n Latin American Report - : historical and cultural legacy

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



The (which means the voice of the ancestors) is also referred to as the , and can be traced back as far as the 16th century. Since that period the instrument has gone through a number of changes ranging from its structure to its sacred efficacy. The instrument has accumulated a number of aspects that constitute the legacy of the . This article traces the history of the and how the legacy has shifted from its sacred efficacy and adopted a contemporary status where it is performed for entertainment It also outlines the etymology of the term 'mbira' as conceived by those who own it as opposed to terms coined by academic exponents. The has never been stationary since its creation, even migrating to other parts of Zimbabwe and the world. The Shona musical styles and performance contexts in which the is performed have also experienced a paradigm shift. The article is an extract from my ongoing PhD research which has an ethnographic design employed together with applied action research in the Wedza District of Zimbabwe.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error