HomeEditorial CommentAct now to save San culture

Act now to save San culture


ONE of the major gains that came with the adoption of the new Constitution a year ago is the recognition of the minority languages that now enjoy the same status as Ndebele, English and Shona.

Previously the 16 so-called minority languages were not recognised and were not taught at schools.

Children from these ethnic groups were being forced to learn either Ndebele or Shona at school. This clear injustice has left some languages on the brink of extinction especially Tshwao spoken by members of the San community found in areas such as Tsholotsho and Plumtree in Matabeleland South.

Such alienation has left the San feeling marginalised and denied freedoms and liberties as equal citizens of Zimbabwe.

Now that the Constitution recognises 16 official languages, including Tshwao the authorities have a responsibility to ensure that they don’t die. It is a pity that a year after the charter was adopted the minority languages are still yet to be taught in schools.

The Primary and Secondary Education ministry does not seem to be in a hurry to ensure that the Constitution is followed.

Revelations that only four people speak Tshwao show that the situation is now urgent and authorities cannot afford to rest on their laurels. The death of a language means the death of a culture and engenders a sense of alienation.

It is the duty of the government to ensure that everyone feels part of Zimbabwe and preserving people’s languages is one way of doing that.

If not resolved, the situation has the potential of brewing tribal conflict as sentiments expressed at a workshop for the minority groups held in Bulawayo revealed.

The minority groups feel they are being taken advantage of by the dominant tribes and we cannot just dismiss such sentiments as ill-informed because our government has done nothing to prove otherwise.

The teaching of all the 16 constitutionally-recognised languages should be done without any further delays.

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