Indigenous Community

Indigenous Communities in Zimbabwe

Indigenous communities Zimbabwe

When you visit an Indigenous community in Zimbabwe, you’re likely to learn about their music, dance, and customary laws. Here, you’ll learn about the mbira, a traditional instrument made from wood with metal keys. Some people believe it is a sacred instrument used to call upon spirits or to govern the weather. The mbira is a cultural icon in the country, and you can see why. It is an important part of their daily lives.

Traditional social structures

In traditional social structures, elders play an important role in the lives of indigenous Zimbabweans. Those who have no fathers or children are often excluded from conversations with elders. Zimbabwean culture also emphasizes communal gatherings for stories, music, and dance. A common bond is shared by the tribes in their ancestry and a deep respect for their history. While social structures are changing rapidly in Zimbabwe, traditional practices remain intact.

Customary laws

Despite its name, customary laws in Africa are not easily discernible. They do not contain rules or a written form, as statutory laws do. Instead, these laws are dynamic and constantly adapt to society. This makes them an important source of legal authority and protection, but they are often misunderstood. Here are some of the problems with African customary law. Listed below are some of the most pressing concerns.


In Zimbabwe, traditional music is not just confined to the indigenous communities. Popular music has been influenced by traditional music, too. Jah Prayzah, Zimbabwe’s man of the moment in pop music, plays the mbira in a traditional mode called vamudhara. Oliver Mtukudzi, another internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean musician, creates music that is heavily influenced by traditional genres.


In the country of Zimbabwe, the mbende dance is an indigenous art form that has remained virtually unchanged for over two thousand years. Suppressed by resident missionaries in Rhodesia, it is now practiced by the Zezuru tribe in Mashonaland province. As a culturally significant form of dance, mbende has survived colonisation, despite changes to its context, costumes and purpose.


Traditional leadership is still a key institution for the sustainable management of proximate natural resources in the communal lands of Zimbabwe. In a country where indigenous people fought to gain political independence, traditional leaders played a key role in the protection and management of local biological resources. Yet, successive governments in Zimbabwe attempted to usurp traditional leadership and centralize all powers in the country. This policy attempt failed to achieve the intended outcome, as it has eroded traditional institutions and degraded the natural ecosystems. Biodiversity losses have become the norm on communal lands.

Assimilation into dominant Shona and Ndebele cultures

The Zimbabwean government has consistently failed to adopt a human rights system that takes into account intra-state ethno-cultural diversity, and as a result, many indigenous groups are suffering as a result. This failure has resulted in violations of fundamental rights, such as the right to self-determination guaranteed by Article 5 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. The Tshwa San are also not treated equally with other groups and should not be treated the same way as non-indigenous peoples.

Inequity in land distribution

Despite the fact that less than one percent of the population is white, whites control more than half of the productive land in Zimbabwe. This land ownership and management has affected the culture and tradition of the country, where the majority of people practice indigenous and Christian faiths. The population of European descent has declined in Zimbabwe to under 100,000 people, and white land ownership has largely been disseminated.