Nyaudzosingwi| Many Shona words for 101 English verbs

This post was last updated on 22 February 2024.


Adverbs

Adverbs are words that modify or describe words such as verbs, adjectives, clauses, sentences, and even other adverbs. It is easy to think of adverbs as words ending with -ly, but that is not always the case really. Now, look at the example sentences below in which adverbs (in bold) have described a verb – ate, and an adjective – dry.

The dog ate quickly.

The grass had become very dry.

On the other hand, you could choose not to use adverbs and use a suitable verb. Instead of ‘ate quickly‘ you could have ‘gobbled, and instead of ‘very dry‘ you could have ‘brittle.’

Nyaudzosingwi

Nyaudzosingwi could be used to achieve the same outcome as that from the use of adverbs. Taking the two examples above, in ChiShona we could use nyaudzosingwi as follows:

Imbwa yakangoti kabu kabu.

Uswa hwakanga hwati shwangu.

Each nyaudzosingwi has replaced both the verb/ adjective and the adverb.

You could also choose not to use nyaudzosingwi, and just use a suitable verb; ‘kabura‘ instead of kabu kabu, and ‘shwanguka‘ instead of ‘shwangu.

Verbs and nyaudzosingwi

For this post, however, I will look at verbs only. And now that you have some background, take a look at the following list of verbs and some nyaudzosingwi for each. The table is organised as follows.

verbCHIITO
nyaudzosingwi (explanation in English)
Chirevo chine nyaudzosingwi.

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List of verbs and nyaudzosingwi
1. adhereNAMATIRA
namata (adhere strongly)
Wotoshandisa guruu rakasimba kuti mapepa acho anyatsoti namata.
2. appear suddenlyDZUMBUNUKA
dzumbunu (appear suddenly)
Murairidzi akangoerekana ati mukirasi dzumbunu.
3. applaud (and cheer)KUWERERA
kuwerere (applaud loudly)
Tose kuwerere! Nhasi timu yedu yahwinha!
4. apply carelesslyPUKUSHIRA
pukushu pukushu (apply carelessly)
Mafuta akangonzi pukushu pukushu.
5. approach stealthilyNYANGIRA
nyangi nyangi (approach stealthily)
Hatina kumunzwa achisvika nokuti akangoti nyangi nyangi.
6. arriveSVIKA
pfacha (arrive suddenly)
Akangoerekana ati pfacha pamusha, vanhu vagere zvavo.
7. beat
… beat lightlySVABURA
svabu (beat lightly)
Amai vakamuti svabu nekashamhu, mushure mokunge aita musikanzwa.
… beat severelyZVAMBURA
zvambu (beat severely)
Akanzi zvambu kusvika adura zvakanga zvaitika.
8. bendKOTAMA
kota kota (bend over continuously (e.g. when hoeing))
Kota kota mubanimo.
9. bite (take small bite)NYENYURA
nyenyu (take a small bite)
Akangoti pichisi nyenyu ndokuripotsera uko.
10. blinkBOIRA
boi boi (blink shamefacedly)
Akanga ongoti maziso boi boi.
11. blow
… blow awayPEPEREKA
peperere (blow away)
Mashizha aiti peperere nekuda kwekamhepo kaifura.
… blow gentlyFEFETA
fe-e (blow gently, steadily)
Kamhepo kaiti fe-e, kachinzwika kutonhorera kumeso.
12. bounceDHABHUKA
dhabhu (bounce slowly, but high)
Bhora rakasvikonoti dhabhu.
13. break
… break off a pieceNEPFURA
nepfu (break easily)
Akati chimedu chekeke nepfu achiratidza kunakirwa zvikuru.
… break with a snapTYOKA
ngotyo (break with a snap)
Gumbo recheya rakati ngotyo Chenai ndokudonhera pasi.

The example I used on 8 is a Shona riddle. You can click here (riddle 25) to see what it means.

On 13, the words bring out different forms of ‘break.’ Nepfura is transitive (requires an object to receive the action). The intranstive form of is nepfuka. On the other hand, tyoka is intransitive, and the transitive form is tyora. In addition, there are many nyaudzosingwi for ‘break’ as there are many verbs. You can take a look at some of these here.

