Chirikure Chirikure’s poem in the Shona language will be one of several poems to be on display in libraries and parks in London from the 7th of June this year. One hundred poems in 45 languages will be displayed in 8 public spaces in the Waltham Forest area to symbolise the beauty and value of languages spoken in London. The initiative is organised by the Waltham Forest Bilingual Group in conjunction with a local poetry group.
Chirikure’s poem, “Inongova ‘Yes Yes’”, was selected indepentently by the group. The poem was first published in Chirikure’s collection of poems, Rukuvhute, in 1989. Chirikure went on to record the poem with mbira music with DeteMbira, on the album Napukeni in 2002. The album was engineered and produced by the late music icon, Oliver Mtukudzi. Chirikure still performs the poem solo or with music accomapniment. The poem is available on several platforms, in translated versions.
The display of poems in different languages of the world is one of the several initiatives by the Waltham Forest Bilingual Group to encourage bilingualism in the United Kingdom communities. The Waltham Forest Bilingual Group is a voluntary group of multilingual parents established in 2003. Their aim is to promote, foster, encourage and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity by supporting parents raising their children bilingually.
The group says, “Being multilingual brings many advantages – to the children, to our community, to our economy. However in many cases, due to a lack of information, multilingual parents choose to speak to their children in English. Over 20 per cent of people living in Waltham Forest speak a language other than English, but Britain remains a very monolingual country where people speaking only one language is regarded as normal despite the fact that worldwide more than two-third of people are bilingual. Speaking only one language is the exception, not the norm.”
Chirikure says, “It is always an honour to have your works included in positive international initiatives. It is also an honour to profile our languages and culture on global platforms. I hope this opportunity will encourage us Zimbabweans not to lose our indigenous languages. Wether you are in Zimbabwe or in the diaspora, it is vital to remain proud of your culture.”
Waltham Forest Bilingual Group – C/o: Dympna McGahern – Mobile: +44-7942982695
Chirikure Chirikure – Mobile:+263-772335040