving developed (...

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