UKZN lecturer launches isiZulu COVID animation film for children

The film is based on the university’s social work senior lecturer Dr Maud Mthembu’s book about COVID-19 titled 'Uhambo lwami ngesikhathi sekhovithi - My journey during COVID-19.’

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on Wednesday announced that it had produced a short isiZulu animation film for children.

The film is based on the university’s social work senior lecturer Dr Maud Mthembu’s book about COVID-19 titled, Uhambo lwami ngesikhathi sekhovithi - My journey during COVID-19.

In a statement, the university said that the 10-minute film tells the story of Nsimu, a 10-year-old child whose family was affected by the virus and the impact that the disease had on the family.

"The story is told from Nsimu’s perspective and is intended for children aged six years and above. The film also has subtitles in all South African languages and is used by different NGOs from various communities who use the book and the animation as part of their work in child protection," the university said.

On why she decided to create an animation film, Mthembu said: “We noticed that children enjoy watching animations and saw an opportunity to use the animation as a cost-effective method to reach more children. The animation can also be used as a tool to initiate conversations with children about their personal journeys of living during the time of COVID-19 and to teach children about the virus. We must give children the platform to share these experiences and identify the type and form of support they need.”

Mthembu believes that the use of vernacular language brings the story alive, promoting inclusivity and social cohesion.

“The use of IsiZulu was intentional in that as the University of KwaZulu-Natal, we are committed to promoting the language that is widely spoken in the province. The story that is told in the book and animation is deeply rooted in the socio-cultural context of KwaZulu-Natal. It is, therefore, our responsibility to ensure that the story is shared in IsiZulu. Children love hearing stories in their language and we want children to grow up with a sense of pride in speaking and reading their language,” Mthembu said.

The animation film will be launched on 4 February 2022.