Kamoto kamberevere, kapisa matanda mberi.

Shona proverb

  • noun ,
  • class(3),

Animals, or (animal) body organs believed to be sacred to family, clan, or lineage.

Totems should not be consciously consumed by a member of the clan. Sexual relations between persons of the same totems is forbidden, since they share a common ancestor.

Totems also serve as an account of a lineage's history and character. For example, the Moyo (heart) totem people are known for the Rozvi Empire they built, their kindness, and bravery.

List of Shona Totems:

Totem Male Praise name Female Praise name
Bepe (Lung)    
Dziva (Pool)    
Chuma (Tortoise)    
Hove (Fish)    
Gumbo (Leg)   Magumbo
Mbizi/Tembo (Zebra) Dhuve Madhuve
Mhara (antelope) Chikonamombe  
Mhofu (Eland) Mhofu ye Mukono  
Moyo (Heart) Moyondizvo Mamoyo
Murozvi mukuru
Ngara (Sheep)    
Nhewa (Ingwe/Leopard) Simboti Marozva
Nyati (Buffalo)    
Nzou (Elephant)    
Shato (Python)    
Shiri / Hungwe (Fish Eagle)    
Shumba (Lion) Nyamuzihwa Masivanda
Tsiwo (Male genetalia) Gushungo  
Tsoko variant: shoko, soko (Monkey) Madyirapanze  

** The list is not complete. Please contact us to add more totems to the list. You can also expand our definition. Thank you.

English translation

Noun example: mutupo

Noun example: mutupo
mutupo wangu my totem
mutupo wako your totem
mutupo wake his/her totem
mutupo wedu our totem
mutupo wenyu your totem
mutupo wavo their totem

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