A view inside the Great Enclosure. Image credit zarnet.ac.zw

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Great Zimbabwe state (Kingdom): Political Organisation of the Great Zimbabwe State

  • The king ruled the state and was helped to rule by his relatives,
  • the Great wives and others selected for exhibiting high levels of allegiance and loyalty
  • He was the supreme leader and authority in the state
  • The king commanded some provincial rulers who were spread in a bid area
  • The rulers paid tribute to the king to show allegiance and loyalty
  • The rulers however had some degree of autonomy
  • The Great Zimbabwe political structure was flexible as it incorporated conquered states with ease
  • The Great Zimbabwe state was not militaristic as evidenced by the fact that it did not have a standing army
  • The king would however raise an army in cases of emergency and was helped by spirit mediums to instill discipline in the army
  • Most of the times the army was raised to force conquered chiefdoms to pay tribute
  • Witchcraft played a great role in the army
  • The king would marry in many families to foster unity
  • Kingship in the Great Zimbabwe state was hereditary along the male line
  • This means the king was succeeded by either his sons or brothers
  • The king’s senior wife has special political duties in the state
  • She was responsible for the day to day running of the state
  • She was also the chief advisor of the king and was respected highly by everyone
  • She also mediated between the king and his subjects and saw to it that there was sanity in the state

To access more topics go to the History Notes page.