14. breathe heavilyHATAIKA
hata hata (breathe heavily)
Achingonzwa zvakanga zvaitika akati hata hata nehasha.
15. burn fiercelyRIRIMA
ririri (burn fiercely)
Mazirimi emwoto akati ririri nesango.
16. chew noisilyCHANYURA
chanyau chanyau (chew noisily)
Waingonzwa chanyau chanyau, chiri chimwana chaidya manhuchu.
17. clap
… clap hands repeatedlyKWAKWADZA
kwa kwa kwa (clap as done by men)
Kwa kwa kwa, makurukota akauchira achikwazisa Tambaoga .
… clap cupped handsBUBUDZA
bu bu bu (clap as done by women)
Amai vakatenda mwana wavo, bu bu bu, “maita basa Chirandu.”
18. climb KWIRA
kanyan’anya (climb up quickly)
Mbada yakati muti kanyan’anya.
19. coverTIBIKA
tiba (cover suddenly)
Akanyangira kambwa nekumashure ndokunokati nejira tiba.
20. crackTSEMUKA
tsetserere (crack extensively)
Chiringiriro chakati nepakati tsetserere.
21. crawl/ come out (long thing)ZVAZVANUKA
zvazvanu (crawl out like a long thing does)
Zigarwe rakati zvazvanu richibuda munyanza.
22. crouchHWATATA
hwata (crouch quickly)
Mbada yakati hwata ichigadzirira kusvarukira mhembwe yaiva seri kwechikwenzi.
23. depart
… depart quicklyHUTUKA
hutu (depart quickly)
Shungu akangosimudza bhegi rake ndiye hutu.
… depart unobtrusivelyNYERUKA
nyeru (depart unobtrusively)
Akangoti nyeru vanhu vakavarairwa.
24. descendBURUKA
buru buru (descend quickly)
Kwakatanga kunaya ari pamusoro pemba, iye ndokubva angoti nemanera buru buru.
25. describe (fully)DONONGODZA
donongo (describe fully)
Musikana akamira pamberi pedare ndokuti donongo mamirire ainge akaita nzvimbo yakaitikira tsaona.
26. desireDOKWAIRA
dokwa dokwa (desire strongly)
Mujubheki akanga ava nemakore asina kuenda kumusha. Aiti kungokufunga chete, mwoyo woti dokwa dokwa.
27. dig vigorouslyKADABURA
kadabu (vigorously)
Muvaki aichera akasimudza piki ndokunoti pasi kadabu.
28. disarrangeBVANGANYURA
bvandanyu (disarrange roughly)
Zvose zvaingonzi bvandanyu, Shungu achitsvaga mari yake.
29. doITA
si (do habitually)
Maria anoti si netsika yake yekumhanya mangwanani oga oga.
chichi (do intensely)
Kana afunga zvake kuita basa anoti naro chichi.
30. dressPFEKA
popopo (dress smartly)
Shungu akasvika pamuchato akati popopo.
31. drink
… drink noisilyGABIDIDZA
gabidi gabidi (drink noisily)
Waingonzwa gabidi gabidi, pfuko iri pamuromo.
… drink quicklyGWAKWAIDZA
gwakwai (drink quickly)
Akasimudza chipfuko, doro rose ndokunzi gwakwai.
… drink (up) completelyKWEKWETA
kwekwetu (drink (up) completely)
VaPfocho vakagadzika chipfuko pasi mushure mokunge doro rose variti kwekwetu.
… drink by taking a small mouthfulDZVUTA
dzvutu (drink by taking a small mouthful)
“Harisi kunaka here, iro ramangoti dzvutu muchibva maisa pfuko pasi?” vakadaro VaGogoti kuna VaPfocho.
32. dripDONHA
do do do (drip continuously)
Mvura yakaswera ichingoti do do do kubva papombi yakanga isina kusungwa zvakasimba.
33. eat
… eat greedilyDZAURA
dzau (eat greedily)
Imbwa yakakandirwa bhonzo ndokuriti dzau.
… eat hungrilyKACHAURA
kacha (eat hungrily)
Mwana akanga anzwa nenzara. Akasvikogara pasi ndokuti ranjisi kacha.
… eat quicklyKABIRA
kabu kabu (eat quickly)
Anogoti kabu kabu kunge munhu ava negore asina kudya seiko?
… eat up completelyPEPETURA
pepetu (eat up completely)
Sadza rako ranga richinaka fani; ranzi rose pepetu.
34. enterPINDA
kwede (enter easily)
Bhutsu dzakati kurei ndidzo dzitsvene. Tsoka inongonoti kwede.
tititi (enter gently)
Akazarura gonhi zvinyoronyoro achinoti tititi mumba.
ngori (enter quickly)
Kakonzo kakangoti ngori mumwena.
35. explain (fully)DODORODZA
dodoro (explain fully)
Musikana akanyatsoti nyaya yake dodoro pamberi pedare.
36. fall (heavily and roll)BHIDHIRIKA
bhidhiri (fall heavily and roll)
Muti uno mukuru wakarohwa nemheni ndokunoti bhidhiri pakati pemugwagwa.
This man is drinking from a ‘pfuko,’ sometimes called ‘chipfuko.’ The vessel is small and has a narrow-mouthed neck, making it suitable for drinking. See example sentences under ‘drink’ for references made to ‘pfuko.’

