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"Curating Ideas With My Daughter" by Ellen Machingaidze

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Let me introduce myself as the co-founder and editor of Mosi oa Tunya Literary Review. My name is Ellen Chipo Machingaidze, a retired linguist who continues to be fueled and enriched by great storytelling. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed reviewing literature of all genres in my different capacities as a high school English teacher, Principal Writer at the Curriculum Development Unit, Examinations Subject Specialist, and Educational Assessment Director for Test Development, Research and Evaluation at the national examinations council.

I served as a reviewer for the Annual Literary Awards for a number of years, during which I felt the need for grassroots writers to be encouraged because there were few submissions in some of the categories of writing. English , Shona, and Ndebele were the only official languages in Zimbabwe then, but now there are sixteen. As such, the previously so-called 'minority languages' (many of which are also spoken by our neighbors in the countries that surround Zimbabwe) now urgently require literature for adults and children to study and enjoy.

A growing concern to do my part to fill this gap is what led to this new partnership with my daughter, Tendai, to create a pan-African platform for Zimbabweans and other writers from Africa. Tendai is a medical doctor who from an early age had a passion for books and writing. She has now published a novel and several short stories in literary journals in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Uganda, Kenya, India, and the United States of America. Her struggles and successes trying to get published as a fiction writer from Zimbabwe formed the seed that has now blossomed into Mosi oa Tunya Literary Review.

My writing energies have led me to publish English Today, a comprehensive English Language course that includes Forms 1-4 student and teacher's books; co-publishing a poetry anthology titled Many People, Many Voices; co-publishing a Grade 6 textbook English in Action; and publishing Time Revision books for Grade 7 and Form 4. I have also been privileged to work as one of the Educational Advisers for  CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), an NGO that has uplifted the lives of many disadvantaged girls in Zimbabwe.

Travelling is one of my joys. I have experienced unity in the cultural diversity of the many regional and international countries that I have visited with my family, as a member of the Association for Educational Assessment in Africa, and as part of the International Association for Educational Assessment. Our beautiful country Zimbabwe has many places of interest. Out of all those I have visited, Mosi oa Tunya stands out as the 'melting pot' for local, regional, and international ideas and cultural traits, due to the thousands of tourists from around the globe who come to see this natural wonder. It is true that culture is embedded in a people's language. We are excited by the prospect of having the full spectrum of Zimbabwean culture represented in our magazine as we embark on this journey to publish and promote storytelling in the rich diversity of all our languages. 

Tendai and I are excited to curate a fresh fusion of ideas and cultures through the power of the written word and art in the Mosi oa Tunya Literary Review. Join us as we share Africa’s voices with the world.

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