Other types of Shona mbira currently, but more rarely, found in Zimbabwe include the njarimatepembira dzavaNdau, and the karimba (also called nyunganyunga or Kwanongoma mbira). Developed for elementary and secondary school curriculum use at Kwanongoma College, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in the 1960s.

During Zimbabwe’s colonial period (when it was known as Southern Rhodesia and then Rhodesia), missionaries taught that mbira was evil. Particularly, due to its association with ancestor spirits. Thus, that period saw a decline in the popularity of mbira due to repression of traditional religion.

Cedar Board Thumb Pianos: Buy Online – From $30.95 – $50.95


Since independence in 1980, mbira (thumb piano) has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity and is now considered the national instrument of Zimbabwe. The Shona Mbira is becoming known around the world, due to tours by both traditional and non-traditional mbira players. Like the Zimbabwean electric bands which include the instrument, and organizations such as MBIRA.

In Zimbabwe, traditional musicians remind their communities that mbira is played to encourage the spirits which protect the land and people of Zimbabwe. Neither mbira nor the spirits should be neglected if Zimbabweans wish to enjoy health and prosperity. Traditional ceremonies continue to this day, though not all Zimbabweans participate in them.

While the vast majority of Shona mbira players have been men, today more and more women and girls are playing. Having said that, I hope you have an idea as to you should consider listening or even playing a thumb piano. But, if you’ll have additional contributions, suggestions or even questions, please Contact Us. We’ll provide you with more blog research articles that best caters to your needs.