There are many nyaudzosingwi for ‘fall’ as there are many verbs. You can take a look at these many forms here.

37. find unexpectedlyDUMBUNURA
dumbunuru (find unexpectedly)
Ndakazongoti dumbunuru bhutsu yandainge ndapedza mwedzi ndichitsvaga.
38. finish completelyTSVANGURA
tsvangu (finish completely)
Takazosara totemura mushure mokunge muriwo wose wanzi tsvangu.
39. fit looselyNGURA-NGURA
nguru nguru (fit loosely)
Badza racho raingoti nguru nguru ndichisakura.
40. flashN’AIKA
n’a dzi n’a dzi (flash intermittently)
Tochi yaiti n’a dzi n’a dzi imo murima.
41. flavour excessivelyCHIKIDIDZA
chikidi (flavour excessively)
Munyu wakanzi chikidi mumuriwo.
42. flow noisilyKOPOTA
kopo kopo (flow noisily)
Rwizi rwakanga rwakazara, mvura ichiti kopo kopo.
43. follow in successionPITIPIDZA
pitipiti (follow in succession)
Mombe dzakati pitipiti kupinda mudanga.
44. get up
… get up quicklyWASHUKA
washu (get up quickly)
Chenai angoti washu achibva atiza.
… get up weaklyTARATADZUKA
taratadzu (get up weakly)
Shingai akazosara oti taratadzu mbavha dzainge dzamurova dzatotiza.
45. glance shylyDZVAZURA
dzvau (glance shyly)
Ndakabva ndamuti dzvau ndichisekerera.
46. glare angrilyDZVOKORA
dzvoko (glare angrily)
Akamuti dzvoko akavhurisa maziso nehasha.
47. goENDA
nyn’a (go away and never return)
Akabva azongoti nyn’a vasina kupedzerana.
… go out quicklyDHUGUKA
dhu (go out quickly)
Chenai angoti mumota dhugu achibva atiza.
48. grip firmlyMBANDIDZA
mbandi (grip firmly)
Mukomana akanga oda kutiza ndokubva anzi ruoko mbandi.

Dzvazura and dzvokora are both verbs for ‘tarisa,’ in the same way ‘glance’ and ‘glare’ are related to the verb ‘look.’

