Munyaradzi and Tendai

Munyaradzi Tendai Elizabeth Norval 1993

How Munyaradzi and Tendai Came to Be…

Sitting in the car at a traffic intersection in Gainesville, Florida, feeling homesick for Africa and Zimbabwe, it occurred to me that I could recreate some of my best memories of the children I missed so much, as puppets.

I began working on Munyaradzi (Shona for comforter or reconciliator) and Tendai (Shona for thank you), a boy and girl from Zimbabwe.
I wove the experiences of a child in my first grade class and my uncle’s childhood encounter with an ostrich into a story to represent life as a Zimbabwean child might experience it in 1990, the year I left.

In 1993, I took these two puppets with me to Vancouver, Washington, where the Toys of Joy Theater and Washington University were sponsoring a three-week puppet workshop. I worked on an ostrich puppet and finalized the script. Puppeteers in the company gave me helpful feedback.In 1994, I began performing Munyaradzi Goes to School. I taught the audience Shona words that appeared in the script. “Eh-eh” is used to show agreement. “Enda” means go away, and “Amai” is mother.

This play is geared for audiences between grade one and three. It has been well received by teachers and students wherever I’ve presented it.

See a performance highlights video of  “Munyaradzi Goes to School in Zimbabwe.

Contact me to find out more!