What is the meaning of Unhu?

Kshitij Doval


Unhu is a word derived from the language called Shona (national language of Zimbabwe), also which is ubuntu in Nguni. The concept of unhu in Zimbabwe is similar to that of other African cultures. It is a social philosophy which embodies virtues that celebrate the mutual social responsibility, mutual assistance, trust, sharing, unselfishness, self-reliance, caring and respect for others among other ethical values.

Unhu celebrates cooperation and discourages individualism. Social relationships in Africa is not only found amongst people but also between people and nature and is extended to the spiritual forces. Relationships at all these levels are sustained through the maintenance of ethos such as reciprocity, participation, harmony and hospitality.

Imbwa mbiri hadzitorerwi nyama

Meat cannot be taken away from two dog

Gumwe rimwe haritswanyi inda

A single thump does not kill a louse

Rume rimwe harikombi churu

A single male person no matter how big does not surround an anti-hill alone

The above proverbs are profoundly reflective of the binding philosophy of the Shona people. An individual views his position in relation to the aspirations of the community.

“A leader who has unhu is selfless, consults widely and listens to his subjects. He or she does not adopt a lifestyle that is different from his subjects, but lives among them and shares what he owns. A leader who has unhu does not lead but allows the people to lead themselves.” -Jacques

Why is our Technology, Innovation & Professional Consulting firm named Unhu?

Just like the Zimbabwean social philosophy, we at Unhu provide a constructive working experience with our clients, where our consultants believe in mutual respect and collective growth, encouragement of ideas & active learning.

Oh! and a lot of people keep pronouncing Unhu wrong; Oon-who, Un-hew, Uno, Unnu, Unho, YouEnEhchYou, Un-who and even Yunwho.

Let me clear the suspense; the correct pronunciation of the word Unhu is Hoon-who.

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