Polygamy in traditional Shona society, as told in ‘Tambaoga Mwanangu’

A polygamous family I’ve just started reading ‘Tambaoga Mwanangu.’ This is a story about how an eighteen year old boy, Tambaoga, went about trying to solve the mystery of the murder of his father VaMupakaviri, the king. I haven’t gotten to the end, but I’m sure he succeeded. Tambaoga came from a polygamous family. The … Read more

Kudhonza (female genital practice)| When women go to great lengths for great …

A young girl’s story While attending boarding school back in 1989 at a respectable church run institution located outside Harare, Ndaizivei (not real name) was forced to stretch her labia minora at the tender age of nine. ‘I told the other girls I was not going to do so, and when the matron caught wind … Read more

Ukama| 5 rules to understand Shona family vocabulary

The Shona trace a person’s descent through the paternal line In Shona society, a person’s descent is traced through the paternal line. This means both males and females belong to their father’s patrilineage (rudzi) and not their mother’s.  Only the males will continue to pass their family identity to their children. Because of this, a … Read more

4 lessons for my daughter, from prior generations of Zimbabwean women

The generational relay Many of the things my mother taught me, she learned from her mother. I, in turn, teach my daughter even without intending to. To each generation, knowledge is relayed, and so is the untaught duty to prepare the next. For younger generations, the appeal of our continent continues to wane. A continent … Read more

Mutupo| 6 interesting things you should know about Shona totems, praise names and poetry

This post was last updated on 10 June 2022. Mutupo, chidao and detembo redzinza Mutupo (plural is mitupo) is the word for totem. Chidao/ Chidawo (plural is zvidao/ zvidawo) refers to a praise name identifying a sub-clan. Detembo redzinza (plural is nhetembo dzemadzinza) is the praise poem of a clan. The mutupo system is an … Read more