Moyondizvo dhewa!

I’ve noticed that when at social gatherings, if someone wants to emphasis something they use one’s totem (mutupo). It is a source of pride for many people, myself included. But lately, I’ve been curious, where did my totem come from? What does it mean? Why is my totem moyo ndizvo (heart) when someone else is shumba (lion) or dhuve (zebra)? Who decided which clan gets what totem? I say clan because for generations my family has been moyo ndizvo.  Why does a totem not change? Why can’t I be moyo ndizvo today and tomorrow be a sinyoro?

Totems (mutupo) are used to identify the different clans that make up different lineages. The mutupo of each clan is inherited by all descendants of that family. Usually symbols such as animal names or organs of human beings are used to represent the totem. These provide the “social identity” of the clan. Every Shona clan is identified by a particular mutupo and each mutupo has praise poetry. This is a speech that is attached to that particular totem and is usually used when one is praising or thanking a person of that totem. Totems are popular among the Shona people as they unite and identify people by their origins.

Totems are very important and marriages among people of the same totems are discouraged.

This is because people who share a totem can be regarded as family even though a blood relationship does not exist. For a marriage between two people of the same totem to go through and be successful,  suitors give a white cow to the bride’s family. Mombeyechekaukama (Cow of ending a relationship). It must be a white cow. A pure white cow is not so easy to get so my reasoning is that by getting the young man to look for one, he can acknowledge just how frowned upon it is to marry within one’s totem.

With other totems you are not allowed to eat the animal that represents you. So people whose totem is hove (fish), are not supposed to eat fish.

I’ve included my praise poetry below. I’m still working on getting an accurate English translation…

Hekani sahayi
Dhewa
Moyondizvo
Vakami vomukaka
Bvumavaranda
Vakadzi vachiza vomene
Dzimbahwe rerupwetepwete
Vari urozvi Nhandare
Sahayi mhondoro
Jengetanyika;
Mwene wevanhu
Vachuru chamapfunde manji
VaChirisamhuru
muzinda wen ’ombe
Gorokoterwa
chiri mudanga
ndambachiraswa
vokwaChuma chamambo
chamachira chinosakara
Mupfudze wa nyan ’ombe
Chiwanzamukaka
Chipuriro chamafuta
Vachisiyandanyare
Vari manyanga
Vane mudzi unobva mabvazuva uchinobaya
Rupango
Vakapera nhenda mudzimbahhwe
Vachaona mudondo
Vagadzi voushe
Muti unokope chirimo
Zhizha uchikozhendove
Mururamanhanga
Vesviromo svitokotoko
Svine nzungu inosvitsa dakataka
Dzimbahwe
Vorupazho rupwetepwete
Runonama imba
Vamatakaringa hwirika
Zvirume zvichiringa pasi
Dyembeu, kurima kwakona
Mutengeni wazvozvovenga
Mambo usitandavare
Kutandavara, mvura inobva mubvumbi
Vazvikwechekweche
Zvinonongwa nevavindukira
Asina kuvindukira anowana zvapera
Zvaenda nemwando.
Hekani nhandare
Mupfudze uri mudanga
Vokwa Bhasvi
Vanyoka haisvosvwi
Vedombo rakakona chimwango
nemagarangadya
Vematururamvura
Ziendavachisiya
Nyamutorazvose
Nyama tinodya
Mafuta tinozora
Mukaka tinomwa,
Nekusevesa sadza.
Debwe tinowarira
Nyanga igonamombe
Ndove tinodzurura mumba
Muswe ndewe Nhawo
Haiwa tatenda;
Varidzi venyika.
Zvaitwa Sahayi;
Muzinda wapasi;
Changamire.

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Moyondizvo dhewa!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s