Government applauded for recognising minority languages

Government applauded for recognising minority languages

from SHELUZANI MAKHESE in Chikombedzi
TSONGA communities in southeastern Zimbabwe have welcomed the decision by government to recognise their language in the new constitution.

Shangaan women showcasing what they know most: Showcasing their cultural and traditional dance at a festival in Muhlanguleni, Chikombedzi, Chiredzi south, CAJ News Africa

The recognition has culminated in the translating of the constitution into their language.

Their compliment follows government’s move to translate the constitution into 15 indigenous languages covering the initially marginalised Chewa, Chibure, Khoisan, Kalanga, Nambya, Ndau, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Tsonga ‘Shangaan’, Venda and Xhosa.

The government undertook the translation move in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC).

Upon attaining independence in 1980, the inaugural Zimbabwe constitution only had three main languages comprising English, Shona and Ndebele, excluding the so-called minority tribes.

The Vatsonga said the recognition of minority languages would enhance justice and democracy.

“We laud government for addressing these sticking tribal issues at a very short space of time. I’m strongly convinced if government is afforded more time, Zimbabwe will be a rainbow nation,” said Khazamula Livombo in Chikombedzi village.

The new constitution was approved in the referendum in 2013. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is implementing it since voted into power in 2018.

“This has been long overdue, and we laud the second republic for doing right things at the right time. We, the Vatsonga, now feel recognised by this development,” said Tlangelani Hanyani.

Some members of the Tsonga public suggested that streets in their towns be named after local heroes.

Tsongas are a minority in Zimbabwe but have vast populations in neighbouring Mozambique and South Africa.

Speaking at the official launch of the Constitution Education, Awareness and Dissemination Strategic Document, minister of justice Ziyambi Ziyambi said the translation exercise would enable citizens to exercise their rights.

  • CAJ News

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