Youths invite First Lady for Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba programme. . . share teachings with peers as she listens

18 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Youths invite First Lady for Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba programme. . . share teachings with peers as she listens First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa looks at her nhanga/gota/ixhiba girl ambassadors as they teach their peers how to grind grain to prepare traditional meals at Mauya Kumusha culture centre in Harare yesterday.— Pictures: John Manzongo

The Herald

Tendai Rupapa

Senior Reporter

IT was a moment to cherish for First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa when, for the first time since the inception of her educative Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba programme, she was invited to attend a session by her ambassadors at Mauya Kumusha Culture Centre in Marlborough, Harare, attesting to its resounding success.

The First Lady visited the centre in May this year where together with elderly men and women from the community taught the children on various issues to instil discipline and promote cultural values. 

She made all those who attended the Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba sessions her ambassadors so that they could teach their peers at school and communities.

Through her Angel of Hope Foundation, the First Lady also unveiled a reusable sanitary pads sewing project for them after providing sewing machines, material and all the necessary accessories.

Yesterday, the children invited Dr Mnangagwa and some elders to watch them as they shared their knowledge with other children.

They also showed her hundreds of reusable pads they sew and will distribute to disadvantaged girls. 

One of First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s nhanga ambassadors teaches her peers on the various types of clay pots found in a traditional kitchen and their different uses and other traditional values and culture during a nhanga session where the girls invited Dr Mnangagwa to see their works at Mauya Kumusha culture centre in Harare yesterday

Mauya Kumusha Culture Centre is owned by sekuru and gogo Munongi and boasts of a fully equipped Gota and Nhanga, where boys and girls, from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to university level, can be taught various household chores and be instilled with discipline in line with the country’s culture.

Amai Mnangagwa came up with the Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba concept as a way of advocating for a return to the traditional way of life which had inbuilt mechanisms to foster morality.

The programme also comes in handy as the extended family unit has generally collapsed, leaving children with nowhere to learn the country’s cultural norms and values.

It could not have come at any better time as the country is battling a surge in drug abuse, teen pregnancies, child marriages and general loss of morals among youths.

So overwhelmed with emotion was the mother of the nation that she thanked the children for taking the programme seriously.

Yesterday, the ambassadors ran the programme at the same centre where the mother of the nation trained them.

The girls trained their peers in the Nhanga while boys trained their colleagues in the gota under the watchful eye of Dr Mnangagwa, elderly women and men.

Nyashadzashe Zhuga, a Form Four learner, welcomed the mother of the nation in the Nhanga.

“Just as you came and taught us many things Amai and made us your ambassadors and advised us to train others, we are continuing with the programme. Today we have invited you alongside our grandmothers so that you witness us as we teach our friends. You are free to correct us Amai where we go wrong and to our peers, feel free to ask questions where you do not understand,” she said.

The affable learner started by teaching about totems and what they mean in the country’s tradition.

She also taught about traditional kitchen utensils like cooking sticks, whisks, clay pots for relish and sadza, the fermenting gourd and the gourd for storing water.

“I also want to talk about chikuva or huva (slab) a symbol of ancestral habitats in the Shona hut. Every woman in the rural set up must have this in her kitchen. In the olden days a dead person would be placed on a bier which is placed on a slab in the kitchen for the ancestors to accept him/ her,” she said.

Chinu, a gourd to store oil, she said, was also a perquisite.

“If a girl is married she is given this by her aunt with groundnut oil. If the woman dies, the son-in-law’s family must produce this gourd and if they fail they are fined a beast because the gourd is special and must be returned to a woman’s home,” she said.

The young girl also spoke about chambwa which is dried tobacco that is put in a pouch by elders.

Gogo Munongi asked how the tobacco would be consumed and the children said through the nose.

“Amai as your ambassadors we are many so I am now giving others a chance,” she said.

Regina Mateko decried poor dressing among youths today.

“Girls of nowadays are walking in the nude and we are wearing clothes that expose our flesh and this is wrong. It earns us bad names in our communities because people will be seeing us as people without morals. Amai taught us that our bodies are the temple of the Lord, therefore they should be respected and we can do this by covering our bodies by wearing clothes in a dignified manner,” she said.

Rumbidzai Chitongo weighed in saying: “We learnt that we are not supposed to date at a tender age. Let us concentrate on our studies because that is where life is. Education should be our first husband. Before we start thinking about getting married we should have certificates.”

Rebecca Ngezha spoke about avoiding horseplay or people who fondle their bodies.

“I learnt that we should not let our brothers-in-law fondle us hiding under horseplay. We have to report such sexual harassment cases to elders, police, village elders so that culprits are brought to book. If we let men fondle us, this will lead to early pregnancies or even rape,” she said.

Nyashadzashe Zhuga also touched the issue of menstrual hygiene.

