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Death & Burial Project

Death & Burial Project

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Published by: anon_616277 on Nov 28, 2010
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11/08/2011

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INTRODUCTION

In Zimbabwe, among the Shona speaking people, funeral rites vary considerably from place to
place and from tribe to tribe. Funeral rites do not follow a uniform structure. Each tribe has a
distinct and, sometimes, unique funeral ritual. Again, each rite has some unique customs that
differentiate between the burial of a chief, married adult, unmarried adult, teenager and a
baby. However, there is a common thread seen running through all the Shona funeral rites. In
this chapter I intend to examine the Shona burial rituals without going into the details that
characterise each tribe's uniqueness. I shall only dwell on the commonly shared elements.
While there are differences among the tribes on how funerals are conducted, there are also
common elements that unify all the Shona tribes. The one I shall analyse in this chapter is the
funeral of a married adult. My analysis will be divided into six sections: moment of illness,
preparation for burial, procession to the grave, burial and purification.

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