The meaning of names

By Dumisanu Kufaruwenga

These are the names of my people.

There was Chikondo the little eagle, my brother baba Sekai who never swooped, my brother Godfrey who never stole hapless chicks, in the manner an eagle does.

He was fast with his fists though.

There was Magarinya my father’s young brother, whose name means he who meddles in muddy waters with murderous intent.

But all he did was protect his family with an iron fist.

There was Vakai the builder, my father’s elder brother who was fast with his wit.

He is credited with constructing the huts of VaMasama’s eight wives.

And there was also my father’s elder brother Mandunya, yes you’re right, the one whose anger made him mad. .

Mandunya means the crazy one.

But he danced to the traditional drum with shakes tied to his calfs, with pure joy in his heart.

Karume means the small man who is loved by women, he was my father’s young brother who everyone loved.

But he died anywhere.

There was my father’s young brother who was strict, people called him Musinja The Forthright.

Musinja is the Shona version of the English word Messenger, for he was a messenger who accomplished his mission.

VaMukoma means the eldest brother, for Majuta was so named because he was the first born of my grandfather VaMasama The Great.

He demanded the respect due to him with the officialdom of long lost tradition and custom.

The little donkey that kicks..

VaChidhongi chinokava!

Macheka is a swift bird of prey. It kills and catches and eats what it kills.

But my father’s elder brother who was so named, was however a sombre gentleman who never hurt a soul.

Forget about a predatory bird which kills.

My sister Faith was called Chizharawanya, for she was born in that year when a popular maize seed was replaced with a new one, which produced tremendous results.

She gave birth to a bright boy called Obry.

And there was Ndobe my own father. His name means the one who was born in a swamp. But he rose from the damp and became the greatest teacher that ever lived.

My brother Joshua, father of Doreen, was born Kumbirai The Beggar.

But he never begged for anything in his lifetime.

Bamnini Baba Shepherd was called Mota because he was born in the year when the first motor vehicle was sighted in our village.

He never owned one.

My young brother Tapera”s name means we have perished. But Tapera has prospered and has a progeny of dazzling twin daughters and a doughty son.

I am called Dumisani which means glorify.

For all glory should be given to them above. 

And to those who left us.

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