Notes: Hakata diviners and female khami, crocodile and serpent symbolism

Hakata diviners of Shona (Zimbabwe) people p. 49 via Hakata dice excavated from the hills ruins of Khami, capital of the state of Torwa (15th c. to 18th c)
with knotwork representing
a. Old and senior women called khami represented by double knotwork  associated with unity of the family
b. Old men crocodile lozenge connection with the sacral leadership symbolic of the ability to communicate with the dangerous, fearless and ferocious Underworld dweller of the ancestral watery pool of the deep
c. Young men python associated with rain and fertility of the land
d. Young women serpent associated with fertility
These motifs have been documented by the early 15th c Portuguese, and the motifs also found on masonry up till 1500s in the great state of Zimbabwe.

Shona /ˈʃoʊnə/ is the name collectively given to two groups of Bantu people in the east and southeast of Zimbabwe, and southern Mozambique. They are the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe.

The term Shona is as recent as the 1920s. The Kalanga and or Karanga had, from the 11th century, created empires and states on the Zimbabwe plateau. These states include the Great Zimbabwe state (12-16th century), the Torwa State, and the Munhumutapa states, which succeeded the Great Zimbabwe state as well as the Rozvi state, which succeeded the Torwa State, and which with the Mutapa state existed into the 19th century. The states were based on kingship with certain dynasties being royals.[1]

The major dynasties were the Rozvi of the Moyo (Heart) Totem, the Elephant (of the Mutapa state), and the Hungwe (Fish Eagle) dynasties that ruled from Great Zimbabwe. The Kalanga who speak Tjikalanga are related to the Karanga possible through common ancestry. Some Shona groups are not very familiar with the existence of the Kalanaga hence they are frequently not recognised as Shona today. These groups had an adelphic succession system (brother succeeds brother) and this after a long time caused a number of civil wars which, after the 16th century, were taken advantage of by the Portuguese. Underneath the king were a number of chiefs who had sub-chiefs and headmen under them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s