49. hang – head (sadly)SURUDUDIKA
surududu (hang head to show sadness)
VaKufakunesu vakanga vogara vakati musoro surududu.
50. happenITIKA
divi (happen unexpectedly)
Mvura yakangoti divi zvokuti akashaya mukana wekubvisa hembe pawaya.
51. holdBATA
dzvi (hold firmly)
Shungu akanga oda kusimuka ndokubva anzi ruoko dzvi naamai vake vainge vagere pedo naye.
kwirivindi (hold by wrapping arms around)
Akanga akanzi kwirivindi zvokuti akashaya kuti otiza sei.
52. jab painfullyNJODOGORA
njodogo (jab painfully)
Akanzi njodogo pachipfuva.
53. jump backFETUKA
fetu (jump back)
Aifambisa, ndokungoerekana ati fetu.
54. kick backwardsPAGAMURA
pagamu (kick backwards)
Nhunzvi yehwai yakati gonhi pagamu richibva ravhurika.
Nhunzvi yehwai yakati gonhi pagamu richibva ravhurika.
55. kneel (fall slowly to knees)RWODODOKA
rwododo (fall slowly to one’s knees)
Akadzadzarika ndokusvikonoti rwododo.
56. land DONHERA
ja (land heavily)
Vakakanda saga rechibage rikasvikonoti ja pamusoro pemamwe.
57. laugh
… laugh sillilyPFIPFIDZA
pfi pfi (laugh sillily)
Tusikana twaingoti pfi pfi tuchizevezera.
… laugh heartilyGWIBUKA
gwibu (laugh heartily)
Akangomutarisa ndokubva ati gwibu zvake.
58. leave suddenlySHAPURA
shapu (leave suddenly)
Akangoti shapu asina kumbotaura nemunhu.
59. listen intentlyTETEKERA
bengwa (listen intently)
Akambomira kufamba ndokuti bengwa.
60. missKWASVA
kwasve (miss narrowly)
Bhora rakanoti gedhe kwasve.
61. move
… move apartTARAMUKA
taramu (move apart)
Itii taramu murege kuungana pano.
… move jerkilyZENGUKA
zengu zengu (move jerkily)
Mugwagwa wacho une makomba makomba, saka ngoro yanga ichingoti zengu zengu chibage chichirasikira mumugwagwa.
… move laboriouslyKARAKATIKA
karakata (move laboriously)
Kakomana kaiti karakata kachizvuva zisaga rechibage.
… move quietlyVERERA
verere (move quietly)
Sekai achiona Simon, mukomana waakanga aramba zuro wacho, akabva ati verere achibva pamabiko.
… move slowlyNANAIRA
nanai nanai (move slowly)
Amai vakazvitakura vaifamba zvavo vachiti nanai nanai chindumurwa chavo chichitevera mumashure.

There are many English verbs that relate to motion. Nyaudzosingwi will help tell apart things such as a swift move from a slow move, and a smooth move from a jerky one. But then again, there are just as many ChiShona verbs!

62. penetrate deeplyTIPITIRA
tipi tipi (penetrate deeply)
Munzwa wakati tipi tipi muzigunwe rake.
63. pinch lightly and painfullyNDWIDZA
ndwi (pinch lightly and painfully)
Zipi yakamuti ndwi kumusana.
64. pour out small amountTSVOTIDZA
tsvoti (pour out small amount)
Akatora mukaka ndokuti tsvoti mutii yake.
65. probe roughlyNJODOGORA
njodogo (probe roughly)
Akati njodogo mumwena netsvimbo.
66. put downGADZIKA
ji (put down heavily)
Akatora bhokisi ndokuriti ji patafura.
… put down quicklyTSVETA
tsve (put down quickly)
Ndangosvikoti foni yake tsve patafura.
67. rainNAYA
wa wa wa (rain lightly)
Mvura yakangoti wa wa wa ichibva yamira.
kaka kaka (start to rain heavily)
Mvura yakati kaka kaka vanhu vaiva panze ndokumhanyira mumba.
68. refuseRAMBA
chanja (refuse peremptorily)
de (refuse rudely)
kakava (refuse stubbornly)
69. rejoiceFARA
faru (rejoice intensely)
70. remove
… remove article of clothingKATANURA
katanu(remove article of clothing)
Akati bhachi katanu.
… remove forcefullyKWACHURA
kwachu (remove forcefully)
Akabata mapeji ose mubhuku ndokuati kwachu.
WAWURA
wau (remove violently (as wind does))
Denga remba rakanzi wawu nemhepo yaivhuvhuta zvine simba.
71. rise
… rise and go (many)DZVAMUKA
dzvamu (rise and go (many))
Vanhu vose vakabva vangoti dzvamu mushure memusangano.
… rise and stand slowlyMARAMANYIKA
maramanya (rise and stand slowly)
Akaona vanhu vose vamutarisa ndokubva ati maramanya.
… rise quickly and vigorously
(from lying position)
KWARAKWASHUKA
kwarakwashu (rise quickly and vigorously (from lying position))
Akaona imbwa ichimhanya yakamunanga ndiye kwarakwashu achibva atiza.

The many nyaudzosingwi for ‘rise’ speak to different ways, or different things. For instance, rising from sitting, rising smoke, and rising from sleep.

