[lg policy] Zimbabwe: Govt to Craft Policy On Langusges, Culture

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 31 14:49:26 UTC 2014

Zimbabwe: Govt to Craft Policy On Langauges, Culture

   By Stanely Mushava

Government is working hard to create an inclusive environment for the 13
indigenous languages recognised by the Constitution last year. Sport, Arts
and Culture Minister Andrew Langa said his ministry is establishing a
language council to co-ordinate the newly ratified languages. In a speech
read on his behalf by Rev Paul Damasane at the Zimbabwe International Book
Fair Indaba on Monday, Langa said the Government was working to promote the
languages and culture in general.

The Constitution recognises Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan,
Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga,
Tswana, Venda and Xhosa as Zimbabwe's official languages.

However, the newly recognised languages are yet to be streamlined into
social and economic interaction as Ndebele, Shona and English still
dominate virtually all key sectors.

Minister Langa told ZIBF Indaba delegates that the language council will
develop and implement a broad-based language policy to redress the
situation. He said the language regulatory body will also promote the
implementation of language-based regulation.

"This language body will be the focal point on language for regional,
continental and global interactions on language issues. This will mean in
the case of the African Union, this body will interact with the African
Academy for Languages," Langa said.

The ministry is also crafting a National Cultural Policy which will also
enable the creation of a cultural body which will oversee culture and

"This is because dialogues on our culture and heritage are missing and
absent in the day to day functioning of the National Arts Council as it is

The cultural policy will also protect intellectual property in the creative
industry, particularly the book sector in line with an Intellectual
Property Policy being developed by the ministry in conjunction with the
Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The minister commended ZIBF for providing a platform to capacitate the
creative sector and pledged sustained partnership for the book fair.

"The ministry is engaging sister ministries such as the Ministry of Finance
and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in policy formulation to improve
the funding and operational environment of the book publishing, printing
and design industries," he said.

"The purpose is to improve productivity so as to create employment and
business for the artists who are key players."

The minister said publishers and booksellers as part of the creative
industries system need a lot more support and that his ministry has engaged
Treasury for a favourable funding model.

Indaba delegates including acclaimed creative writers Albert Nyathi,
Chiedza Musengezi, Ignatius Mabasa and a Tanzanian intellectual property
expert Dr Eliamani Laltaika urged Government to speed up the establishment
of the language council which they said is a progressive initiative. ZIBF
runs until August 2 under the theme "Indigenous Languages, Literature, Art
and Knowledge Systems of Africa."


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