Arts and culture Education

Upcoming Author Celebrates African Culture in Children’s Books

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

An upcoming has penned children’s books which captures the African way of life and is eager to see the books being distributed freely in rural communities.

Speaking to this publication, Bernadette Makaya, who is Indian but was married to a Zimbabwean says she got thinking of introducing books that capture the African culture after finding out that most children’s books exhort Western culture.

“I have realised that most of the books for children in Africa speak to the European culture and by writing books that celebrate their own culture the children are encouraged to develop a reading culture.

“In the books, I also intentionally do pick some of the most popular local names for characters so that they become relevant to them,” revealed Makaya.

The mother of four including the Miss Zimbabwe 2014 Catherine Makaya told this publication that she has already published three books namely ‘My Pet Monkey, The Herd Boy, and The Frog and the Fish.

Two of the books have already been approved by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for Grade 3 level pupils and the affable author is ecstatic about it.

“My books ‘My Pet Monkey and The Herd Boys were last year approved by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and I am very happy that the process went on smoothly,” she revealed.

The books were published in 2018 by Passion Press while illustrations were done by Christine Ndoro and Noble Nyatsanga.

Some private primary schools have already shown interest in her books and these include Maranatha, Masaisai, and Amanda Creche but her biggest craving is to see the books hitting each rural household in Zimbabwe.

“From my visits in rural areas, I realise that children in the rural areas do not have access to books compared to their urban counterparts hence my wish to see donors who may partner with me to ensure every child in the rural areas has copies of my book,” dreams Makaya.

The budding author credits her writing career to the mentorship she got from the late Charles Mungoshi at  Budding Writers Association workshops in the early 2000s.

She also got a chance to mix with novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga at an event organised by the Harare International Festival.

Apart from writing, Bernadette also does poetry performances and loves story-telling to her grandchildren in her spare time.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende