Soko Kumene

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Soko Kumene 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, Kumene is the chidawo for the totem.

Soko Kumene, which belongs to the main Soko totem has a close relationship with the monkey and its taboos include refraining from monkey meat. The Soko Kumene people have sacred respect for monkeys which have a symbolic meaning to them. It has for long been used as a form of identity; identifying people of belonging to that 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 Soko Kumene 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.

Shona Praise Poem

Maita Soko,
Soko Makwiramiti,
Zvaitwa Kumene,
YokwaMasawi naNyamhuno,
Inogodoranwa vana vakadya
. Maita vokwaMadooehanga,
VokwaMutiwawa naChikanga,
Maita vokwaChinamavi,
Mahomuhomu, mufamba ndichitapudza,
Kuti nhumbu ipeveve,
Vakasvuuka magaro nokuda zvituru,
VaDeredzo, vari muMhedza,
Vane mhezi pamwoyo,
Kwamunodaniwa muchienda,
Nyika ndeyenyu Chiwere.
Aiwa zvaitwa Kumene,
Pasi ngapavate Matarira,
Mwana waMutinhima,
Zvaonekwa Dzivaremvura.