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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:How we became Shona
Author:Chigwedere, A.S.
Periodical:Heritage of Zimbabwe
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Abstract:The author traces the origin of the name of the Shona of Zimbabwe and examines the question: When did the Shona become Shona and how did this come about? The Shona were an autonomous political grouping which existed as early as AD 1500 as one tribe with a common culture and language. During the following ages, this tribe became fragmented into various clans, each with their own name. By 1890, the beginning of the colonization of the country, there was no name to cover all or the majority of the clans in any one region, and there was no clan called Shona. When formal education caught on, some common orthography became necessary. In 1929, the colonial administration set up a Language Committee to decide on a common name for the people and language in Southern Rhodesia outside Matebeleland. Although this area was referred to as Mashonaland, its people and language were not officially called Shona. In 1930 the Southern Rhodesia Government accepted the name Mashona for all Africans outside Matebeleland, and Chishona for their language. Although its origin is controversial, the name Mashona can be traced back to the year AD 1000, when the people of Karanga called the western part of their country 'Tshonalanga', or 'Matshonalanga' (referring to the setting of the sun). This was later distorted to Mashonaland. Bibliogr.