Govt to assess deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers

By | July 1, 2014

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Govt to assess deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Mat 01 July 2014 by Staff Reporter

The Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Prof Paul Mavhima will this week lead a delegation to assess the problem of deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland.
The increasing number of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland has become a thorny issue, with parents, educationists and politicians blaming the development for the low pass rates in the region.
Those who have expressed disquiet over the matter have dismissed claims that the issue could be tribal saying it is not about one being Ndebele, but the need for the teacher to understand a local language, be it Tonga, Kalanga, Nambya, Xhosa or any other.
Prof Mavhima said his delegation will be in Matabeleland South province this week in a bid to get the real picture on the ground. He said Senior Minister of State, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo had raised the issue following complaints from parents in the region.
“The issue has been raised at the highest level. Senior Minister Simon Khaya Moyo brought it up and asked the Ministry to intervene,” Prof Mavhima said on Friday in Victoria Falls. He said the ministry agreed as a matter of principle that pupils should be taught and introduced to education by a person who is proficient in their language.
“We are in agreement with those who have raised the issue hence our decision to assess the situation on the ground. I will be visiting Matabeleland South province schools next week,” said Prof Mavhima.
He said any intervention the government would make would be knowledge based.
“We have to be flexible as a ministry and that is part of my visit to the province where we will start in Beitbridge. We will visit schools, communities and wind up by visiting administrators in Gwanda,” he said.
The deputy minister said from Matabeleland South, his delegation will visit Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and some parts of the Midlands province.
He said to address the problem, there might be a need to move non-Ndebele speaking teachers to other regions as well as train more Ndebele-speaking teachers.
“We would want to deploy people where they are effective. The other solution will be to train more Ndebele-speaking teachers but this will take about three years. A permanent solution is to build more  teacher training colleges in the region which again will take some time,” said Prof Mavhima.
He, however, said it was important for people to apprecaite challenges facing the education sector which experienced an exodus of teachers seeking greener pastures in neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Prof Mavhima said the worst affected were the three provinces of Matabeleland and the Midlands.

20 thoughts on “Govt to assess deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers

  1. Zen

    Why are these fools talking as if this is something that started last week?This strategy of Shonalising the country has been going on for decades. It’s deliberate and it’s tribal. Why are we not hearing complaints from Mashonaland schools that there are too many Ndebele teachers who can’t speak Shona? It’s this kind of disgusting tribalism that made me leave Zimbabwe, never to return

    1. Straight Shooter

      Shonas will never complain on issues of language and culture against ZANU PF rule, because they have benefited imensely from their rule. The Rhodesian government treated every African the same; their languages the same – there was no majority and no minority. Obviously many of the Shonas did not like this. So when Mugabe and his ZANU PF came with this “majority” and “minority” nonsense – they were very happy.

  2. cynthia

    Everyway you go you find SHONA people and they expect people from from other languages to speak SHONA which is totally OFF,I PERSONALLY woul not speak to them or answer them in their Language they must just forget it , their time will come,,,

    1. Straight Shooter

      Whilst I believe the Shona people are best placed to explain themselves over this issue; my take is that I believe what makes them think Shona is a language for every black person in Zim is because of the environment within which they are brought up.

      Note that they dont expect Coloureds, Whites and Asians to speak or understand their Shona; they only expect Black people, especially us in Mthwakazi. On the language issue, the Shonas benefited immensely from ZANU PF rule; because this was never the case in the Rhodesian days.

      I had a Shona friend who told me that he grew up where everyone around him spoke Shona and nothing else.

      From morning as he woke up; everywhere he went it was just Shona; until evening when he retired to bed for the night, everywhere it was just Shona. From primary school to high school and University of Zimbabwe. He only heard Ndebele on TV/Radio.

      Their environment is totally unlike our multilingual environment in Mthwakazi. The Shona politicians/leaders like Mugabe and Tswangirayi make it even worse because they dont use any other language other than Shona and English.

