Gift Sibanda, the recently appointed new Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust Board of Trustees Chairman, officiated the twin book launch of Dictionary of Shona Names and The Odyssey of Shona Imaginative Narratives by Professor George Kahari at an event held at the Culture Fund offices in Milton Park Harare on 27 October and attended by distinguished academics, civil society, the diplomatic corps, members of the creative sector, the media among others. Speaking at the garden event, Gift Sibanda said, “The Culture Fund has for the last 10 years, been working in promotion of a vibrant Arts and Culture Sector that contributes to development of ordinary Zimbabwean citizens. We have opened our doors today to celebrate a remarkable work of literary and academic pursuit.”
The decorated academic and diplomatic Professor Kahari’s research is a culmination of 64 years of work and research into the meaning of Shona names. The Shona Imaginative Narratives is a collation and collection of published and unpublished articles and addresses to international conferences, 1964-2016, a period of 54 years The Dictionary of Shona Names is not a compilation of historical persons’ names but of the meaning, significance and symbolism behind personal family totems and tribal praise names. The dictionary was supported, in different phases of its production over the last 5 years, by Culture Fund partners; the European Union, Denmark and Sweden and separately by the University of Zimbabwe Research Board. Support was given towards research, editing, printing and launching of the 600 page, 2 volume of book. The dictionary is the first of its kind in Africa.
The Culture Fund is a non-profit organization. Founded in June 2006, it has played an active change agent role for over 1,000 creative projects within Zimbabwe; shifted many mindsets, strengthen CBOs capacities, empowered women and helped improve livelihoods and rights awareness. A unique enabler within society, it has enhanced Zimbabwe’s creative capacities by investing in actions that infuse creativity and innovation into community and national development strategies.
Over the last 10 years, Culture Fund programmes partnerships have demonstrated that there are different avenues to change the human development pathway, especially involving women and young people. In an effort to improve its attribution towards changing the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans within focused areas of need, the Fund has consolidated its programme-focused approaches for its development interventions.
The new Culture Board Chair, Gift Sibanda, who previously held the position of Deputy Board Chair, takes over from Susan Mutangadura. Sibanda is Managing Director at Imperial Intellectual Property Investments (3Eyes). A lawyer by training, he is former Director General at African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and has a wide range of experience, networks and influence, regionally and internationally.