20 March 2017

Zimbabwe: GZU Embraces Local Languages

Great Zimbabwe University is looking for lecturers to teach six indigenous languages, saying the move is meant to preserve the languages and in the process strengthen African and national consciousness.

GZU, whose niche is in the arts, said it wanted 18 lecturers to teach Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Nambya, Tjikalanga, Sesotho and Tonga.

In an interview with The Herald recently, the university's registrar Mrs Sinikiwe Gwatidzo said they were excited to be strengthening African and national consciousness through teaching the indigenous languages.

"It must be noted that our niche is in the arts, culture and heritage studies and this niche encompasses preservation of languages since they are the vehicle through which values, traditions and beliefs are transmitted and portrayed, she said.

"In addition, we are conscious of the national aspirations where the 16 constitutionally recognised languages must be taught and known in Zimbabwe. That way we will be empowering our fellow men and women to read, write and express themselves in the languages they are most comfortable with. We are positive that the move will help spearhead national development."

Mrs Gwatidzo said as a university, GZU believed language was crucial in the portrayal of beliefs, traditions and values.

She said the teaching of the languages was in response to a request by Government.

"I should also point out that some of the languages that we are teaching came through a request from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education under the UNICEF funded programme to train teachers in minority languages, and this is where the bulk of the students are," said Mrs Gwatidzo.

"So far there are 698 students enrolled in the programmes and we hope to recruit as many as would want to do the languages. Our doors are still open for this and the next intake."

Mrs Gwatidzo added: "It is true that we require qualified staff to teach minority languages. Just to note that these are not new programmes that we intend to introduce, but they are already running since 2014 and very soon we will be expecting the first cohort of graduates from them.

"I, however, wish to inform you that we have been offering Tshivenda and Xitshangana since 2004 and we have had a sizeable number of graduates from those two programmes too. So, these ones become an addition to Xitshangana, Tshivenda, Shona and Ndebele which have been running since the university was established."

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