THE REVIVAL and preservation of the San people’s culture and language has suffered a serious blow following the death of one of its major sources Gogo Motshwa.
The Creative Arts and Education Development Association director Davy Ndlovu, who is a Khoisan language activist, said Motshwa succumbed to pneumonia at her home in Sanqinyana village, Tsholotsho, last week.
Ndlovu said they had relied heavily on Motshwa’s knowledge of the San people’s history and language called Tshwao in drafting educational material for the marginalised community largely found in the Tsholotsho district.
“She is one of the elderly San people whom we relied on most for their history and language,” Ndlovu said.
“She was born in 1918 and was among the 14 elderly San people we consulted in reviving the language and documenting the history of the San.
“Motshwa’s death is a blow to us because she was the most reliable as she could speak Tshwao fluently and still remember the San people’s culture and tradition very well.”
He said the government should take the revival of minority languages seriously by allocating required resources because if the elderly like Motshwa all died, that would leave the younger generation without any knowledge resulting in the death of both their language and culture.
Ndlovu also revealed that the San people in Tsholotsho celebrate International Mother Language Day on February 21 and this year’s commemorations would be dedicated to Motshwa for the knowledge she left them.
“On this day, there would be storytelling, singing of San Tshwao songs and traditional San dances,” he said.
“The event helps us learn from the elderly how living in the bush was like. It will purely be Tshwao, but the Kalanga and Ndebele can attend.”
Statistics show that there are about 1 630 San people in Zimbabwe, with 457 found in Plumtree, eight in Matobo and 1 165 in Tsholotsho.
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