Chiredzi Rural District Council

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The  (Shangaan) people of the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe are the proud owners of a unique and vibrant social culture-such as stunning hut paintings ,Each year the Shangaan people celebrate their culture in various ways

Traditional culture

Chiredzi District is located in the south eastern corner of Masvingo Province.  It shares international boundaries with South Africa and Mozambique, provincial boundaries with Manicaland and Matebeleland South provinces and district boundaries with Mwenezi, Bikita, Masvingo, Zaka, Beitbridge and Chipinge.

Chiredzi District lies in Natural Region V.  It is the largest in the Province occupying 14 340 square kilometers out of the 56 566 square kilometers which makes Masvingo Province.  Chiredzi District comprises of about 25% of the total land area of the province.

Our culture

Home Building and Wall Decorations

Changana huts are built square, with deep shady verandahs and decorative wall paintings created by the womenfolk. They use organic materials to paint with-silt from rivers for black pigment, red earth for the rich rust pigment and white ash from burnt leadwood trees for the white pigment. Hut floors are smooth mixtures of mud and cow dung. Wooden doors are commonly used these days, but in the past incredibly resilient and long lasting doors were constructed from cross-laid Phragmites reeds, bound securely with plaits made from Lala palm fronds. True works of art.

Food and Traditional Hunting methods

  • Food is locally produced, maize and sorghum being staple crops.
  • Grains are winnowed in traditional baskets (tsere) and hand-hewn pestle and mortars.
  • Traditional beer is brewed from sorghum.

Well-shaped, very large clay pots are skillfully made for storing beer and water, and for cooking every day meals.They are constructed from clay soil and earth-fires under piles of brush.

Multi-coloured goats, chickens and domesticated guinea fowls and also the occasional contented wandering pigs, are to be seen around every homestead.

Herds of spectacular Nguni-type cattle, the pride and joy of their owners, wander the banks of the Save River at Mahenye. Small, neat animals, they are are acclimatised to resist tick borne diseases and tsetse fly, and survive easily in this often-arid environment.

Traditional Dress

Dress and Beadware:

“Chibabela” skirts are deeply gathered and beaded skirts, worn under bright wraps and displayed when dancing or for special occasions.

These skirts sway and flare out when dancing to create an exuberant and mesmerising effect. They are made from traditional striped, woven “Salempore” fabric and glass seed beads.

Men and women wear earrings, but this is less common among the men than in the past.

A strong tradition of using glass seed beads for decorating skirts and for necklaces is still maintained.

Glass seed beads are treasured for decorating items of everyday use, such as snuff boxes and containers made from hollowed out wild gourds and squashes.


Much as Changana men undergo certain rites of passage to be considered adult, so do Changana women, but circumcision is never part of the ceremony. The girls undergo a month of strict isolation from village life, with teachers to guide them, and are instructed in the ways of child-bearing, traditional dancing, home-building, food preparation and culture that adult women are required to know.

When they pass out, they are said to have undergone Khomba, and wear red caps with pins adorning the rims, which passers-by are expected to contribute to by donating more pins. Great ceremony is observed, as this episode in the lives of the women of the community is a highly regarded ritual.