Nursery Rhymes & Verse from Africa
by Liz Mills (Struik)
In her book, Liz Mills presents nursery rhymes that are relevant to children from Africa. Rhymes that speak of things they are familiar with, Kombi and eating putu (a staple food in Africa)
For example, you have the The Taxi wheels go round and round (instead of The Wheels on the Bus), Peter Peter Mealie Eater (Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater); Old Makoena farmed with game eish ai, eish ai, oh! (Old MacDonald Had a Farm).
Not only is learning the rhymes great fun for kids, but it also encourages them to use their memory.
The most challenging task, I think, is for the adult going through the book as you have to unlearn the Eurocentric version and teach yourself the African rhyme.
For some of the rhymes you may find your little one trying to be clever, like mine, and “correcting” you.
For example telling you that it’s not Old Makoena but Old MacDonald. It’s just a matter of making it a fun game to learn a new version of the rhyme.
Great concept, but perhaps Mills should consider adding a sing-a-long function to her books through a “press the button and hear the rhyme” feature.
This may help parents to learn the rhymes they may not be familiar with.
Some rhymes, even the familiar ones, are also a challenge when you struggle to match the rhythm to the new lyrics. – Latoya Newman