First Lady out to pre­serve cul­tural val­ues

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Ru­papa Se­nior Re­porter

FIRST LADY Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa, through her An­gel of Hope Foun­da­tion, yes­ter­day launched #Nganon­aA­mai ini­tia­tive, where she will be invit­ing school­child­ren for sto­ry­telling in a move aimed at trans­mit­ting and pre­serv­ing cul­tural val­ues.

She said teach­ing chil­dren folk sto­ries of­fers many ben­e­fits that help re­in­force their ba­sic lis­ten­ing, gram­mar and vo­cab­u­lary skills.

The “Mbuya neVazukuru” en­gage­ment took place at Zim babwe House, where chil­dren drawn from var­i­ous schools in and around Harare came to­gether to learn the coun­try’s cul­tural her­itage.

The First Lady, who vis­ited a cholera treat­ment camp at Beatrice Road In­fec­tious Diseases Hospi­tal in Harare on Wed­nes­day, took the op­por­tu­nity to ed­u­cate the chil­dren on cholera.

“I am happy that you are will­ing to learn ma­g­a­riro ai­ita matate­guru edu,” she said.

“From to­day go­ing for­ward, we will be meet­ing here tichidzidzisana chinyakare chedu. Vana van­odawo nguva yakadai. Zvaita zvitsva kwavari kuti vauya ku­zoona gogo vachiswera navo, va­chi­taura ngano.

“The mo­tive be­hind this is to en­cour­age them (chil­dren) to have a cul­ture of want­ing to read their books, es­pe­cially Shona books nekuti vana vazhinji variku­foira shona. Muku­vavhunza mivhunzo ndaona kuti vana ava van­otoziva tsumo ne­madimikira nezvimwe.

“Saka van­oda kuku­rudzirwa through such kind of pro­grammes kuti vagone kuter­era, ku­v­erenga uye neku­taura.”

She said the ini­tia­tive is ex­pected to spread to other prov­inces and dis­tricts coun­try­wide.

“If re­sources per­mit, my wish is to take this pro­gramme to all the prov­inces around the coun­try, mov­ing around the schools teach­ing the chil­dren our cul­tural her­itage,’’ she said.

“This is not just a one-day event, I want it to spread to ev­ery school across the coun­try.

“I in­volved the Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion so that they will see where we are com­ing from and where we are go­ing in terms of teach­ing our chil­dren about cul­tural her­itage.

“I gave the chil­dren Shona text­books so that they will prac­tise read­ing when they go back to their homes or schools. Chil­dren de­velop a sense of imag­i­na­tion when read­ing, hence when they are retelling the sto­ries, it helps them prac­tise com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.”

The First Lady, with the as­sis­tance of med­i­cal per­son­nel from the Min­istry of Health and Child Care led by Dr Ed­ward Makondo, took time to ed­u­cate the chil­dren and those who at­tended the func­tion about cholera that has since killed 25 peo­ple.

She said peo­ple should al­ways en­sure that their homes are clean, the food they eat is well-cooked and their fam­i­lies prac­tise good hy­gienic stan­dards to curb wa­ter and food­borne diseases.

She also en­cour­aged peo­ple to wash their fruits and veg­eta­bles thor­oughly with run­ning wa­ter.

In an in­ter­view, the First Lady said she took pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures ahead of host­ing the chil­dren.

“As you know, for now public gath­er­ings have been banned as part of ef­forts to con­tain the cholera out­break, so what I did nda­gadzirira vana pavaun­gana pano,” she said.

“With the help from Min­istry of Health and Child Care of­fi­cials, vana tavagezesa maoko ne­m­is­honga inok­wanisa kudzivirira ku­ta­puri­rana kwechir­were ichi. We have doc­tors, nurses and an am­bu­lance on standby.”

“Let us keep our coun­try clean to curb wa­ter and food-borne diseases. I am plead­ing with par­ents to mon­i­tor their chil­dren closely and dis­cour­age them from swim­ming in rivers since some of them might be con­tam­i­nated.”

It was in­deed a con­struc­tive en­gage­ment, with Tino­tenda Kalulu, a Grade 7 pupil who re­sides at Ta­muka Or­phan­age prais­ing the First Lady for the ini­tia­tive.

“We hardly come across peo­ple will­ing to sit down with us the younger gen­er­a­tion to teach us about our cul­ture. We thank the First Lady for grant­ing us this rare op­por­tu­nity to learn about our cul­tural her­itage. In­deed we learnt a lot,” he said.

Ju­liana Maku­nise, a pupil at Do­mini­can Con­vent said: “The ini­tia­tive showed us the love Amai has for chil­dren and Zim­bab­weans at large.

“The First Lady re­ally loves chil­dren. It is not every­one that ac­cepts large num­bers of chil­dren in their homes like she did,” she said.

Sto­ry­teller and writer Mr Ig­natius Mabasa, who also nar­rated sto­ries to the chil­dren, wel­comed the First Lady’s ini­tia­tive say­ing folk­tales unite peo­ple.

“When I heard about Amai’s pro­gramme, I quickly jumped in be­cause I also know the im­por­tance of ngano and would like to thank the First Lady for com­ing up with the idea to en­gage the young gen­er­a­tion,” he said.

The Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango also thanked Amai Mnan­gagwa for the ini­tia­tive.

It was in­deed an oc­ca­sion filled with so much joy and laugh­ter as vazukuru went away with, among other things, food ham­pers and satchels full of school ma­te­rial from their gogo (The First Lady).

First Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa launches #Nganon­aA­mai, a chil­dren’s sto­ry­telling pro­gramme, at Zim­babwe House in Harare yes­ter­day. — (Pic­ture by Tawanda Mudimu)

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