Talent Chimutambgi Arts Reporter
The embassy of Italy has partnered Government for the distribution of more than 1 000 copies of a popular fairytale book, that was translated from Italian to Shona, to primary schools county-wide.
The book titled “The Adventures of Pinocchio” was written by Italian author Carlo Callodi and has been translated into the Shona language by Elvas Mari and Ignatius Mabasa.
It was published by the Italian Embassy in Harare for free distribution to schools in Zimbabwe.
The donation, which coincided with the commemorations of the 6th edition of Italian Cuisine in the World, saw Italian food being shared among the people who were present at the event.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, acting Permanent Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Mr Gabriel Mhuma said the donation was in tandem with the country’s national goals anchored in the Vision 2030.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s vision is to be the leading provider of 21st century inclusive, equitable quality education for socio-economic transformation by 2030,” he said. “And one of its outcomes is to improve the learner outcome and this can be achieved by improving literacy.
“Books do play a very crucial role in our lives and often prove to be our best companion in the actual sense of the term. They give us abundant knowledge and joy without demanding anything in return.
“Reading transports us into a different world altogether and make us forget our sorrows that heavily bog down our souls. For example, the book we are receiving today called ‘Pinocchio’ has moral lessons about what is right and wrong, so by reading it, children will have the ability to reason, to think, to analyse and to be critical.”
Mr Mhuma said books played an integral part in the lives of the people in augmenting wisdom and knowledge.
“Books are like our fellow friends with no demands or complaints,” he said. “They improve our knowledge, wisdom and information, thus helping us in taking the right decisions in life.”
Mr Mhuma said the Ministry had developed an array of programmes to enhance literacy levels among pupils at infancy stages.
“Quite a number of reading programmes have been developed by the Ministry with support of partners to ensure that every child at infant level grabs the initial reading and writing skills,” he said.
“As the competent based curriculum is being implemented, there is need for more books to help learners improve their reading culture. Research and development is another significant area in the Ministry that should start at an early age and learners are encouraged to widen their knowledge by reading widely and doing some research.
“As the Ministry has embarked on the establishment of libraries in all schools, it is hoped that literacy rate will improve among learners.”
Mr Mhuma said men had become the victim of his own invention, saying the coming in of internet was a blow to the culture of reading hard copies.
“In the current scenario of the advancement of science and technology, the utility of books is getting down,” he said. “Children are depending much on the internet and social media platforms to gain knowledge.
“Our children must understand that Google gives us knowledge, but books give us wisdom. The Ministry is looking forward to more innovative methods of making children access reading materials such as e-books in order to reach many, including those in disadvantaged areas.”
Speaking during the same occasion, Acting Italian Ambassador Sinonetta Bartolomei paid tribute to all participants who made the project a possibility.
“This has been the most fruitful collaboration and I’m indeed very grateful to all the parties involved for their commitment to the project,” he said.
National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe deputy director Josiah Kusena commended the project, saying the development would enhance literary works in the arts industry.
“The contribution of the Italian Embassy in the field of literary works is highly commendable and the fact that leading Zimbabwean literary artist participated in the translation process is very much welcome,” he said.