The Culture Of Zimbabwe Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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Musicians strike the strips with wooden hammers to produce the melody. These instruments can also vary considerably in size and a group of different sized marimbas are often used to form a band (p.87). In Zimbabwe, music is almost always accompanied by dancing as a means of self-expression. Dancing is a vital part of all social gatherings, including parties, weddings, political meetings, and receptions for visiting officials. Even religious occasions, such as funerals, include dancing as part of the rituals. Religion is very important to the people of Zimbabwe and is centered on the spirits of deceased relatives. The belief in the constant presence of these ancestral spirits stands at the very core of the Shona life. For the Shona, these beliefs bind the past and the present

together, and draw the extended family group into a complex pattern of mutual responsibilities. There are two types of spirit guardians: the spirit elders for the family (midzimu), and the lion spirits who care for the chiefdom as a whole (mhondoro). Each home has a shrine to the midzimu, the most important of whom is the father or grandfather of the oldest living generation. Most families honor this spirit elder every year with a ceremonial offering of home-brewed millet beer. Occasionally, when something goes wrong for example, if someone becomes very ill or looses his or her job a family will also approach the spirit elder. Usually another offering of millet beer and promises to do better are enough to appease him. While the spirits of dead female members of the family also

have roles to play in the affairs of the living, they seldom are official spirit guardians (Cheney, 1990, p.186). The mhondoro or lion spirits, the spirits of clan founders, are more important than the midzimu, and generally concern themselves with matters that affect communities rather than individuals. They are consulted when locusts plague their fields, when lions are preying on the community, when people are threatened by an epidemic, or when they are about to become involved in a war. Through a possessed medium, an mhondoro may announce it has caused the problem because the people are forgetting their ancestors, or perhaps it will accuse members of the community of a specific crime like incest or quarreling at the spirit s shrine (p.186). The Shona, like Christians, believe

in an all-powerful God. He is usually known by the name Mwari. Unlike the Christian God, however, Mwari is not interested in the petty lives of the individuals, although he is ultimately responsible for everything that happens. The Shona rarely speak of him or try to communicate with him, except in the Matopo Hills, where there is an organized cult of Mwari. The most influential shrine is at the Matonjeni. It is looked from the Ndebele and even from neighboring white farmers who are interested in covering all their bases to ensure regular rainfall. The shrine is a cave from which the voice of Mwari speaks its oracles. The voice is an elderly woman who speaks to visiting delegations in a supposedly ancient dialect that must be translated into the language of the visitors (p.187).

These religious practices, compiled with the aforementioned everyday mannerisms, exchange rituals, family relationships, and art forms identify the true culture of the Shona people and the country of Zimbabwe. Cheney, Robert. (1990). The Land and People of Zimbabwe. New York: Harper & Row O Toole, Thomas. (1989). Zimbabwe. Minneapolis: Learner Publications Company