from TINO PEPUKAI in Chiredzi
CHIREDZI, (CAJ News) – MINORITY communities in southeast Zimbabwe have gotten their way as only doctors conversant in local languages are going to perform circumcisions.
The mostly Shangaan-speaking communities had made their position known to the national government around the rite, which is key in the transition from boyhood to manhood.
Moves by the government to exclusively employ Shangaan teachers at local schools buoyed such demands by traditional leaders.
Chief Sengwe disclosed they have launched an appeal to the Ministry of Health and Child Care to second their position on Shangaan-speaking doctors to conduct circumcisions.
“We have raised this issue for years and I hope it is getting the attention it deserves from the government,” the chief said.
“We want our children who are now doctors to come and do circumcisions because they know our culture very well,” Sengwe said.
Amadeus Shamu, Masvingo provincial medical director, said they had acceded to the demands of communities around the emotive issue.
“We have made sure that those deployed to Chiredzi for circumcision are conversant with the cultural values of the local community (Shangaan),” Shamu said.
The government will meanwhile resume the deployment of Shangaan- speaking teachers to work at schools in the Chiredzi district.
Educators stationed in the region but not fluent in the local language will be redeployed elsewhere.
Zedius Chitiga, Masvingo provincial director for education, said this was in line with some minority languages now considered official by the country’s constitution of 2013.
“We are going to take a deliberate approach to deploy Shangaan-speaking teachers in Chiredzi to ensure that the language is learnt from primary to secondary level and this will improve the pass rate in the district,” Chitiga said.
Chitiga added, “All areas in the country should have teachers who speak the language of areas they work in.”
Casper Mupunga, the Chiredzi district education officer, concurred.
“We would love to reach a point where everyone who teaches in Shangaan communities is also conversant with the language. The pass rate in parts of Chiredzi was very low due to the issue of language barrier,” Mupunga said.
Popular in southeast Zimbabwe, Shangaan is among minority languages among the 16 which have been recognized by the country’s constitution.
Traditional leaders have welcomed the development adding that such a move should be extended to all other departments including health centres.
“We welcome the move by the ministry of education to deploy teachers who can speak the local language but we believe this should be extended to hospitals and clinics,” Chief Chilonga said.
Callisto Gwanetsa, Chiredzi South legislator, commended the promotion of local languages.
“This is what we have been advocating for since time immemorial. The move will ensure that development reaches every corner of the once marginalized areas,” Gwanetsa said.
The government is training educators who will teach minority languages.
All official languages are to be taught in schools throughout the country.
Initially, only English, Shona and Ndebele were taught in schools.
– CAJ News