“When you came Amai, you taught us about menstrual hygiene and taught us about reusable pads. You then gave us machines, materials and all accessories. We were taught a team from your Angel Of Hope Foundation sewing using machines and our hands. This is what is important to us as children. This will help us and other girls. We also wish to donate some of these pads to other girls in rural areas. We promise to continue with this sewing project. Thank you Amai vedu vane rudo,” she said.

The mother of the nation congratulated the girls for learning to sew using their hands and machines.

“I am thankful my daughters you can now sew using hands and machines because some will not have access to machines. I am also happy for the vision to share with others from other communities who are in need,” she said.

Boys too were grateful for the teachings they received in the Gota.

Boys teach each other how to skin and prepare goat meat for a traditional meal during a gota/nhanga/ixhiba session at Mauya Kumusha culture centre where they invited First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to see what they are doing as her ambassadors

Tendai Nyika, an Upper 6 learner at Marlborough High was grateful to have shared his knowledge with others.

“I was made an ambassador by the First Lady to teach others what she taught us during her previous visit here. We were teaching other youths here how we are supposed to live because we are losing morals. We taught them that when they come of age, there will be with an uncle teaching them the channel to follow when time for marriage comes. We have faith that those we have taught today will be good ambassadors and carry the programme forward. Drugs like mutoriro are bad because if youths take these drugs, they end up not respecting parents. So that is what we were teaching them. We also taught them manners and proper way of dressing,” he said.

This dovetailed with the views of Carlos Mukoko.

“We were taught by those who were trained by Amai and other elders that we are not supposed to have girlfriends at a tender age. We were also taught about the weapons that were used in the past in hunting or preserving peace in times of conflict. We were also taught to respect our parents so that our days on earth will be increased. We were taught that gota was the place where boys sleep and discuss issues pertaining to manhood.“

Jonathan Manuel (17) described yesterday’s teachings as well thought-out.

“We were taught that we are spending more time on the phone and Internet and not giving time to listen to our parents. This programme is teaching us our norms and values and respecting elders. We are thankful for the teachings,” he said with a broad smile

Equally delighted to have been part of the programme was Tinotenda Gorimbo.

One of First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s nhanga ambassadors teaches her peers traditional values and culture during a nhanga session where the girls invited Dr Mnangagwa to see their works at Mauya Kumusha culture centre in Harare yesterday.

“When Amai came here we were gratified as we learnt a lot. We were given a chance to teach others what is done and how to slaughter a goat and so many household chores expected of us. We thank the First Lady heartily for coming with the programme because we no longer have uncles to sit down with mapping the future,” he said.

Addressing the community, the mother of the nation said she was happy for the invite extended to her by the learners.

“Today I have been invited by the children so that they show us they have grasped what we taught them. Our job was to listen and we found out that they were nailing it correctly. We heard children saying when seeking to greet parents in the morning, they are asked to come in the bedroom but as children who came through the Nhanga, they see it unfit to enter their parents bedroom. True, this is taboo and as parents we should teach our children the dos and don’ts. The invite to come here shows that this programme did not end with my visit bit it will continue like a web showing the children understood what they were taught. We grew up with this programme but our uncles and aunties are appearing as though they are forgetting. The extended family unit is now broken and families are no longer united. Some trade witchcraft accusations and children no longer visit their grandparents during holidays because of the witchcraft allegations. Our children are being ruined by drugs and this bids on us to put our heads together and guide our children in the correct path,” she said.

The First Lady spelt the need for people to police one another and work closely together to cultivate good manners among children.

Boys teach one another traditional values and cultures during a gota session organised by ambassadors of First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s gota/nhanga/ixhiba to teach their peers what they were taught by Dr Mnangagwa at Mauya Kumusha culture centre yesterday.

“We look forward to being looked after by these children in future, but how can this be when they are beating us up and murdering us under the influence of drug and substance abuse. I am now a police officer where I am and if I meet your child doing mischief I will come with him to you as parents so that we assist each other in reprimanding him. But nowadays neighbours are not leaving in harmony such that a neighbour will not speak out when a child is misbehaving because they do not relate well therefore I am urging love and unity in the communities. My children, both boys and girls I urge you to leave drugs and focus on your education because we are the owners of this country and we will build it alone. Children have taught each other hygiene and I say let us maintain cleanliness wherever we are. Let us be like the 10 virgins in the bible who are always prepared. Some women just leave the home without combing the hair and they throw a wig. What if the wig is blown off by wind in the city centre?” she said in jest.

The First Lady said the children had shown interest in participating in traditional food cooking competitions.

“I am happy that the children are embracing our teachings. I am grateful that what we taught you is exactly what you showed us today. These are the children we want who carry our nation forward. I also wish to thank Sekuru and gogo Munongi, the owners of this place who are fighting for our children to grow up morally upright. I urge children to behave so that we reach the ages of gogo and sekuru,” she said.

Both boys and girls yesterday performed various household chores expected of them as their practical lessons.

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