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‘Teach your children indigenous languages at home’

President Mnangagwa has called for the teaching of indigenous languages especially at home to inculcate a sense of national pride in the younger generation as well as preserve the culture and heritage of the nation.

He was speaking on Wednesday while officially opening the national languages conference which is underway in Victoria Falls.

The conference is being attended by various stakeholders including culture and language experts, traditional leaders, historians, civic society groups, linguists, researchers and government officials.

The theme is: “Redefining the role of Zimbabwean languages for national development towards vision 2030 and beyond” which Mnangagwa said was apt to the Zimbabwean situation where efforts are being made to reengage all facets of the society by his administration.

Mnangagwa said the conference dovetails with Sections 6 and 63 of the constitution which obligates that all officially recognised languages be treated equally and provide every person with the right to use a language of their choice.

“We are committed to keeping our languages alive by leaving no language behind.

The revitalization of indigenous languages is essential for ensuring the continuation and transmission of culture, customs, and history to this end, the family is the first classroom and parents are a child’s
first teacher.

“I, therefore, call upon parents and guardians to set a good example by teaching our children their indigenous languages,” said Mnangagwa.

He said this will also reinforce our cultural norms which emphasize the respect of oneself and others including elders our community and environmental mechanisms to mainstream languages into national
development initiatives and nurture citizens to be consciously proud to use their indigenous languages must be equally prioritised.

Teaching indigenous languages will ensure their survival, revival and continuity through generations.

Mnangagwa said this must ultimately lead to an enhanced sense of self-worth, national pride and greater appreciation of the fact that as a nation we are diverse but one people.

He said government will render necessary support and resources for the implementation of various policies, programmes and legislation that build capacity around our national languages and understanding of the cultural heritage.

Mnangagwa said efforts are being made to continuously increase the number of language professionals, especially in less commonly taught languages.

This is despite concerns by citizens about language polarization where public offices are flooded with people speaking languages different from those in their areas of operation.

There has been concerns about teachers being deployed to teach lower grades despite them not conversant with the local language.

“The languages of our people are therefore a resource that should be harnessed not only to ensure cultural diversity and inter-cultural dialogue to also capacitate cultural transformation, human capital
development and wealth creation,” said Mnangagwa.

Government is seeking to come up with a national language policy.

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