Commissioned by the British Council in Zimbabwe, with support from Contact, Commonword and Young Identity, the NaMankosi project is looking for people who are willing to share their stories of parenting and heritage from the Zimbabwean community. The stories will be used to create an exhibition, blog and short story collection.
Mankosi; a term used colloquially to describe those without a traditional surname in the Zimbabwean (Ndebele) community, usually because they come from a mixed race background.
'Even before I met my husband, every time I thought about having my own children I had apprehensions about having mixed race children. My fear was that as a black woman, you’re not expected to have issues raising a mixed race child. However, in a time where black women’s natural hair is only just becoming accepted in mainstream beauty, and we still have stigmas attached to certain skin tones, I had my own uncertainties about my heritage and identity. So how could I parent someone else through their uncertainties of a heritage and identity I don’t identify with?'
'After I had my daughter, my Grandmother started calling her Mankosi. At first I didn’t understand what it meant in the context of her being mixed race, but once I started to find out, me and my husband weren’t sure how we felt about it, or, how she may feel about it when she understands what it means.'
Commissioned by the British Council in Zimbabwe, with support from Contact, Commonword and Young Identity; this project aims to explore and give a voice to those who have had similar experiences, especially amongst the Zimbabwean community. I am looking for volunteers to share their Mankosi experiences from the perspective of parents (P), especially black mothers and mixed race individuals (I).Volunteers must be willing to have their stories shared online, but can remain anonymous if they so choose. They must also be willing to participate in a letter exchange between England and Zimbabwe, for the purpose of the letters being used in a physical exhibition in England and an online blog.
Please send all submissions to the project producer at Joanncube@gmail.com by Monday 20th March at 5pm GMT (UK).
Please send an email with a Microsoft Word document or two 2 minute (max)recordings answering these questions:
1) What was your first Mankosi experience? (500 words max)
The first time you realised your child was being treated differently because of their race
The first time you realised you were being treated differently because of your race
2) What was your worst Mankosi experience? And how did it make you feel? (500 words max)
A time when you felt most helpless as a parent when your child was going through an issue with their race.
When you felt most out casted because of your race
In the email please include the following:
1) A brief bio about yourself (250 words max)
2) Your full name
3) Heritage (i.e. Zimbabwean)
4) Your Childs heritage
Responses will be given on Thursday 30th March.