What’s Your Totem?
If you were asked “What’s your totem?” you’d probably have no idea – unless you’d been on a Tasimba safari. But if you asked that same question to a local Zimbabwean, they would proudly tell you what theirs is.
Totems have been an important part of African culture from time immemorial. They are like our family names – when you are born you take your father’s totem to define your kinship and when you marry, women take their husband’s totem. People of the same totem regard each other as being related even if very distantly. Because of this, you really don’t want to fall in love with someone of the same totem because you simply can’t marry each other, even to this day.
Totems are symbolic of the close relationship between people, animals and nature. They are usually wild animals, birds or fish, but they can also be plants, insects or elements. And you are expected to live your life according to the attributes of your totem.
They are actually mankind’s earliest conservation behavior. That’s because you always honor, respect and fearlessly protect your totem animal. You would never kill, harm or eat your totem, so every animal and habitat in nature is always protected by somebody!
Totems and Tasimba
So how is it that Tasimba guests would know their totem?
Two reasons. First, totems are one of several aspects of local culture to which we proudly introduce our guests as part of their deeply immersive safari experience. And second, the moment they arrive in the wilderness, every Tasimba guest gets their own totem by randomly drawing a toy animal from a bag. This is now their totem for life!
You’ll learn your totem’s African name and the unique qualities that mark its behavior. For the whole week on safari, you will discover as much as you can about your totem from our amazing pro guides. Then, at our farewell dinner on the last night in camp, your job is to persuade your fellow guests in a two-minute pitch why your totem animal should become the kinship totem of the entire clan. The competition is fierce, fun – and often highly creative! And in many cases, such as between Sibanda (the lion) and Mvu’u (the hippo) from our very first safari in March 2016, it continues unabated in email salvos to this day!
Learning about and respecting local totems is just one more way in which Tasimba immerses you deeply into Africa, its wildlife, its customs and its people.
That’s why every former Tasimba clan member will proudly tell you what their totem is. It’s another of the many memories they cherish from their unforgettably unique Tasimba safari experience.
Check out our new Photo Gallery with new images from the Jabulani Clan, May 2019
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