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The promotion of unhu in Zimbabwean secondary schools through the teaching of Shona literature : Masvingo urban district, a case study

Abstract(English): This study examines the extent to which the teaching of Shona novels can be used to promote unhu (humanness) in Zimbabwean secondary schools where there has been a call for the teaching of cultural values. The school syllabi for Shona make this position abundantly clear. For that reason, anchoring the discussion on the role of literature in Africa as expounded by African scholars such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o (1981), p’Bitek (1986) and Achebe (1989) among others, the study observes that literature plays an important role in moulding character through advancing unhu. For instance, as Achebe (1989) argues that the novelist is a teacher, the study therefore locates literature as a life-affirming and life-extending affair. The discussion of the role of literature as a potential conduit for expressing unhu takes place within the theoretical confines of Afrocentricity, an African-centred theory that places the interests of Africa at the centre of any analysis involving African people. The selected novels namely Pfumo Reropa (1961), Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura? (1983) and Ndafa Here? (2007) are therefore interrogated from an Afrocentric point of view. The three novels are representative of different historical epochs in Zimbabwe’s cultural trajectory. In addition, they have featured quite prominently on the school syllabi for Shona. Through a combination of interviews and critical analysis of the novels, the study crucially observes that the proper teaching of literature can effectively transform the thinking of learners thereby locating them in their own cultural platforms. However, for this to happen, teachers must be properly trained in order that they develop an appreciation of the value of literature in imparting unhu among learners. As a result, the study thus proposes sufficient conscientisation of teachers and learners on the concept and practice of unhu be systematically carried out. At the same, there is need for greater planning in constructing a more informing syllabus, as well as the deliberate inclusion of texts that canonise unhu.
Authors: Viriri, Eunitah
Type: Thesis
Language: English
Subject: CULTURE
Link to Fulltext/Resources:
Status: Free for Public Access

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