In examining the culture of Zimbabwe it is necessary to identify the predominant population group. The Shona people make up over eighty percent of the population and historically have lived in the country longer than any other group. Because of both the relative size and historical significance of this group, the culture of the Shona best illustrates the true culture of Zimbabwe. Culture is a vague term and can be more specifically defined as the socially transmitted information that regulates a particular society. The culture of Zimbabwe can be best identified by examining the everyday mannerisms, rituals, family relationships, art forms, and religion practices of the Shona people. .
The Shona possess an interesting variety of mannerisms. First and foremost, it is considered extremely impolite to look another person directly in the eyes. In addition, one should never stand looking down at and hovering over another. It is polite to squat or sit when talking to other people, or to one"s elders. When receiving a gift, it is custom to first clap your hands together in a gesture of thanks, and then proceed to take the gift with both hands to show that it is too large for one hand only. Also, a gift is given with the right hand because the left hand is perceived to be unclean. When a man and his family are out together the man always walks in front, with his hands empty, so that he can protect his family if the need arises. His wife walks behind him, carrying everything and keeping track of the children. When approaching a village in Zimbabwe, one must pause at its edge and shout, "Svikeyi?" which means, "May we arrive?" When the reply comes back permitting entrance, then one may proceed. If it is necessary to approach another"s hut, one must stand outside and either clap or shout, "Gogogoyi," which means "Knock, knock, knock" (Cheney, 1990, p.