72. roll
BVUMBURUKA
bvumburu (roll on back in dusty ground)
Akadonha kubva pabhasikoro ndokunoti bvumburu.
BHIDHIRIKA
bhidhiri bhidhiri (roll on ground, heavy resounding object)
Danda rakadonhera pasi ndokusvikonoti bhidhiri bhidhiri.
73. runMHANYA
puka puka (run here and there, in search)
Amai vakanga vongoti puka puka vakabata musoro.
si (run after)
Imbwa yakati katsi si.
wiririri (run fast)
Imbwa yakabvuta nyama ndokuti wiririri.
74. scratch
GWABVURA
gwabvu (scratch deeply)
Aikwenya dumbu achiita zvekuti gwabvu.
MWARAURA
mwarau (scratch extensively with paws)
Katsi yakamuti kumeso mwarau.
75. scream shrillyNJIRIRIKA
njiriri (scream shrilly)
Kamwana kakati njiriri kachitamba zvako.
76. shinePENYA
jenen’ene (shine brightly)
banan’ana (shine clearly)
77. shoutDEEDZERA
tekedza (shout disrespectfully)
78. sitGARA
bwerekeshe (sit down on ground, ponderously and ungracefully)
Zigadzi rakasvikoti pasi bwerekeshe.
bamakata (sit down quietly, shyly)
Akapinda ndokunoti bamakata pamberi pevanhu vese.
pwasha (sit doing nothing)
Akanga akangoti pweshe pamumvuri vamwe vachisakura.
susuva (sit sorrowfully)
Vakanga vari panze vakati susuva zvatakasvika tichibata maoko.

You will notice that the nyaudzosingwi for ‘sit’ do not only relate to the way in which one sits down, but also to one’s state while they are seated.

Gara‘ is an interesting type of verb; the action continues yet the act has been completed. As a result, for verbs of this nature the Shona forms of the simple non-recent past and present progressive tenses are the same. For example, ‘I sat’ is ‘Ndakagara,’ which is also what you would again use for ‘I am sitting’ .

For other verbs, those two sentences would not be similar. For example, ‘I ate’ is ‘Ndakadya.’ while ‘I am eating’ is ‘Ndiri kudya.’

Because of these differences, it is not unusual to hear a Shona language learner say ‘Ndiri kugara.’ (which is incorrect), instead of ‘Ndakagara.’

