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What is a state?

According to a Marxist view, a state is an instrument of class rule (control). It is an
institution representing the interest of the ruling class. Garlake defines a state as a small
political unit. D.N Beach outlines that the Shona were normally divided throughout their history into territories under rulers of which many were in turn subdivided into wards
under sub rulers and house heads, each made up of a number of villages under village
heads. These territories varied in size and their rulers varied equally in their wealth and

With this analysis, it is therefore easy to suggest that several states existed
between Zambezi to the North, Indian ocean to the east and Limpopo river to the south,
but it is difficult to draw a line between a large and powerful territory and a small area
held by a minor ruler like Luteve and Bocha. (refer to map below adapted from Beach DN

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