Gelfand, Michael. The spiritual beliefs of the Shona: a study based on field work among the east-central Shona

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Part I Mutasa's People

Chapter I Mutasa's People


Chapter Ii The Functions Of The Vatete (paternal Aunt)

The Medium (svikiro) Of The Tribal Spirit

Mudzimu You Kumbo

The Medium (svikiro) Of The Family Mudzimu (sekuru)


The Spirit Elders (vadzimu)


Kudira Mombe (“to Name The Bull”)

Kuteura (kupira) Mombe (“the Sacrifice Of A Bull”)


Kupfuka (kutiza Botso)

Kupfuka Mombe Youmai

Chapter Iii The Alien Spirits


Chizungu Shave

Shave Chisena

Chitewe Shave

Madzviti Shave

Chapter Iv Uroyi (evil Witchcraft)

Chapter V Death

Kupotsera (divining The Cause Of Death)


The Ceremony Of Kugara Nhaka

The Death Of A Married Man(murume) Away From Home (kutora Mudzimu)

A Man Dies But His Burial Place Is Not Known

The Death Of A Married Woman (mukadzi)

Chapter Vi Kuroora (marriage)



Part Ii At Nyamaropa

Chapter Vii Clan Spirits And Their Mediums And The Sachuru

The Sachuru's Duties

The Vatete (paternal Aunt) Or Medium Of Sanyamaropa


What Annoys The Mhondoro?

Ceremony Of Mandapona (mhamba Yemvura)

The Ceremony Of Mandapona Held On The Morning Of 8, October, 1969

Lesser Mhondoro In The Nyamaropa District


The Selection Of A Subchief (kugadzwa Umambo)

Ritual Beer

The Preparation Of Millet (rukweza) Beer



The High God

Chapter Viii The N'anga And Illness

Illness Of A Man

Illness Caused By A Witch (muroyi)

Illness Of A Wife (mukadzi)

A Wife Who Is Sick Through Her Grandmother's Evil Spirit

Kune Mudzimu Wasekuru Wemukadzi

Chapter Ix The Vadzimu (ancestral Spirits)

Chapter X Death Rituals

The Death Of A Married Man


Kugara Nhaka Inheritance Of A Dead Man


The Ceremony Of Tsvitsa Witnessed In Samunda's Village

Kufa (death) The Death Of A Wife


The Ceremony Of Inheritance (kugara Nhaka)

Tsvitsa Yaamai


Mhamba Yababa

Chenura Yemusikana (or Mhadara)

Chapter Xi Ceremonies At Which Ritual Beer Is Offered

Mhamba Yavadzimu

Kupira Mombe Kuna Sekuru

Kupira Mombe Yasekuru (without Beer)

Ceremony Of Muderedzo Wenyama Yako Yemukono

Mhamba Yaamai

Chenura Yaamai

Chapter Xii Ngozi (angered Spirit).

Mudzimu Wemushonga


Kuuraya Munhu (the Killing Of A Person)

Chapter Xiii Mashave (alien Spirits)

Mhamba Yemashave Amai

Requirements Of Different Mashave

Hunting Shave (shave Remudzimba)

Shave Remuteve

Shave Rekurapa

Shave Remusena (or Sinyara)

Mungoni (madzviti)

Shave Remuzinda

Shave Remusinyara

Shave Remhondoro

Shave Remarozvi

The Healing Shave (kurapa)

An Evil Shave (shave Reuroyi)

A Shave Ceremony Held At Samunda's Village

Part Iii Among The Hwesa

Chapter Xiv The Clan Spirits And Their Mediums

High God And The Family Spirit

The Ceremony For Rain

Drought (zuva)

Gomo Remudzimu

Makanzvo (ceremony Of Thanks To The Mhondoro)


Chapter Xv The Vadzimu Of The Hwesa

Kudira And Kuteura (kupira) Mombe

Mukono Wedhanga (kupira Mombe)