79. slapROVA
ta (slap lightly)
Akangonzi ta padama ndokubva aridza mhere.
… slap hardDZEMURA
dzemu (slap hard)
Akanzi zimbama dzemu.
80. sleep deeplyPFODORA
pfodo (sleep soundly)
Akati hope pfodo masikati machena.
81. smile
… smile slightlyNYEKURA
nyeku (smile slightly)
Akangoti nyeku ndokubva atarisa pasi.
… smile toothlesslyVENYUKA
venyu (smile toothlessly)
Kamwana kacheche kakati venyu kakanditarisa.
82. speak
… speak confusedlyNZANZATA
nzanza (speak confusedly)
Aingoti nzanza zvekuti tose takafunga kuti aiva nemhosva.
… speak figurativelyDIMIKA
dimi (speak figuratively)
Akati dimi tikashaya kuti vairevei.
… say (something) aloudBUFURA
bufu (say (something) aloud)
Ndaitya zvekuti handina kana kuti bufu.
83. spread (fire)HAVAIRA
hava (spread (fire))
Moto wakati hava nesango.
84. stabBAYA
bayu (stab quickly)
Mbavha yakangomuti bayu padumbu ndokubvuta bhegi rake.
bwa (stab strongly)
Akatora banga ndokunoti saga bwa neshungu.
… stab deeplyTUBVURA
tubvu (stab deeply)
Akasimudza pfumo ndokunoti naro tubvu padumbu pemhembwe.
85. standMIRA
ndingwi (stand stiffly)
Mapurisa akaramba akati ndingwi, mutangamiriri wenyika achipfuura nepamberi pavo.
… stand in unmannerly wayMIRIZIKA
mirizizi (stand in unmannerly way)
‘Vana vakatinyadzisa nekungoti mirizizi pamberi pevaenzi.
… stand weaklyRATYAMARA
ratyama (stand weakly)
Kamhuru kainge kachangozvarwa kakanga kakati ratyama, kachiita sekachapunzika.
86. stand upSIMUKA
nyamu (stand up quickly)
Agara pachigaro asina kuona zvipikiri zvakarovererwapo; angoti nyamu pakarepo.
kwanyanu (stand up slowly)
Chembere yakati kwanyanu, ichiratidza kuti yairwadziwa zvikuru.
87. stare angrilyDZVOKORA
dzvoko (stare angrily)
Akanga akanzi dzvoko zvokuti haana kukwanisa kuzotaura zvaaida.+-
88. strike (heavily with open hand)BHAMADZA
bhama (strike heavily with open hand)
Akanzi kumusana bhama, achibva anowira pasi.
89. sway VHEYA
vhe-e-vhe-e (sway backwards and forwards)
Kamwana kakati vhe-e vhe-e kari pamuzerere.
90. suck noisilyKWEKWETA
kwekwetu (suck noisily)
VaPfocho vakabata mukombe vachibva vati doro kwekwetu.
91. swallow audiblyKUDYURA
kudyu(swallow audibly)
Ndakakanda chimusuva chesadza mukanwa ndokubva ndangochiti kudyu.
92. swell
… swell quicklyTUTURUKA
tu tu tu zai (swell quickly)
Ndarumwa pamuromo uchibva wangoti tu tu tu zai, pakarepo.
… swell visiblyFUTUNUKA
futunu (swell visibly)
Miromo yake yakanga yakati futunu.
93. talk
… talk quickly/ a great dealROPORA
ropo (talk quickly)
Tose takaramba takamutarisa achingoti ropo.
… talk carelesslyBVOTOMOKA
bvoto (talk without thinking)
Maidei akabva ati zvese bvoto, amai vake vakashaya pekupinda nenyadzi.
… talk nonsesnePWESHUKA
pwetere pwetere (talk nonsense)
Hapana aimbomuteerera achingoti pwetere pwetere.
94. thinkFUNGA
kutu kutu (think deeply)
Akati kutu kutu kufunga agere zvake chinyararire mumumvuri weberevere remba.
95. uncoverFUGURA
fugu (uncover quickly)
Simon akabata jira ndokuriti kamwechete fugu, apa hana ichirova zvakasimba.
96. vomitRUTSA
ho (vomit noisily)
Akangoti achipedza kumedza, ndiye pakarepo ho kurutsa.
… vomit suddenlyBUKURA
buku (vomit suddenly)
Akati buku agere, marutsi achibva anoti patya pabhuku raiva pagumbo.
97. wake up
… wake up suddenlyPARAPATIKA
parapata (wake up suddenly)
Paakatema imbwa yaiva ivete, yakabva yati parapata, simu, ichibva yatiza.
98. walk
… walk slowly, tiredlyGWEDAIRA
gweda gweda (walk slowly, tiredly)
Zigadzi rakanga rongoti gweda gweda, rodzokera kumba, badza riri pafudzi.
… walk gentlyNYAVAIRA
nyava nyava (walk gently)
Wotoita zvekuti nyava nyava uchipinda mubhedhuru, nokuti mune mwana avete.
… walk brisklyPIKUKA
piku piku (walk briskly)
Mukoti akati piku piku achienda kunobatsira murwere akanga achangopinda mukiriniki.
99. workSHANDA
rengwende rengwende (work half-heartedly)
Sakuro haraifamba naivo vakomana vaingoti rengwende rengwende.
100. wrestleKIKIRIKA
kikiri kikiri (wrestle strenously)
Varume vaviri vakabatana huro ndokuti kikiri kikiri.
101. wrinkleFENENYEDZA
fenenya (wrinkle disdainfully)
Vakaramba vakamutarisa, apa kumeso kwakanzi fenenya.
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I really hope this goes a long way in helping you with understanding nyaudzosingwi. Currently, most words do not have example sentences. These are way too many words to get it done soon enough! I will however be continually updating, so stay in touch!


The analyses on grammar, and examples used, are based on my understanding. They are given in no professional or expert capacity. Ideophones were sourced from Hannan S.J, Standard Shona Dictionary (Revised Edition, College Press). Illustration of sheep knocking down door is by Jesse Breytenbach, and was published under a CC BY 4.0 license on StoryWeaver.


Mutupo ndiani?

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