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The second largest ethnic group is the Ndebele, consisting of the Ndebele and Kalanga groups, which constitute about 18 percent.

Mashonaland, where most of the Shona live, is a collective term for the eastern two-thirds of the country, and most Ndebele live in the western third of Matabeleland.

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The capital, Harare, is located in Mashonaland, which covers the eastern two-thirds of the country and is the area where most Shona-speaking people live.

The Ndebele in the nineteenth century were the first to use the name "Shona" to refer to the peoples they conquered; although the exact meaning of the term is unclear, it was probably derogatory.

Later, white colonists extended the term to refer to all groups that spoke dialects officially recognized as Shona.

Second, in the colonial period, the development of industry in towns and cities, particularly Harare and Bulawayo, required men seeking work to live in urban areas, leaving women and children in the rural areas.

Although this gender imbalance in urban areas no longer exists, and there is more movement between urban and rural areas, de facto women heads of household are still common in rural areas.

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