Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 218

Full Length Research Paper

The teaching Of Unhu/Ubuntu through Shona novels in Zimbabwean secondary schools: A case for Masvingo urban district

N. Eunitah Viriri
  • N. Eunitah Viriri
  • Department of Teacher Development, School of Education, Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe.
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Maradze Viriri
  • Maradze Viriri
  • Mutiusinazita High School, Buhera, Zimbabwe.
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  •  Received: 05 July 2018
  •  Accepted: 14 August 2018
  •  Published: 31 October 2018


The study investigated the extent to which secondary schools contributed towards the promotion of unhu among secondary school learners through the teaching of Shona novels. It aimed at assessing teachers and learners’ understanding of unhu and thereby establishing the extent to which they value the teaching of unhu through the Shona novel and ascertain the extent to which Shona teachers use prescribed texts to teach unhu. The study involved 16 Shona teachers and 20 ‘A’ level Shona students from four secondary schools in Masvingo town. Data was gathered through questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions.  The study established that most teachers and learners had very limited knowledge on the unhu concept. As a result, Shona teachers appreciated the novel as a tool that can be used to impart morals not unhu in its  broad sense. Some teachers therefore, unconsciously used fictional works to impart unhu values in learners. It was therefore concluded that despite the potential Shona novels in promoting unhu among Shona learners in secondary schools, teachers used them to a limited extent. This research is of the view that teachers’ awareness of the unhu concept is of paramount importance for effective teaching of the values on pupils through the novel. Thus, there is need for unhu awareness workshops for professionals already in the field and the introduction of the unhu subject in teacher training institutions so that teachers can be effective implementers of the subject.


Key words: Unhu/ubuntu, Shona novels, Zimbabwean secondary schools, African world view, traditional education.