‘MPs, ministers shunning local languages’


BY DONALD NYANDORO


BUSINESSWOMAN and talk-show host Rebecca Chisamba has accused parliamentarians of not doing enough to promote the country’s indigenous languages.

Chisamba made the statement during an interview with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) chairman Trevor Ncube on his weekly programme, In Conversation with Trevor.
The excerpts of the interview will be published in our sister paper, The Standard on Sunday.

“We have been defeated by white people because in our own country, we thought speaking English determined one’s level of education, not knowing that someone can be learned while he or she is Ndebele,” Chisamba said.
“You see, even in Parliament, people argue in English and sometimes you wonder if they are talking about the same thing. Ministers should see the significance of our languages because right now, if a child passes Ndebele or Shona, he or she is considered to not have passed. They say you should have English Language.”
She said the promotion of indigenous languages was key in nurturing cultural identity.

“We are not saying people should go back to the Mbuya Nehanda times, no, but what we want is that in perfecting our lives, we do not want our tribe to be seen as non-existent, like in quiz where people would be asked ‘dead language’ and they write Latin. I myself, even you would not want Shona or Ndebele to be called dead language.”
Zimbabwe has 16 official languages: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, Sign Language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa.
In 2019, government, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, began translating the Constitution into indigenous languages to enhance justice and democracy.NewsDay.

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