VETERAN author Barbara Makhalisa has said the annual Ndebele Literature Festival is an important event complementing the implementation of competency-based curriculum which feeds into Education 5.0 that hinges on heritage-based education.
The festival was launched last year to promote literature production and consumption in the Matabeleland region.
This year’s second edition of the festival which ran from September 21 to 22 at the Zimbabwe Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo attracted scores of stakeholders from across Matabeleland.
The festival was held under the mantra Cikoza Sibone while the theme was Breaking Barriers and Levelling the Ground for the Production, Distribution and Consumption of Literature.
A number of high schools from Matabeleland North, South and Bulawayo provinces participated in the festival which had multiple activities including poetry, dance, song and drama performances.
The festival also featured exhibition marquees and notable speakers such as veteran author Barbara Makhalisa, who was the guest of honour.
“This is an important event. It hinges on heritage-based education of which the literature that withers today is an important element and the soul of the nation. If we neglect it we are neglecting ourselves and that we don’t know who we are, where we came from and where we are going,” Makhalisa said.
She congratulated Indluyokufunda director Precious Moyo, who teaches at Nkulumane High School for coming up the initiative.
“I applaud you on this move, there are not many people who would come up with such a thought. It is festivities like these ones that complement the quality of learning and teaching of languages and literature in our schools,” she said.
“The festival will open a new world of possibilities for many learners who will be inspired to pursue different career paths within the arts and other related areas. I implore the schoolteachers to use this chance to reflect and learn in other ways and methodologies as it can go a long way in helping us to teach language and arts.”
Lupane State University lecturer in the Department of languages Bhekezakhe Ncube said: “People study literature because they want to know who they are. It helps to understand the way of life because it tells you who one is and what is expected from them.”
He said some argue that armed with literature one does not need to study history.
“If one reads South African literature, they can tell the kind of people they are and the life they live. If you read Umvukela Wamandebele by Ndabaningi Sithole you can tell who the Ndebeles are and so on. Some parts come from pre-colonial literature, colonial and post-independence and so on it goes,” he said.
Cleopatra Ntini from Bulawayo Methodist High School stole the show with her poetic prowess and won the prize for best poetry.
The prize for best essay writing went to Siphilisiwe Ndlovu from Gwanda High, while Victoria Falls’ Mos Oa Tunya took home the drama prize.