Byo poet on mission to revive Ndebele culture


BULAWAYO-BASED poet Martin Mlilo has embarked on a programme titled Isichazamazwi (dictionary) that he says seeks to unpack the Ndebele cultural practices.

Mlilo told NewsDay Life & Style that his aim was to teach young children their culture which is slowly fading.

“I started Isichazamazwi in November 2020 in an effort to rebuild the Ndebele language and culture which have been distorted over the past years as people keep on adopting Western cultures,” he said.

“The Ndebele words are being wrongly interpreted by the young generation especially those who are in secondary and tertiary education.”

“A majority of these young people fail to understand different connotations of the Ndebele words, for example, there are words which are used to describe different types of cattle depending on gender. After noticing that, I decided to come up with this programme to try and revive our language.”

Mlilo said the Ndebele culture symbolised the intelligence of Ndebele people.

“I love the intelligence of the Ndebeles as it is well known that the Ndebele people were not educated, but today people are learning things which were documented by uneducated people. They created proverbs which the learned people today still fail to understand” he said.

“This is the reason why I like this programme. I encourage people to be proud of our culture and try by all means to preserve the programme aired on social media and I am still working on getting it broadcast on national television channel ZBC TV and radio stations.”

The Gwelutshena-bred Mlilo said he was writing a book which would include pictures that explained every Ndebele word.

  • Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe