Period just before dawn

  • Mashambanzou –  These are the ‘wee hours’ of the morning. Elephants are known to be very prone to skin parasites. They use mud and dust baths to try and get rid of them, as well as to cool off.


  • Rufuramhembwe – It is the time of weak sunlight – sunlight first appears. This is the grazin time of the duiker, when it is cool. Duikers are notorious for crop raiding; therefore, traps can be set for them in the fields.
  • Runyanhiriri. Nhiriri is a wild cat. In agricultural areas, livestock is preyed on by such predators.
  • Vamba means ‘commence.’ -kwedza is from kuedza. Edza means ‘be light/ bright.’

Morning twilight

  • Rukungurima. Kweru -This describes the period between darkness and daylight, from dawn to sunrise.

Early morning just after sunrise

  • Mazambambira – When dassies sun themselves. Mbira is the Shona word for dassie – a small herbivorous mammal.

Time of morning when dew is still on the ground

  • Rugumabeto. Rupumhadova –  Guma and pumha are words that mean ‘to shake off.’ Beto refers to water that is suspended on grass. Dova is the word for dew.

General for early morning

  • Mangwananingwanani
  • Rungwanangwana

General for morning

  • Mangwanani – This is also the opening statement for the Shona morning greeting.

First heat of day

  • Madziyamushana. Madziyazuva. RudziyakamweMushana refers to the morning sunshine.



  • Mazeruza. Rufuramhembwe. Ruvhunzavaen – Duikers (mhembwe) also browse at dusk. When it is beginning to get dark, travellers will seek somewhere to put up for the night.


  • Mazariramombe – This is the time cattle are put away to their kraal, after having spent the day grazing.


  • MadeukazuvaDeuka is used in reference to the sun meaning ‘set.’

Evening Twilight:

  • Rukungurima. Rukunguvira –  Rukungurima is used again to refer to the morning twilight.


  • Masikati – This refers to the time of the day from about midday to late afternoon.


  • Usiku – This is commonly used to refer to the darkest hours of the day.

2 thoughts on “Nguva”

  1. Good day
    My name is Edward Chataika, am currently working on my PHD thesis majoring in philosophy. My thesis is essentially based on evaluating / conceptualizing wisdom/ knowledge held in pre-colonial Zimbabwe. May I kindly enlist your assistance with editorial work to refine my thesis before submission.

    Thank you in advance



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