CHIEF Gampu of Tsholotsho South has said teaching graduates from the San community should be deployed to teach in the area to save their language from extinction.
Chief Gampu said his subjects were being used as tourist attractions as people take photographs of them naked for sale abroad creating the impression that some Zimbabweans were still living in the stone-age.
Contributing to debate in the senate on the motion of policy on indigenous languages on Tuesday, Chief Gampu said the San language and culture was being looked down upon.
He said trained San teachers should be given an opportunity to teach at schools in their own areas.
According to the Hansard, an in-house parliamentary publication which records debates verbatim, Chief Gampu said: “To me, those people are so important and very clever, but it is disheartening that their language is not recognised.
“Most of the things pass them by because all along their language was not being recognised.
“They know most of the medications that heal diseases that are incurable such as cancer. They are very good hunters who hunt diligently within the law.”
He said the San were not being given equal opportunities in education.
“You also realise that in schools, they are not given equal opportunities in education, but I think the late Vice-President John Landa Nkomo valued their existence and built a school where some of them attend,” the chief said.
“There are some who have progressed well with their education, passing ‘O’ Level examinations.
“It shows that we have teachers who are native speakers of the San language and others have progressed to university level to learn how to teach using their indigenous languages.
“As a chief, I support this motion and I hope that they will be given an opportunity to go and teach in their schools the language of the San” he said.
There has been an outcry over deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in the region which is largely blamed on the poor pass rate, mostly at primary level. Chief Gampu said his community was being taken advantage of due to its intact culture.
“I work with them most of the times for in my area I have 55 headmen and 10 villagers in Ward 5,” he said.
“I came to the realisation that most of the times people used to come and make money out of them.
“They would come and take pictures of the people because they walk around naked though most of the times they walk around putting on animal skins.
“They would take those pictures overseas and claim that in Zimbabwe, there are still people living such a life and make money out of that. People overseas would donate money and when they got the money they would not bring it to the San, but used the money.”