20-year-old inspired to teach Shona in the diaspora

Shona is primarily spoken in Zimbabwe, but there are also Shona-speaking populations in the diaspora like in the United States, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany among others.

In Zimbabwe, Shona is one of the national languages and holds official language status.

The language is deeply intertwined with the cultural identity of the Shona people and is widely used for communication within the country.

However, most parents now prefer to speak in English in their homes.

Tatenda Nyaruwe is a social media personality who went to Australia when he was two years old and was inspired by his family, to teach Shona to his peers.

They never stopped speaking Shona even though English is the most spoken where they stay.

Tatenda is also a content creator known as Manlike Tats or Tats on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube from Australia.

“My Shona is average and l understand everything, every word, I have videos of me teaching Shona terms, videos of me learning Shona songs, basically trying to encourage the youth who live in diaspora to speak their native language,” said Tatenda.

“I am looking to increase my audience further and be verified on so Instagram and TikTok by being posted on major journals and news pages in Zimbabwe, this will motivate many people outside the country,”.

He said is already planning to start learning much of the Shona syllabus which is being used in Zimbabwe so that he imparts the language in a well-researched manner.

He has been teaching basic words, now he wants to do a thorough job.

“A lot of people in Australia and other countries are appreciating my Shona video lessons because it is helping their children to have the confidence to speak the language and they are not ashamed about it,” he said.

Tatenda has videos of him speaking Shona, which he has recently been doing, despite his funny tone he does not mind what people say but it motivates him to do better.

His mother has been teaching him Shona since he was young and this has motivated him to love his native language.

When he started making video lessons, he got different reactions, some people didn’t like it, and some people loved it.

“I have videos of me teaching Shona terms, videos of me learning and teaching Shona songs, basically trying to encourage the youth who live in diaspora to speak their native language,”.

“I would like to encourage parents to keep their native tongue in place within their kids. There are so many kids, that I know now who wish they could speak Shona fluently or even a little bit,”.

“English is good but our children should be reminded that Shona is important because it keeps that cultural language and energy within us and makes us who we are,” he said.

“l am so excited Australia/Zimbabwe’s are learning a lot from my lessons, I’ve gained a lot of followers from both countries. There are many who ask me where I gained the confidence from since l have never visited Zimbabwe ever since l left as a baby.”

“Through my platforms I have gained friendships, some people from Zimbabwe ask about potential job opportunities over here, and at one time there is a parent who asked me to contact her son who lives in Australia for personal things,”.

He believes most people enjoy his Shona.

“I have realised through my social media platforms that a lot of Zimbabweans in diaspora are very interested in Shona but however they are not confident because they are scared of not speaking properly. I honestly think our language is the best, the funniest and the most attractive with many skills.”

“Zimbabwe has such big audience on social media, it has the funniest videos and I love watching Shona videos. So to me it’s a blessing to know and be able to speak and understand such a language,” he said.

“I love my Shona culture. Shona is such a known language in Africa, even by people who don’t even understand it. I know people who aren’t even Zimbabwean greet me in Shona.”

“Every woman I speak to romantically I teach them Shona, l want them to know how to greet me properly and my parents in the future.”

“My kids will definitely learn Shona, my wife will learn Shona (if she isn’t Zimbabwean already). Shona will definitely be spoken in the house hold, no questions about it.”

Tatenda said he wishes to return home and invest in schools, clinics and hospitals.

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