Dark Origins – Myths and legends of the Shona People #Shona #Zimbabwe #stonesculpture


The Shona people are part of the Bantu ethnic group native to Southern Africa. The primary home of the Shona is Zimbabwe, where they are the majority ethnic group, as well as Mozambique and South Africa.

There are five major Shona language groupings/dialects as follows: Karanga, Zezuru, Korekore, Manyika, and Ndau.

Creation story

The Shona creation story goes as follows:

“God (Mwari) created the first man, Mwedzi (the moon) in a great depth of water. Mwedzi became lonely and yearned to live on land. Despite Mwari’s warnings, he insisted on being released to the earth. Once there, he found that the earth was indeed a lonely and desolate place and begged Mwari for a partner. Mwari sent him morning star (Hweva / Massassi) and the couple gave birth to all the vegetation on earth. After a period of two years, the lovers were separated, leaving Mwedzi desolate once again. He petitioned for another wife and was given evening star (Morongo / Venekatsvimborume) and together they gave birth to the herbivores and birds of the earth and then to boys and girls. Morongo also gave birth to wild animals and reptiles but then created a great sin when she mated with a snake. This snake eventually bit Mwedzi and made him ill. His illness marked the dawn of all human suffering.

The End.

Read more about the creation story and other fascinating facts about the Shona people here: https://blog.rhinoafrica.com/2018/10/15/5-fascinating-facts-about-shona-people-of-zimbabwe/

Vadzimu, Ngozi and Mashave

The spirits of the ancestors are called Vadzimu and they are very concerned about their living family and their welfare. The most important Vadzimu are those of a person’s father, mother, grandmother and grandfather. If a message is to be passed on to Mwari, the spirit of the father is called upon to pass the message back to his father and so on until it reaches the ears of the deity himself. A Vadzimu of a chief is more powerful that that of a commoner as the ancestor spirit retains the position that the person held in life.

A Ngozi is the vengeful spirit of a person who was harmed during his life by any one of his close relatives. A Ngozi returns after death seeking retribution. A Ngozi is always dangerous and if the presence of one is suspected, his victim is banished from his family clan to do penance for a period of one to two years. On his return, he must offer a goat to the Ngozi in order to bring about a reconciliation.

The Mashaves are spirits of foreigners or of wanderers who died far away from their family clans and did not receive a proper burial. As a result, Mashaves are destined to roam restlessly through the bush until they find a living host in which to reside. If the host is unwilling to accept the Mashave, then s/he will become ill and a diviner is needed to transfer the spirit into the body an an animal and then drive the animal into the wilderness.

Alternatively, if the host accepts the Mashave, the sickness leaves immediately and the individual is initiated via a special ceremony into a cult made up of groups whose members possess similar Mashaves. These cult groups possess special skills imparted to them by the Mashaves such as midwifery and herbal lore.

Spirits in Stone: Sculpture

The art of sculpture has been practiced by the Shona since the 11th century. The first sculptures were based on ancient birds, which eventually became the national emblem of Zimbabwe.

Serpentine stones us used for the sculpture of Shona cult figures. This stone is sedimentary and comes in a variety of hardness’s and colours. Shona sculpturing is a means of expressing the relationship between the physical and the spiritual worlds and is used as a way of exploring legends, ancestry, beliefs and the human condition.

Since independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has become well known for its stone sculpture.

Zimbabwe Sculpture: a Tradition in Stone, Atlanta, USA, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between concourses T and A
Reconciliation by Amos Supuni

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has 11 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.

Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Dark Origins” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.

43 Comments on “Dark Origins – Myths and legends of the Shona People #Shona #Zimbabwe #stonesculpture”

  1. I’ve read a lot of creation stories. They are all intriguing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on and commented:

    This is my last post for 2022 and it shares some of the myths and legends of the Shona people of southern Africa. Thank you to Kaye Lynne Booth for hosting. Wishing everyone a happy holiday period and a Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marsha says:

    Creation stories are all so different yet with similarities. That would make an interesting book if you could find them all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s interesting to see the parallels between the Shona people’s creation story and the Genesis creation story. And the sculptures are beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Africa is rich in mythology. I loved the creation stories, Robbie. Merry Christmas to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I enjoyed these essays Robbie! Yours is a part of the world so very far away and different to me. But old stories and beliefs have so many commonalities.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family, and a happy healthy New Year.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fascinating as always, Robbie. I can picture children sitting at the feet of their elders listening to the stories with wide eyes! The sculptures are impressive. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Darlene says:

    This is fascinating. I find it amazing that all creation stories have some similarities even though the originators came from different parts of the world. WE are all more connected than we think.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I agree with other readers that the information in this post is fascinating. I also love the “Reconciliation” sculpture.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wonderful Robbie and it always amazes me how in most creation stories from different cultures there are elements they all share. Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year to you both. ♥

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Jim Borden says:

    Merry Christmas, Robbie!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. olganm says:

    I’ve heard and read a few origin stories, and they are all wonderful, and so is this one as well. Thanks for sharing it, Robbie, and for the images of sculptures as well. I love them! Have a fantastic 2023, and I hope you and your family are all feeling better.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Annika Perry says:

    Robbie, this is a fascinating post and interesting to read about other’s creation story. I see a snake still features here! The sculptures are amazing and incredibly powerful and no wonder they are a national emblem of Zimbabwe.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Annika Perry says:

    PS. Wishing you a very Happy, Healthy and Creative 2023! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  15. sjhigbee says:

    I loved reading this creation story, Roberta – thank you so much for sharing it. I was intrigued to see that the snake, once again, was a cause of illness and distress for humankind…

    Liked by 2 people

  16. dgkaye says:

    Fascinating history and lore Robbie. Thanks so much for enlightening us to some of the South African culture. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Wonderful share, Robbie. I especially liked the legends around ancestral spirits and how they’re managed, banished, or appeased. And the stone sculptures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Kaye Lynne for hosting. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Carla says:

    I always find these posts fascinating Robbie. I love learning new things. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s