Lithium is a critical metal, vital for electrification of transport. Currently, around half the world's lithium is extracted from rare-metal pegmatites and understanding the genesis and evolution of these igneous rocks is therefore essential. This paper focuses on the pegmatites in the Kamativi region of Zimbabwe. A group of early pegmatites is distinguished from a late pegmatite suite which includes the ca. 1030 Ma Main Kamativi Pegmatite. Previously mined for tin, the mine tailings are now being investigated for lithium. Mineral-scale investigation of samples from the Main Kamativi Pegmatite has allowed recognition of a four-stage paragenesis: (1) an early magmatic assemblage dominated by quartz, alkali feldspar, spodumene (LiAlSi2O6) and montebrasite [LiAl(PO4)(OH, F)]; (2) partial alteration by widespread albitization, associated with growth of cassiterite and columbite group minerals; (3) irregular development of a quartz, muscovite, columbite group mineral assemblage; and (4) widespread low-temperature fluid-induced alteration of earlier phases to cookeite, sericite, analcime, and apatite. Whole-rock geochemistry indicates that the late pegmatites are enriched in Li, Cs, Ta, Sn, and Rb but depleted in Nb, Zr, Ba, Sr, and the rare earth elements relative to early pegmatites and country rock granitoids. A combination of field relationships and published dating indicates that the granitoids, and probably the early pegmatites, were emplaced toward the end of the ca. 2000 Ma Magondi Orogeny, whereas the late pegmatites are almost 1000 million years younger. The late pegmatites thus cannot be genetically related to the granitoids and are instead likely to have formed by partial melting of metasedimentary source rocks. The drivers for this melting may be related to crustal thickening along the northern margin of the Kalahari Craton during the assembly of Rodinia.