The Children’s Book Helping Zimbabweans Preserve their Native Languages


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Written in both Shona and Ndebele, the colorful children’s book is based on a popular Ndebele nursery rhyme.

When her nephews and nieces were born, Nomusa Ndebele was eager to purchase them books that would teach them their native tongue and culture. It’s a language that she shares a name with—Ndebele. But she struggled to find any Ndebele children’s books and the ones she could find were Eurocentric books whose images, characters and languages did not reflect the realities of her nieces and nephews. It was that experience that led her to establishing the publishing site saanrize with her friend, Carol Dzingai who also shared her frustrations.

Ndebele recently penned Thoko Vuka! Thoko Muka! which was published via saanrize. The book tells the story of a little Zimbabwean girl named Thoko is living in the diaspora with her trusted sidekick “Zou-Zou”, a stuffed elephant that represents her family’s totem. Thoko goes on a myriad of adventures with her stuffed elephant and both learn about Zimbabwean heritage and culture in a fun-filled way.

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