The Shona Peoples

An Ethnography of the Contemporary Shona, with Special Reference to their Religion

Michael Bourdillon



This book is still regarded as one of the best synthesis of ethnographic research undertaken amongst the Shona people, taking indigenous religion and culture as a starting point. The author, a renowned anthropologist and sociologist of Zimbabwe, examines the historical background and sources of Shona history from the fifteenth century. He details, from anthropological perspectives, kinship and village organisation including patrilineal kinship, Shona marriage and the position of women in Shona society.


...the book is undoubtedly an extremely important contribution to the organisation of knowledge about the Shona speaking peoples, available to those, whether
white or black, who are concerned with a deeper understanding of the way of life of, and the problems confronting, the people of Zimbabwe today. - Peter Fry, Journal of the International African Institute


Michael Bourdillon is a Professor of the Department of Sociology, University of Zimbabwe. He is directly involved in organisations dedicated to helping street children.