These stories are based on the accounts of ordinary Zimbabweans - the experts from whom the content on ZimbOriginal is sourced.

A Shona legend| The vaHera’s chief and a cave

By ZimbOriginal | January 8, 2023 | 0 Comments

A legend is a traditional story that is believed to be true. Some legends on the origins of the Shona people detail how large societies separated, resulting in smaller groups heading in different directions. One such legend is that of Dukute, a chief of the Hera people. The legend of the vaHera’s chief Dukute and … Read more

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

By ZimbOriginal | October 31, 2022 | 2 Comments

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

Mutupo| challenges of the ‘mutupo’ system in modern society

By ZimbOriginal | June 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

A breakdown in the transmission of cultural knowledge My grandmother is over a hundred years old. Now too old to live alone, she lives with my mother. I pay her a visit one Sunday afternoon. We spread a reed mat (rukukwe) outside the house and sit while watching two toddlers as they play. I strike … Read more

Indigenous religion in Zimbabwe| 5 key ‘chivanhu’ ritual festivals

By ZimbOriginal | March 30, 2021 | 8 Comments

Recurring cycle-based religious festivals For this post, I will refer to indigenous religion in Zimbabwe as chivanhu. This is a term used to refer to the traditional way of life of the indigenous peoples of Zimbabwe. It is also commonly used in reference to beliefs and practices of indigenous religion. In indigenous religion, the ordinary … Read more

Tsumo| 20 Shona proverbs to inspire good work habits

By ZimbOriginal | November 30, 2020 | 6 Comments

Tsumo on work tell a story of a hard-working society, and give the picture that agriculture was the mainstay of the economy of the Shona people. The most important activity of the greatest number of people was the growing of crops for food. When the hoe came into existence with the spread of the Iron … Read more

broken eggshells

Nyaudzosingwi| Breaking down 70 ideophones of breaking

By ZimbOriginal | October 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

In lay terms, ideophones are words that stand out (are ‘marked’) and whose form betrays something of (is depictive of) their meaning. The following 70 ideophones (nyaudzosingwi) describe the act of breaking. I made reference to the Standard Shona Dictionary (M. Hannan, S.J.) for descriptions. I have given examples that hopefully betray the meanings of the ideophones. … Read more


My 5 ingredients for helping children with Shona language learning

By ZimbOriginal | September 12, 2020 | 4 Comments

Culture and language are inextricably intertwined. Over the past year or so, I have done a lot of research and writing on Shona culture and related matters. Consequently, I have also done a lot of research on the Shona language. Lots of people have asked me why I do it, obviously surprised that I studied … Read more

shona afrikaans word bubbles

63 Shona words you didn’t know were borrowed from Afrikaans

By ZimbOriginal | August 15, 2020 | 2 Comments

It is common knowledge that a few Shona words have an Afrikaans influence. I recently came across one that I found surprising, leading me to do some digging up. Along the way, I got to learn some interesting things about Afrikaans. If your prefer, choose a link below to go straight to the particular heading, … Read more

sadza and milk

35 different sorts of sadza. Or, is it porridge?

By ZimbOriginal | July 19, 2020 | 4 Comments

There is more to porridge than a simple breakfast cereal dish. Sadza, generally described in English as a stiff meal porridge, is the highlight of traditional Zimbabwean cuisine. Almost any Zimbabwean can make this dish. Growing up, I wasn’t aware of much variety in the manner sadza was cooked. In more recent times, however, I … Read more

Tsumo| 6 things I have learned through analysing over 200 Shona proverbs

By ZimbOriginal | July 13, 2020 | 2 Comments

Over the past few months, I have taken time to analyse over 200 Shona proverbs, just out of interest. Some of them have motivated me to gain an understanding of the context from which they were constructed, be it a cultural practice or natural phenomenon. Others I have had to first understand literally, while others … Read more

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    About Shungu

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    Shungu is the voice behind ZimbOriginal. She has a restless hand and a penchant for discovery. Her upbringing is fairly balanced between an urban and rural setting. The urban - pretty basic and spent almost entirely in boarding school. The rural - not so glorious and filled with all the dreaded chores that come with keeping a rural homestead going. Shungu is a qualified chartered management accountant and currently lives in Harare, Zimbabwe. Learn more.

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