• noun , class(3)
  • dialects/origins: Karanga, Manyika, Zezuru
English translation
totem

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 / Mbedzi (Pool) Chidzivachepo Masiziva
Dzivaguru
Mlambo
Chuma (Tortoise)   Machuma
Hove (Fish) Muzvidziwa MaSiziba
Gurajena
Dziva
Pakuru
Gumbo (Leg) Chitova Magumbo
Madyarapanze
Hwai / Gwai (Sheep) Chuma Machuma
Gumbi
Mbizi / Tembo (Zebra) Dhuve Madhuve
Mazvimbakupa
Samaita
Mhara (Antelope) Chikonamombe Mashayamombe
Mhofu (Eland) Mhofu ye Mukono Mapofu
Mufakose
Nhuka
Musiyamwa
Sekemutema
Shava
Moyo (Heart) Chirandu Mamoyo
Murozvi mukuru
Dhewa
Moyondizvo
Sinyoro Vachinjanja
Mvuu (Hippopotamus) Sambiri  
Ngara / Nungu / Chikandamiseve / Chikandamina (Porcupine) Chivasa Maposa
Zimuto
Nhewa / Ingwe (Leopard) Simboti Marozva
Nhire / Gwizo / Chimaherani (Spring hare) Mugombi Vanhenga
Matutu Mandlera
Muwariwa
Vhenya
Nyati (Buffalo)    
Nzou / Zhou (Elephant) Samanyanga Chihoro
Mhukahuru Musanha
Shato (Python)    
Shiri / Hungwe (Fish Eagle) Nyoni Manyoni
Chasura
Hungwe
Mawuruka
Shumba (Lion) Nyamuzihwa Masivanda
Murambwi
Muzeketwa
Tsiwo (Male genetalia) Gushungo Mangwenya
Tsoko variant: shoko, soko (Monkey) Madyirapanze Mancube
Murehwa
Mukanya
Makwiramiti
Ncube
Twiza / Ndudza (Giraffe) Nondo  

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

Demonstrative determiners example
Shona English
mutupo uwu this totem
mutupo uwo that totem
Possessive pronouns example
Shona English
mutupo wangu my totem
mutupo wako your totem (singular)
mutupo wenyu your totem (plural)
mutupo wake his/her totem
mutupo wedu our totem
mutupo wacho its totem
mutupo wavo their totem
last updated: Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 4:34:29 AM Central European Summer Time

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