We had info that Sorida was a term of greeting in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, Africa, similar to shalom in Hebrew or jambo in Swahili.

According to Misodzi Sithole (who's Ndau) Sorida is really a nonsense phrase. Here's what she wrote:

"I do not call Sorida as a word of greeting but rather a nonsense line that precedes a whole rhyme with the familiar call and response pattern as follows:

(Cantor) Sorida
(Response) Sorida reda reda
(Cantor) Da da da
(Response) Dada dare dareda
(Cantor) Ndiani? Who is that?
(Response) Ndiani ani ani? Who is that, that, that?
(Cantor) Ndi--------(provide a person's name)
(Response) Ndi---- ---- ----
(Cantor) Unodei? What does he/she want?
(Response) Unodei, dei, dei? What does he/she want, want want?
(Cantor) Maputi Roast dry corn/popcorn
(Response) Maputi, puti, puti Popcorn, corn, corn
(Cantor) Ari pai? Where are they?*
(Response) Ari pai, pai, pai? Where are they, they they?

*Note it is they instead of it because for us maputi are classified as a countable noun as opposed to the collective noun in English.

And it keeps going on and sometimes to keep time you play as partners and will be clapping hands in time with the rhythm of the rhyme. As you can observe it is cyclical and it has some important triplets in the response adding to that poetic effect that makes it sing-song."

I asked Misodzi if "Sorida" should be listed as being in the Shona language or one of the Shona dialects. Here was her response: "Sorida is not dialect specific; my children who grew up in a multi-ethnic and multi-dialect Zimbabwean city would also play it at school with all their mates from different backgrounds. So, I would have it, the language as Shona."


"It is a patty-cake game when the "Ri da ri da" part comes in, and the kids are to flutter their hands in the air on the "SOoooo " part of Sorida." -Holly Gilster



Many thanks to Holly Gilster for sharing her mp3 recording with us!

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Misodzi Sithole for sharing info about this rhyme!

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