      This is why most Shonas kind of appear out of place, sticking out like a sore-thumb whenever they leave their language-comfort zones and try living in South Africa, in particular.

  3. Straight Shooter

    Recruiting Shona speaking teachers to Mthwakazi is a disaster and causes serious tensions between the Mthwakazi people and Shona people.

    We all know what Shona-speaking gukurahundis did in our region in the 1980s – this is a very sore point and will never go away. Please stop tempting us to do the worst – we want peace!

    Instead – just as the government has in the past engaged the Cuban government and recruited Cuban doctors to fill the void in Zim; equally so, the government could engage the South African government and recruit Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Venda, Tsonga/Shangani, seTswana language teachers form South Africa.

    We could even spread these agreements to cover Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana. There is nothing difficult here. I am sure these governments would gladly assist.

    Our Matebeleland chiefs have in the past had so many interactions with chiefs and kings in KwaZulu Natal and those from the Eastern Cape, and they have always been keen to see these languages survive.

    Already, the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo has had Curriculum inputs from Venda language experts from University of Venda in Thohoyandou; in the Limpopo province of South Africa. This is a good start. This should be extended to the rest of the languages that are common between Mthwakazi and South Africa/Botswana/Lesotho and Swaziland. Even the Afrikaans language should be revived after it disappeared from the curriculum of Zimbabwean schools in the early years of the ZANU PF government. Afrikaans is also an African language.

    Its about time African leadership on this continent got over their obsession with colonial borders and allow for the growth and thriving of our indigenous African identities. To hell with this “sovereignity” nonsense!!

  4. Straight Shooter

    If they can recruit Cuban doctors; surely they can also recruit South African language teachers!!

  5. pati

    Straight Shooter, there is always a lot of anger in your responses against Shona speaking Zimbabweans. I totally understand where it comes from. Mugabe is Shona and Gukurahundi massacres were carried out by predominantly Shona speaking Zimbabweans to brutalize and murder predominantly Ndebele speaking Zimbabweans. To date nothing has been done about these massacres and it makes people who suffered from this madness very angry. I get that and the anger is justified. But what bothers me about your responses is your very broad brush which paints every Shona speaker black and deserving of Mugabe’s oppression. I know of a lot of Shona speakers who decry what happened in Matebeland, who have been,from the 80s, advocating for independent investigation and/ or a truth commission of what really happened in Matebeleland and find the best way to assuage the feelings of those who were hurt by this madness. I don’t know if there is any redress that can fully undo what was done with such callousness and impunity, but I know that continuing to fan and spew hatred of a people just because they happen to share a common language with a murderer, will not cut it either. Just take a moment.

    1. Straight Shooter

      If there are any progressive Shona people who believe in unity in diversity, I am afraid they seem totally drowned out by the dont-give-a damn ones out there.

      I look around, read the Herald, Chronicle; check websites etc, etc not even one Shona-speaking church leader says a word about these things. The last Church leader who was in the news continuously confronting the regime was Archbishop Pius Ncube, and he is not Shona.

      I dont see any Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela among the Shona man of the clothe or the general societal leadership. Look at the language issue and the school children whose lives are being destroyed in Matebeland – where are they? Not a word from there.

      I am not sure what we the people of Matebeleland are expected to do; because in my view it is clear that some amng the Shona will never tire of revenging!!

  6. pati

    Sure, Straight Shooter, Pius Ncube, a man of cloth was and I hope still is a man of great courage and an advocate for human dignity, his personal shortcomings notwithstanding. But just cannot take one leader from one region to be The total representative of all the people of that region, neither should you take one murderer to be the all representative of the people he comes from. I don’t take Simon Khaya Moyo or Obert Mpofu to be a true reflection of all the Ndebele speaking people nor do I take Norbert Kunonga to be a reflection of all the Shona speaking people. The point is we are all Zimbabweans who have suffered as a result of one leader who happens to be Shona. I cannot be convinced that you truly believe that there are no Shona speaking leaders who are talking against Mugabe’s policies. They may not have a light shone on them, but there’s plenty of them, just like in Matebeleland. A lot of leaders are speaking out under the rader and they are the most effective ones. Don’t look for them in the Chronicle or Herald, ZANU PF’s mouthpieces because you won’t find them. Many don’t advertise their good work on the web, but do what they must quietly because they are that wise. This applies to both Mashonaland and Matebeleland. They don’t spew hatred and we, in turn, must not.

