Peoples of Africa S.
The Shona peoples of Africa are known to most non-Africans as the builders of the massively impressive fourteenth-century stone walls of Great Zimbabwe and creators of the great Mutapa state encountered by the Portuguese traders in the sixteenth century. In the last century they waged war against their neighbours, the Ndebele, and against the white settlers who created Rhodesia; today they form the majority of the population of modern Zimbabwe, one of the most economically successful of contemporary African states, though now facing most of the twentieth century's potentially catastrophic social and environmental problems. David Beach has brought to bear a lifetime's research in his study of the Shona and their neighbours the Ndebele, Gaza Nguni and others. In the almost total absence of early written sources he has linked the work of archaeologists, anthropologists and linguists, together with oral traditions, and documents from the fifteenth century onwards, to discuss the origins of these peoples, their geographical distribution and environment, their social structures and culture - together with the major influences upon them over two thousand years.
In the final chapter the author draws from the historical record to bring fresh insights to modern Zimbabwe and its future.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"This book will be most useful to those who already know something of Zimbabwean history, are confused by what they know, and need to have things straightened out. To them it will be a godsend, presenting the latest archaeological and linguistic material clearly and arguing its own propositions vigorously." "A triumph of simplification and popularization. It is hard to see how it could have been done better. There are admirable maps and illuminating illustrations." African Affairs