Drive to promote BaTonga heritage

Dr Charity Nyelele

The Tonga Literacy Project this week embarked on a two week long silent virtual auction that intends to raise US$5 000 earmarked for funding the publication of a book that tells the story of the Tonga people as they were displaced from the Zambezi river.

The silent auction has so far raised close to US$2 800, representing about 60 percent of the targeted amount. The artefacts being auctioned were all donated by former members of the Toledo Diocesan Mission Team.

Dr Charity Nyelele, a board member for the project bemoaned the limited Tonga literature resources in circulation which was making it difficult for Tonga youths to access information about their rich cultural heritage.

“As a Tonga woman who grew up during a period when learning Tonga was not part of the curriculum in Zimbabwe, I am excited that students now have the opportunity. However, there is limited local literature written about the tribe’s history, traditions and rich culture,” she said.

Dr Nyelele said the auction currently under way is for funding towards the fourth and final in a series of selected BaTonga related books titled, The People of the Great River which was written by Mike Tremmel and several Tonga elders.

The book details how the Tonga community was marginalised and displaced from the Zambezi River to pave way for the construction of the Kariba Dam. Plans are already in place to make it available in the Tonga language.

“I am happy that through the generosity of our donors and friends, as well as the amazing work by the Tonga Literacy Project and Basilwizi Trust, we will make available the Tonga- translated version of the book. Tonga youths would then be able to learn about their elders’ stories in their own language,” she added.

Dr Nyelele hailed the current auction as a milestone for the BaTonga community in Zimbabwe in their quest towards claiming their personal, social and cultural identity.

For more information on the auction, kindly follow the link below:

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