Tsiwo Gushungo is a Zimbabwean totem/mutupo/isibongo. The totem has a very long history among the indigenous societies which include the Shona, the Ndebele, Tonga, Venda, Kalanga, among others. Every totem has a branch which distinguishes it from the others. In Shona, these small branches are referred to as chidawo in Shona. In this particular instance, Gushungo is the chidawo for the totem.

The Gushungo people are found in all parts of the country but there is a considerable population in the Zvimba, Chinhoyi and Makonde areas of Mashonaland Central Province. Tsiwo Gushungo, which belongs to the main Shumba/Gushungo cluster to lions and its taboos include refraining from lion meat. It has for long been used as a form of identity; identifying people of a particular totem with a unique social, economic, or historical background and past. It was thus a common unifying factor which bound together individuals, families and clans.

Totems in Zimbabwe are not a thing of the past despite the changes that have come with time. Many people are still identified by their respective totems. Like other totems in Zimbabwe, the Moyo Nematombo totem is used in addressing people, by and large the elders, and is associated with family dignity and respect. It has also been used in praise poetry, thanksgiving, even in times of mourning.

See Totems, Zimbabwe.

Shona Praise Poem

Maita Gushungo,
Muchero waNegondo,
Maita Tsiwo,
Usavi hwavamwe varume,
Kugara pasi kusimuka zvinohwira vhu,
Musati hutukwa,
Mutupo ndowenyu.
Tatenda varidzi venyika,
Vakabva Guruuswa,
Varidzi vamazhanje.
Maita vokwaZvimba,
Vazere muChakona,
Vene vamachiri namakute,
Vano kutizira kunenge kudyara nzungu,
Vakapangura nyika ino,
Ichakatsitswa nezamu,
Vomutupo weGushungo,
Vari Chipata naMaringohwe.
Aiwa mwana waZvimba,
Zvaitwa vaNgonya[1]


  1. , Tsiwo Gushungo,Harare Tees, retrieved:16 Mar 2015"