The creative and literary space in Zimbabwe is dominated by material for grown ups. It can be hard for a child or parent to easily find local books, films, music, games and any other creative content that promotes and embraces Zimbabwean languages, narratives and culture. Interestingly there has been a growing rise in the number of amazing writers and content creators both living in the country and abroad who are dedicating their work towards creating material for children.
By Plot Mhako
earGROUND did a research on platforms making content for kids and the results were mind-blowing.
Zamchiya is an education and entertainment platform that develops platforms and produces content designed to inspire and encourage children and adults by celebrating the lives, experiences, ideas, imagination, and creativity of people of African descent. They have a great catalogue of books under their name.
We bring out the beauty in black.zamchiya.com/
2. Ndawana and Friends
Ndawana and Friends is a series of books and animation series based on learning Shona and Ndebele in a fun easy to understand way. The platform can also be helpful to adults who wish to learn either Shona or Ndebele. Ndawana and Friends is the brainchild of UK based Ronica Chenga.
Ndawana, Matipa and Sindiso are African and love to have you their friends from around the world to join them for every episode.
The cartoon characters Ndawana, Matipa and Sindiso are all friends who make learning Shona and Ndebele. This animation is engaging and entertaining.
3. Rurimi Rwaamai
This is an educational sound book. It enables young children to be confident in the language from an early age. Take a look at the key highlights in the video to learn more about its features.
4. Nguva yengano tina Ambuya naRudo/storytime with Grandma and Rudo
The books written by GLADYS Gumisai Mapanda who discovered the writing passion by accident.
She works as an Uber driver and during one of her rides, a rider suggested to her to consider writing about her rides and any weird and unique rides she encountered. Gladys has since written two other short stories. Nguva yengano tina Ambuya NaRudo her collection of folk stories.
5. My first book of Shona and Ndebele words
My First Book of Shona and Ndebele Words by Yeve Sibanda is an accessible, engaging and easy-to-follow picture book. It is a multicultural picture book staged in Zimbabwe and designed to make learning Shona and Ndebele, the native languages of Zimbabwe, fun.
The Picture books promotes language development by allowing the reader to simultaneously see and name various objects.
6. Naniso and Shinga
The adventures of Naniso and Shinga, who happen to stumble upon a Mbira (thumb piano) which ignites a curiosity in their Zimbabwean legacy. With the help of their friends, they weave through the tapestry of their inheritance to stand tall and proud in their true identity. You can find out more about the twins and their friends at http://www.nanisoshinga.com. Also, watch videos that teach you more about the history and heritage of Zimbabwe.
7. Tida na Tipa
Tida na Tipa cartoons explore the Shona language through nursery rhymes and adventure stories. Various Safari characters will get your little ones singing along and engaged.
8. Shona Kids Songs
A collection of Shona Children’s Songs.
Zimbabwean Songs for Kids
9. thoko muka! thoko vuka! shona/ndebele
Thoko Muka! Thoko Vuka! is a fun and captivating 2 sided (Ndebele and Shona) children’s book. This is the first in a series featuring Thoko, a brave, young Zimbabwean girl living in the diaspora with her trusty sidekick toy, “Zou-Zou”, who is an elephant just like her family totem! We created the series to allow young children to learn about Zimbabwean culture in a fun, engaging and relatable way. Join Thoko and Zou-Zou as they go on fun and amazing adventures to learn about her culture and heritage.
This story is inspired by the popular Ndebele nursery rhyme, Thoko, Thoko Vuka! written by Joanna Sibanda (nee Moyo).
10. Beginners Shona
A platform dedicated to help children learn the beautiful Zimbabwean language of ChiShona through song and activities. Beginner’s Shona Lessons is an online language school under Nhaka Yedu!