Learning about Shona and Ndebele Languages with Yeve from Philisacreatives

Learning about Shona and Ndebele languages may be a creative way to approach linguistics, especially when you want to learn other languages. When I sat down with Yeve Sibanda from Philisacreatives, she mentioned how valuable a book about Shona and Ndebele is for any bilingual learner.

In her recent book, My First Book of Shona and Ndebele languages, she explains the essential parts of knowing both languages. 

While Shona and Ndebele languages originated in Zimbabwe in different country regions, culture remains a part of language learning. During our interview, Yeve describes how knowing one language helps other family members learn. In this way, Yeve brings cultural awareness with her book and language learning to her family. 

Similarly, Hispanic multicultural families embrace culture and language every day. Learning dual languages or more than two languages supports education, culture, and family traditions. 

Listen to the interview as Yeve tells about her inspiration for her word book and language learning. 

Learning about Shona and Ndebele Languages

Tell us about the idea behind your book and what inspired you to write it. 

I was inspired by my daughter and was propelled to create the book because of my commitment to teaching our daughter her roots. I also was frustrated at not finding quality, modern Shona/Ndebele books and decided to write my own book.

What languages is the book available in? Age group or grade level?

The book is available in Shona and Ndebele with English translations. The book is ideal for ages zero and up to introduce the languages with pictures. You can also use the book for children ages two and up to reach the language concepts.

learning about Shona and Ndebele

Bilingual Picture Books as Valuable Sources

What is one thing you’d like children to learn about by reading your book? Is there a central theme? 

I believe the central theme of my book is belonging, identity, and family. The picture book format promotes easy learning and allows readers of all levels to easily identify words along with their Shona and Ndebele translations. Learning languages should be fun, so I intentionally made this book fun, engaging, and easily accessible using the most basic words in Shona and Ndebele. 

What do you hope multicultural families can learn about the culture from Zimbabwe when reading your book? 

I like to say, “African children’s books are not for African children; they are for all children.” My hope is that readers get transported to Zimbabwe and get a glimpse into Zimbabwean family life and culture. I want them to see another side to Africa, one that does not depict an impoverished image of Africa because that narrative is misleading and overplayed. We are not a monolithic people. I also want to pique the reader’s interest in Zimbabwe. Maybe they’ll be inspired to visit or do more research to learn more about the country! 

Do you have plans for more books like My First Book of Shona and Ndebele Words?

We have more products we are looking into launching in the future. Who knows, there might be more!

Learn More

About Yeve and her book My First Book of Shona and Ndebele: 

You can visit Yeve and her inspiring story at Philisacreatives, where you can find more information about her book. You can also reach her on major social media platforms like Philisacreatives Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Facebook.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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