Chawa wana batisisa, midzimu haipi kaviri.

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/Mhofu ye Mukono/Musiyamwa/Shava (Eland)
Moyo (Heart) Moyondizvo Mamoyo
Murozvi mukuru
Ngara (Sheep)
Nyati (Buffalo)
Nzou (Elephant)
Shato (Python)
Shiri / Hungwe (Fish Eagle)
Shumba (Lion) Nyamuzihwa Masivanda
Tsiwo (Male genetalia) Gushungo
Tsoko variant: shoko, soko (Monkey) Murehwa

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

English translation

Noun example: mutupo

angu mutupo wangu my my totem
ako mutupo wako your your totem
ake mutupo wake his/her his/her totem
edu mutupo wedu our our totem
enyu mutupo wenyu your (plural/respectful) your totem
avo mutupo wavo their their totem