The Sacrifice Of The Bull (kuuraya Mukono)

Mbudzi Yekupfuwa (to Pull The Goat)

The Sacrifice Of A She-goat To The Spirit Of The Grandmother (ambuya)

The Grandfather's Spirit

Praying To The Mudzimu

The Vadzimu

Chikatsi Chasekuru (ceremony For Remembering The Mudzimu)

Mudzimu Wemushonga



Chapter Xvi Death

Burial Procedure For A Married Man

Death In Towns

Death Rituals For A Married Woman

Chapter Xvii Mashave

The Acquisition Of A Shave

A Shave Ceremony

Chapter Xviii Marriage Procedure In Former Days

Engagement (kuroorwa)

Marriage Procedure Today

Meeting The Woman's Parents (kuonekera)

The Elopement

The Mawiri


Other Forms Of Marriage

Part Iv The Vabudjga

Chapter Xix The Clan Spirits And Mediums

Origin Of The Vabudjga


The Vamvura Medium

Recognition Of The Vamvura (nehoreka's Medium)

Matters Liable To Annoy Nehoreka

Kutsvaira Madzimbahwe

Chapter Xx The Vadzimu

The Mudzimu

The Shadow (mumvuri) And Other Indications That Something Is Wrong

To Name A Child After The Family Spirit

Giving A Cloth Or A Blanket To The Family Spirit

Kudirwa Kwemombe (the Naming Of A Bull)

Kupira Mombe (to Sacrifice The Bull)

Chapter Xxi Ngozi

Ngozi Yekumutsira Paguva

Ngozi Yowakafa


Medicine For Ngozi

Ngozi Yakanaka (the Benevolent Ngozi)

Kutanda Botso

Chapter Xxii Muroyi (witch)

Varoyi Vechidzimu

A Person Suspected Of Practising Witchcraft

Zimbuya Mukande

Mharadzanwa Dzenzira (cross Roads)

Muroyi Wemasikati


Chapter Xxiii Death

The Burial Of A Married Man


Katati (bow)

The Ritual Of Bona

Mhinza Mumba

Sin (mhosva: Rutadzo)

Other Offences Regarded As Sins (mhosva Yenhope)

Mhosva Yemombe.

Mhosva Yemharadzo


Mombe Youmai


Ignoring The Request Of A Dying Person For A Cloth (jira).

Chapter Xxiv Alien Spirits (mashave)

2. The Shave Rokutamba

3. The Shave Rotunhu

Ane Shave Romwoyochena (rokupa)

The Shave Rokuba

Shave Rokuroya

Shave Bveni

Chirungu Shave



Ceremony Of Thanksgiving

Chapter Xxv Marriage

Instructions To A Girl Just Before Her Marriage

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: The spiritual beliefs of the Shona: a study based on field work among the east-central Shona

Published By: Original publisher Gwelo, Rhodesia: Mambo Press. 1977. 216 ill., maps

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication by Michael Gelfand ; foreword by M. Hannan

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2014. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Shona (FS05)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Eschatology (775); Prayers and sacrifices (782); Cult of the dead (769); Sorcery (754); Burial practices and funerals (764); Mourning (765); Arranging a marriage (584); Nuptials (585); Traditional history (173); Organized ceremonial (796); Clans (614); Mode of marriage (583); Avuncular and nepotic relatives (604); Magicians and diviners (791); Shamans and psychotherapists (756);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This is a comparative study of the religious beliefs and practices of four Shona clans. There is a chapter for each and the data are presented in a format that makes them easy to compare. This source is concerned with historical origins, practices and beliefs concerning the spirits of the dead, roles and functions of the medicine men/diviners and mediums, the role of the paternal aunt, witchcraft, death, and marriage.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 4

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fs05-004

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes index

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1967-1974

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Physician-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle; 1991

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1969-1974

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Manicaland and Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Shona (African people)


Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the links below to export the citation to your chosen bibliographic manager.

Export a Citation