noun, class [14] 
English translation: grass

Ground considered as a subject of use or possession; earth; soil. SYNONYMS: gura, gurandanda, gwatukwatu, hwuhwo, munda, nyika. ORIGIN: standard Shona dialect.

Pfirira denga ne uskwa, isa chisuvi, sunga ne makabi.
Thatch the roof with grass, put on the cap on top, tie all with bark.

from Kuwaka Imba (To Build a Hut)
by W. Edwards, N.C.

Although it is a simple, onomatopoeic word uswa or grass is a material which finds its way into everyday objects like floor mats, dishware and even building construction. The many differing words used to describe grass in Shona reveal it's importance.

The general name for grass that has no particular purpose: sora.
Growing grass: bundo.
New green grass: bumhudza.
Old grass (of previous season): chirara; murara; ndara.
Short grass growing on place where fertile soil is shallow: rukukundwa.
Short length of grass: rumbuswa. Tall, young grass (not yet in flower): chimhovhora.
Thatching grass: shengezhu.
Young grass: mhoro; rupundo.
Young grass after burning: rushwishwi; ruswiswi.
Area of burnt grass: rutsva.
Area of thick grass: chiraro.
Blade of grass: ruswa.
Patch of grass growing among rocks: dzunzutswa; rupumu.
Place where tall grass is growing: nhutu.
Stretch of luxuriant grass: bomho.
Stretch of thick grass and undergrowth: jokochera.
Thin growth of grass: gwati; gwatukwatu.
Tuft, stubble of grass (remaining after veld fire): chitsinzinzi.

Maxwell Mutanda. 

Creative Director, Studio [D] Tale.

Harare, Zimbabwe.

Studio [D] Tale works cross borders between Architecture, Interiors, Urban Exploration, Product Innovation, Critical Design & Communications. By experimenting with new materials and innovation the Studio brings out the best in Design and Architecture. Every design process starts with a bespoke story told through rigorous research.

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