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The Dark Moon: A Step In Telling Own Stories

By Steve Ephraem

PROFESSOR Herbert Chimhundu presenting during a Great Limpopo Cultural Business Forum that was held in July 2015 at Triangle Country Club in Triangle, Zimbabwe, argued that there is great need for the local communities to market their culture by telling own stories.

“We should use content from African folklore, especially tales, to produce cultural products. Our children are watching foreign cartoons when we can make our own cartoons based on local folktales.

“For example we have a rungano (folk tale) called Mukwasha waMuchape in Shona. In Kenya, I found a similar folktale called Mungo in Swahili language. I believe this folktale comes from our Zimbabwean culture but no one ever produced it here for marketing.

“We should start producing such works and reproduce them with subtitling in different African languages and distribute them across the region,” said Professor Chimhundu.

Is Professor Chimhundu’s assertion vital?

The case of Chipinge and Chimanimani can answer.

The communities in the two districts were severely affected by a natural phenomenon named Tropical Cyclone Idai that hit the region in March 2019. The disaster killed more than 250 people and left thousand more injured or missing up to this day.

Who can tell the Tropical Cyclone Idai story better?

While there is no law that disqualifies interested persons to write the cyclone narrative, it is more impactful when the survivors tell own stories. This is what the authors of a literature piece title The Dark Moon did.

Six authors, namely Phillip Kusasa, Solomon Mwapingidza, Tendai Ngadziore, Sifelani Tonje, Freedom Mutanda and Ranganai Chikwara compiled a poetry anthology that is accompanied by letters and photos.

Ranganai Chikwara is the school head of St Charles Lwanga High School where the first casualties were recorded when a huge bolder from a mud slide hit and killed two students and a security guard at the learning institution.

The school infrastructure was destroyed beyond repair and the institution has relocated to a place near Biriiri. The authors witnessed how bridges at Skyline, Ngangu Township, Kopa area in Rusitu Valley and many more places were torn down by the angry waters.

The authors are part of the communities which went through the pain of losing parents, relatives and friends. They are interacting with the kids who haven’t understood what really transpired during that disaster. They give psychosocial support to those who are still hoping that one day, a relative who is missing, might resurface alive and wearing smiles.

The Dark Moon is one the right steps taken by Chipinge and Chimanimani people in giving the narrative of the ghastly effects of climate change.