The interface between toponyms, hydronyms and geography: The case of selected Shona names from three provinces in Zimbabwe

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 36, issue 2, 2016, pages: 243–249
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2016.1252028
Author(s): Jacob MaparaInstitute of Lifelong Learning and Development Studies, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Living Heritage, Zimbabwe, Godwin MakaudzeDepartment of African Languages and Literature, Zimbabwe


This paper argues that naming has always been a serious activity among the Shona of Zimbabwe. The people have always used names not only to express their emotions, but have also used place names or toponyms to explain cultural activities and describe the natural and physical environment surrounding them. In an effort to bring out this interesting facet of the Shona naming practice, the researchers embarked on research covering Manicaland, Masvingo and the Midlands provinces. The paper concludes by arguing that place names are valuable not only to historians and anthropologists, but also to economic and physical geographers in the realm of what is called cultural geography today. It is also a wake-up call for researchers in different areas to use multidisciplinary approaches to their studies.

Get new issue alerts for South African Journal of African Languages