oa Central African Journal of Medicine - The Shona Generation

Volume 25, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



This paper arises out of the need to assign some kind of date to the lives of rulers of Shona dynasties who -are known to us only from genealogies. What is of �interest from a medical point of view is that information has emerged on the length of the Shona generation and by implication, on the life-expectancy of African men in rural society under European rule in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in the 20th century. The evidence put forward here suggests that the Shona generation could vary from 23 to 60 years, and that any calculations based upon generations must take into account the genealogical positions of the individuals involved. It also shows that the average lifespan of the adult Shona man was and is considerably longer than has been sometimes assumed.

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