• Ngoni Mangoma

New Children’s Book Helps Bridge Language Gap

By Tawanda Mudzonga



Schools have finally reopened after an extended lockdown, allowing school kids to continue their educational journey. For non-native speakers, there is a new book to help preschoolers learn two of the country’s most popular languages: Shona and Ndebele. My First Book of Shona and Ndebele Words is an engaging picture book with distinctly local and familiar images certain to capture the imaginations of young learners.


My First Book of Shona and Ndebele Words is about a Zimbabwean brother and sister who introduce the reader to Shona and Ndebele vocabulary alongside English translations as they go about daily life. Importantly, the book also does a great job of illustrating Zimbabwean life and culture.


Author Yeve C. Sibanda is a Zimbabwean who now lives in the USA. Sibanda explained that she and her husband had trouble finding materials that were modern, fun and that represented what they wanted for their child. “I wanted my child to know her culture and her heritage”. She’s passionate about sharing African stories and believes we all should aim to be global citizens who appreciate other cultures and languages.


Sibanda is also the founder of Philisa Creatives, a media company whose goal is to amplify African voices through storytelling and other creative products. In addition to this book, Sibanda has also created “My First Shona and Ndebele Calendar” which are distributed by Philisa Creatives. Both are available from Best Books in Harare and from Amazon.

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