Ignatius Mabasa writes first ever chiShona thesis at Rhodes University

Award-winning novelist,musician and children’s writer, Ignatius Tirivangani Mabasa has made history and Zimbabwe proud after he wrote the first-ever ‘ChiShona’ PhD thesis at Rhodes University in South Africa. 

The multi-talented writer who writes mainly in ChiShona was a PhD student in the African Language Studies Section in the School of Languages and Literatures at the South African university.

He will be awarded his Rhodes University doctorate later in the month, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the graduation ceremony will be virtual.

Mabasa’s thesis is titled:

 “CHAVE CHEMUTENGURE VHIRI RENGORO: HUSARUNGANO NERWENDO RWENGANO DZEVASHONA. The folktale in confrontation with a changing world: a Shona storyteller’s autoethnography.”

Speaking on why he chose to write the PhD Thesis in his mother tongue, Mabasa said:

“The choice to use ChiShona is a response to the exclusion and marginalisation of othered knowledges. By using the Shona language, I am rethinking pedagogy and targeting a disenfranchised audience. Brutal colonial conquest and forced acculturation have disturbed and created insecure conditions for Africans. Africans have had other people tell their stories for them – othering them, judging them, labelling them, misrepresenting them. My thesis in Shona is part of unthinking Eurocentrism and searching for alternative epistemologies. The African cannot continue thinking as if he is still living in a colonial world, perpetuating colonial discourses and perspectives”. 

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