SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Mr Chenjerai Shire


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Mr Chenjerai Shire


Chenjerai Shire has a long-standing association with SOAS, spanning over 25 years, initially as a student and subsequently as a language instructor and consultant.

At SOAS, he has provided both group tuition and tailored individual teaching in the chiShona and isiZulu languages. He has a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Languages of the Wider World from SOAS and has taught on the 'Language in Africa, 'Culture in Africa' and 'Literatures in African Languages' modules on the African Studies degree pathways.

Shire’s research interests include language pedagogy, masculinities, the development of the chiShona language, and Bantu linguistics. He has compiled extensive lexicographies of key chiShona terms to illustrate linguistic connectivity and has contributed to research conducted by SOAS academics, including work on Shona masculinities, the Shona novel and philosophy, and Shona language and culture. His 1994 essay on southern African masculinities (‘Men don’t go to the moon: language, space and masculinities in Zimbabwe’) in Lindisfarne & Cornwall's Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies, is globally one of the most cited works on this topic and still appears regularly on undergraduate reading lists.

Shire also has extensive experience as an interpreter and translator in a community context. He has worked with lawyers, doctors and other specialist health professionals, including Refugee & Migrant Justice, the Maudsley Hospital and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, working with migrants, survivors of torture and other trauma, and people with mental health difficulties. He has also provided specialist forensic linguistic commentary on issues relating to language use and culture for asylum and immigration cases. He contributed the Shona section to Lonely Planet’s international best-selling Africa Phrasebook and Dictionary.

Shire has worked as a researcher on a number of documentary films relating to Zimbabwe. He acted as a linguistic consultant to the renowned late Zimbabwean musician, Chartwell Dutiro and taught chiShona at Dutiro’s Mhararano Mbira Academy at Dartington Hall. He has also advised various theatre companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Breakfast with Mugabe and the Gate Theatre’s productions of The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco and The Convert by Danai Gurira.


Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies