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102 Zimbabwean Shona Names for Boys

The Shona culture in Africa has many unique boy names. Learn the top Shona names for boys in Zimbabwe and name meanings.
102 Zimbabwean Shona Names for Boys
Updated: October 3, 2023
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The Shona people are an African ethnic group that lives mainly in Zimbabwe. Roughly 80% of people who identify as Shona live in Zimbabwe, with the other 20% living in Kenya and neighboring countries throughout Africa.

The Shona culture has many unique names for boys that are not commonly used in Western cultures. However, if you want to pay tribute to your ancestral roots, Shona names have strong and traditional meanings. 

We’ve compiled over a hundred Shona baby boy names and their meanings. Discover more about the Shona culture and check out these top Shona names for boys. 

Related: The 100 Coolest Baby Names in the World


Nature Shona Baby Names for Boys + Meanings 

While many people in Zimbabwe use English first names, it is common for those who go with a traditional baby name to choose a Shona baby name.  Many Shona baby names are inspired by their relationship with nature and spirituality.

  1. Chiedza - Morning light, sunrise. 
  2. Gondo - Eagle. 
  3. Goridhe- Gold.
  4. Hungwe- Eagle.
  5. Kama - Milk. 
  6. Kwayedza- Sunrise. 
  7. Pasi - The Earth is cruel. 
  8. Maguir - Maize cob. 
  9. Mangwanani- Morning. 
  10. Meso - Eyes. 
  11. Mhuvi - Elephant. 
  12. Muchero- Fruit. 
  13. Mufudzi- Shepherd. 
  14. Mwoyo- Heart. 
  15. Rupenyu- Life.
  16. Shindi- Squirrel. 
  17. Shumba - Lion.
  18. Tsuru - Hare. 
  19. Zuva- The sun.

Unique Shona Boy Names + Meanings 

hot of an adorable little boy enjoying a piggyback ride with his father in a garden
Getty Images

These Shona boy names have unique and creative meanings. 

  1. Andoya - One who eats. An excellent name for a hungry baby!
  2. Ashirai- To receive. 
  3. Babandiishe - A father is the head of the house. 
  4. Batsirai- Help or helper. 
  5. Bvumai - To admit. 
  6. Chaipa - What has gone wrong? Perhaps an inauspicious name for a baby. 
  7. Chamai- Belonging to mother.
  8. Chenjerai- To be cautious. 
  9. Chenziri- Born on the road. 
  10. Chipo - Gift.
  11. Chuma - Wealth. 
  12. Farai - Rejoice. 
  13. Garai- Settled. This name is used throughout Africa, including Egypt and some Latin American countries. 
  14. Itai- Keep doing your thing. A fun, laid-back name!
  15. Kapomba - Very old. 
  16. Kutenda - A unisex name meaning to thank. 
  17. Maiba - Grave. 
  18. Majaya- A name given to the last child born to a family. 
  19. Makopa - You have copied English. 
  20. Mazvita - Thank you. 
  21. Mudiwa - My affection or loved one. 
  22. Pirai- Please, the ancestors. 
  23. Takudzwa - We have been honored. 
  24. Tamuka- We’ve awakened. 
  25. Tanaka- A gender-neutral name meaning we are good. Tanaka is also a Japanese name that means dweller. 
  26. Tapfuuma- We are rich. 
  27. Tauya - We are here, or we are arrived. 
  28. Tinotenda - Thank you. 
  29. Tofara- Rationality. 
  30. Tonderayi- Remembrance. 
  31. Wataida - The one you really loved.
  32. Zinyoro - The silent one. 
  33. Zuva - A gender-neutral name that means day. 

Shona Names for Boys with Spiritual Meanings

The traditional Shona religion recognizes the god Mwari, the creator and sustainer of the universe. However, unlike many Western religions, the Shona people don’t believe they can directly communicate with the divine. Therefore, they ask the spirits of their ancestors to intercede on their behalf. 

They use spirit mediums to speak with their ancestors. There are also good and evil spirits and avenging spirits. 

Many Shona people today also practice Christianity; they often hold outdoor services with thousands of people. Here are some spiritual Shona boy names to inspire you!

  1. Adashe- He loves god. 
  2. Akudzwe - A lengthy name meaning simply praise.
  3. Akudzweishe - May God be praised.
  4. Anaishe - One who is with god.  The masculine form of Anashe.
  5. Anatswanashe- Perfected by God. 
  6. Anengoni - He has mercy. 
  7. Aneni - God is with me.
  8. Anesu- God is with us. Another Variation is Anesuishe. 
  9. Anochengata - The Lord keeps. 
  10. Anoona - God sees.
  11. Anope - God gives. 
  12. Anotida- God loves us. 
  13. Ariko - There is God, or he has mercy. 
  14. Davidzo - An answer to a prayer. 
  15. Dzinashe - It is with the Lord. 
  16. Kudakwashe- God’s will. 
  17. Maita - Gift of God.
  18. Mufaro - Happiness. 
  19. Muneso- God is within us. 
  20. Nyasha - Mericul; kindhearted.
  21. Ropafadzo - A boy and girl name, it means blessing. 
  22. Rudo - Love.
  23. Rufaro- Happiness. 
  24. Runako - Beauty and goodness. 
  25. Tadiwanashe - God has loved us. 
  26. Tendai - Give thanks to God. 
  27. Tinashe- God is with us. 
  28. Vimbo - Hope, trust, and faith. 

Powerful Shona Boy Names and Meanings 

The Shona culture is known for its beautiful art and stone sculptures, many of which are hundreds of years old. If you want a name that reflects the power and strength of the Shona people, consider one of these baby boy names.

  1. Akashinga - Brave.
  2. Banga- Sword. 
  3. Batanai - Unite. 
  4. Bereashama - The enemy or the hyena is ready to attack. 
  5. Chatunga - Fighter.
  6. Chimerenga - Revolutionary fighter. 
  7. Gamba - Warrior.
  8. Hondo - War.
  9. Kundai - Succeed or success. 
  10. Madzinga - The expeller. 
  11. Mambo- King. 
  12. Masimba - Much power.
  13. Mudadisi - The one to make us proud. 
  14. Mugabe- The strongest one. 
  15. Mukundi - Victor. 
  16. Nevanji- Prince.
  17. Rungano- Legend. 
  18. Shingai - To be strong. 
  19. Shingirai- Perserverance. 
  20. Shohiwa - The one who is respected.
  21. Simbai- To be strong. 
  22. Tongai - Ruler. 

Shona Language and Naming Ceremony 

The Shona language belongs to the Bantu family of languages; there are over 500 Bantu languages. Some of the different Shona dialects are Manyika, Ndau, Korekore, Zezuru, and Karanga. In addition to the Shona language, Zimbabweans also speak English and Ndebele. 

The Kugadzwa Zita, meaning to give a name, is a traditional Shona naming ceremony where an elder's name is passed down to someone else in the family after they die.  It is common for Zimbabweans to have a first or personal name; this name is often English, followed by a traditional surname. 

A grandson typically inherits their grandfather’s name; grandmothers pass theirs to a granddaughter. The passing of the name signifies they the deceased will never be forgotten. 

Want to learn more about Shona names? Check out our list of 100+ Shona Girl Names!

Sources +

Jarus, O. (2017, February 28). Shona People: History & Culture.

Masau, P. (2018, May 18). An Introduction to Zimbabwe’s Shona People. Culture Trip.

Some important Shona customs and ceremonies  | Zimbabwe Field Guide. (n.d.).

Zimbabwean Culture - Naming. (2017). Cultural Atlas.

L. Elizabeth Forry

About L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom… Read more

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