Learners from various provinces undertaking isiNdebele lessons have been encouraged to take pride in their local language and equip themselves with knowledge on how to consume, distribute, and produce literature.
IsiNdebele is one of the 16 official languages in Zimbabwe and there has been an outcry from numerous culturists and enthusiasts on how the language is slowly dying down.
To encourage learners to take more interest in the language, Indlu Yokufundela Incorporation is hosting its second edition of the Ndebele Literature Festival at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Arena.
The festival pooled schools from Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Bulawayo, Midlands and Masvingo.
The event will run for three days, under the theme, “Breaking barriers and levelling the ground for the consumption, distribution and production of isiNdebele literature” with various events that promote isiNdebele literature and language lined up.
In an interview with CITE, the director of the Festival, Precious Moyo, described literature as a vehicle of culture, noting that for culture to be preserved, people need to have an appreciation of both literature and language.
She said the event has grown from last year, when it had 23 schools to 30 schools this year.
“We want everyone to have equal access to isiNdebele literature, and have knowledge on how to produce it so that there can be no challenges. We are teaching and at the same time breaking barriers. Literature is a vehicle of our own culture,” she said.
“We cannot talk to literature without language and neither can we talk of language without literature. We have issues of intangible cultural heritage, which are found in our written works, be it plays or poetry. By having this festival, we are trying to preserve our culture, showing our children what we have so that they appreciate our own history today and forever”
Moyo said their aim is to ensure that learners are comfortable in communicating and showcasing isiNdebele.
“We will be having various competitions for the learners. There will be competitions on poetry, public speaking, drama, quiz, essay writing and creative writing. All this will be done in isiNdebele. All this while we have been having quizzes and speeches in English, but what we are trying to promote is for learners to be comfortable and be able to express themselves in isiNdebele,” she said.
“Our guest speaker tomorrow will be Barbra Makhalisa, a renowned author, who will interact with the children and inspire them, teach them of how they can explore the channels of production of literature through writing.”