Second thoughts on the Shona economy: suggestions for further research
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This paper has its beginnings in some interviews carried out in the upper Sabi valley in 1973. The trail between these interviews and the present paper is a long and devious one, but it is worth mentioning here. In the first half of 1973 my main interest was in the digging of a kind of historical trench across the central Shona country from east to west and back again, examining and analysing the traditions of a group of peoples whose ruling dynasties were mostly of the Shava (eland) totem. The basic purpose of the work was to determine the historical-political structure of the area, which happened to coincide to a great extent with the upper Sabi valley, but a certain amount of attention was paid to economic factors. As this paper makes clear, more attention should have been paid to economic, social and religious questions, but at the time I was mainly conscious of the problem involved in collecting as much political data as possible from a very wide area in a very short time. Nevertheless, it was possible to put together the raw economic data into a preliminary paper that was read at the Umtali History Conference in December 1973.