Ancestor veneration is common across Africa. It is widely believed (and not just in Africa) that the dead can influence events among the living, and must therefore be appeased and respected. Dead relatives may even become minor deities with time.
Amongst the Shona, concepts of ‘life’ and ‘death’ are not mutually exclusive, and there are no clear dividing lines between them. There are simply different levels of life (sickness is often described as ‘living a little’). This is expressed in the concept of ‘ancestors’, relatives who have died but who continue to ‘live’ in the community and communicate with their families.