The Culture Of Zimbabwe Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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that payment of the bride-price is demeaning to women and a form of slavery, it was never perceived as such by the Shona themselves. The husband s family has rights and obligations towards the woman s family and may not pass her on to a third party (p.208). The structure and relationships of the Shona families play a key role in the definition of the culture of the people of Zimbabwe. Despite the changing nature of the Shona society, it still remains patrilineal, which means that kinship through males is stressed over kinship though females. A child inherits his or her father s clan name and people distinguish members of their family only by their generation, age, and sex. For example, the term, baba, which means father, can apply equally to a father s brother, male cousin, or

any other male of that generation no matter how distinctly they are related (p.191). The individual is not considered important in Shona society. His or her status and behavior are determined by the relationships that person has with the other members of the community. The most important relationship within the Shona family is between father and child. This is a very formal relationship in which the child always shows the utmost respect for his or her father. Children can never eat with their father, take liberties with his property, or address him in a familiar manner. In contrast, the relationship between mother and child is extremely close. Most Shona children spend the first few years of their lives tied securely on their mothers backs with towels, and at her death, a mother

s spirit is considered friendly and protective. Because of her good care for them, not to mention the pains of labor she went through, the mother s spirit demands to be well remembered by her children. If they fail to do this, the spirit is believed to regain the same absolute power over her children that she had when they were in their infancy (p.193). Another aspect of culture that gives identity to the people of Zimbabwe is the arts. Crafts, sculptures, music, and dance are all very important to the history as well as the everyday life of the Shona people. The rural population of Zimbabwe crafts a wide variety of articles for daily use. Carved wooden headrests, ornamented knives and gourds, baskets containing panels of carved wood, musical instruments, and a wide variety of

earthenware pots are made throughout the countryside. Roof thatching, perhaps the most practical art form is still very common in the countryside and is completed in a very traditional manner. Once grass is carefully chosen for its length, women bundle and comb the selected grasses, and men are the thatchers. They arrange the bundles on a roof, beginning at the edges and building towards the center. The thatchers attach the grass to the roof by repeatedly winding a coarse string around the bundle onto the frame of the dwelling until the bundle is securely tied. Layer is placed upon layer until only a small opening remains at the top, over which a cap of thatch is fastened (O Toole, 1989, p.137). Other than using this artistic talent for survival, the people of Zimbabwe also

create many forms of expressive art. Wooden masks are still created according to age-old designs and play a great role in Shona tradition. The most common mask is oval and often has two horns sticking out from a heavily grooved forehead. Narrow slits represent the eyes, and the broad, sharp nose has lines cut into it. Similar lines stretch across the cheekbones, and the mouth is open, with pursed lips. Dancers in religious ceremonies once used masks made of wood, straw, and other materials to enhance the rituals. Stone sculptures are also extremely popular among the Shona, and have become internationally popular with art collectors (p.120). Music is tremendously popular and is a constant presence in Zimbabwe. When music is for dancing, its style is flamboyant, and the manyawi

(the spirit of expression and excitement) develops the pace of the tune. If, however, the music is for a solemn occasion, musicians hold back the tempo to create a serious mood. Many lyrics simply express everyday events. For example, a babysitter sings a nurse s song to a baby when its mother is away, or a woman chants a presentation song when she gives a newborn baby to its father (p.79). Native instruments often accompany this music, the most important being the drum. Drums are made in a number of sizes to provide a variety of sounds and are usually carved from solid blocks of wood with designs cut or burnt into them. Marimbas are also very poplar instruments. Like the xylophone, a marimba is made of strips of wood that vary in length, which are attached to a soundboard.