A CULTURAL and language activist has claimed that authorities are unaware of International Mother Language Day and the existence of Tshwao, the language of the San people.
Tsoro-o-otso Development Trust director Davy Ndlovu said he had tried to engage authorities in Bulawayo and Harare on the day and the language, but they seemed oblivious of both.
The San people in Tsholotsho are preparing International Mother Language Day celebrations later this month.
Ndlovu said they had initially wanted the International Mother Language Day celebrations to be held on February 21 this year.
“But since this day coincides with President Robert Mugabe’s birthday, we have decided to shift the date to February 25,” he said.
“When we engaged some people in the government and those that matter in issues of language rights we were shocked that there is little awareness of the International Mother Language Day.”
Ndlovu said the celebrations would be at Gariya Dam in Tsholotsho, where his organisation will be recording various languages.
He encouraged everyone to speak their mother tongue on the day.
Ndlovu said his organisation was engaging other language groups so as to talk about language rights, as it seems people do not appreciate their rights to use and be acquainted with their mother tongue more than other people’s language.
“You may have noticed that even Ndebele, which is said to be dominating in this region (Matabeleland), had some problems when the Grade 7 examination paper carried wrong Ndebele words,” he said.
“This shows that there is a need for Zimbabwe as a country to embrace language rights and enable and allow people to use their own languages.”
Ndlovu said last week he was in Harare where he engaged the director for Curriculum Development in the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, Arthur Makanda, whom he said appeared unaware of the existence of the San language and the International Mother Language Day.
“Currently the government is developing the education curriculum, but Makanda said there was no input from the San people,” he said.