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Ndebele Raiders and Shona Power

D. N. Beach
The Journal of African History
Vol. 15, No. 4 (1974), pp. 633-651
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/180994
Page Count: 19
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Ndebele Raiders and Shona Power
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Abstract

For a variety of reasons the extent, number and severity of Ndebele raids upon the Shona-speaking peoples have been greatly exaggerated in the past. Moreover most studies of the Ndebele have failed to take into account the fact that the Ndebele conquered an already well-established Shona state with an economy linked with the Indian Ocean trade. This article seeks to show that the bulk of Ndebele raiding before 1873 was a response to both the political and military threat of the Changamire Rozvi dynasty and to the economic needs of the state that had been taken over. Even so, Ndebele raids were limited in extent and duration, and the two decades after 1873 saw a steady revival of Shona strength. In spite of Ndebele raids aimed at preventing this process, the independent Shona strengthened themselves by re-arming and 'alliances', and were able to take part in the eventual overthrow of the Ndebele kingdom. This article is a condensed version of a paper presented at the History Workshop, Gaborone, September 1973.

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