    1. Straight Shooter

      Why not give us examples of these progressive Shona leaders? Where are they and who are they?

      During the struggle, we had whites who, despite the privelages the system bestowed upon them fought openly on the side of the disadvantaged. To be honest, I am struggling to find just one-Shona speaking leader; a Church leader or ordinary man who openly fits this bill.

      Even in Bulawayo or anywhere in Matebeleland, these same Shona Church pastors are fighting with their congregations because they are imposing Shona on them. Churches are divided over language.

      The mind boggles – I mean this is Matebeleland; why should this be an issue? Its obvious that Ndebele should be the language, isnt it?

      No Ndebele pastor would have qualms with the use of Shona as a preaching medium in Harare or elsewhere in Mashonaland for instance. This has never happened.

      So you see what I mean – with the Shona, even if I try not to generalise the examples are just too many, not to generalise. This is the problem!!

  7. pati

    Straight Shooter, generally I am not in the habit of going back and forth with my fellow contributors, but I should at this point, because your sentiments bring out a very important issue of language and perhaps ethnicity which must be addressed if we are to advance as a country. Now that you have convinced yourself that there are no Shona leaders worth your consideration, I am not going to try to convince you, save to ask how much you have travelled and I really think you are looking at the wrong places for such worthy leaders. There is nothing inherently wrong with Shona speakers just as there is nothing inherently right with Ndebele speakers. If we are to look at our ethnicities we come to realise that there is generally no pure ethnic group in Zimbabwe. To give a historical perspective, the Ndebeles have Shona blood flowing in them. Go back in history and try to remember where Mzilikazi got women from. The Shonas have Malawian blood flowing in them. I know of Moyos, Khumalos, Mhlangas, Ndlovus, the list goes on, who cannot speak Ndebele and the Chinyamakobvus, Manyumwas, Rusikes, Chaumbas etc.who cannot speak Shona, but Ndebele. If we are to take our DNA and compare it we will be surprised how much of the Shona blood flows in Ndebele speaking Zimbabweans and vice versa. Hanging our future on ethno or language based bias and prejudice can never get us anywhere.

    1. Qiniso

      Baloney! The point is one should understand the local language and culture. If you have Shona DNA and you speak Ndebele no one is against that. The issue is bringing a non Ndebele speaking person to the area and if its the policy, then deploy Ndebele speaking teachers to Mashonaland period.

    2. Straight Shooter

      I agree with what you say about our mutual inclusivity in terms of the blood line. But that does not cancel out the very existance of the Ndebele and the Shona entities and their unique languages. Unfortunately you seem to be avoiding to provide examples of those Shona leaders you refered to in general terms. Now that you are straying off tanget; it seems we are going nowhere. Lets just agree to disagree; but we remain in good terms and fellow countrymen. No hard feelings my brother, its just a debate. THANKS!

  8. Mafatshi

    Good points Pati, straight shooter. Suffering is now felt by the majority of Zimbabweans. That was not the case in the early years of our independence. The universality of suffering should now unit us in finding lasting solutions, such as free media, respect for human rights and property right, use of our natural resources to benefit all citizens etc.

  9. Qiniso

    Why deploy a Shona speaker teacher in MaT in the 1st place. We have lots of qualified Ndebele speaking youths in the area. Vuka SK. Fight for your own tribe instead of bootlicking. I have yet to see a Ndebele speaking teacher deployed in the heart of MaS.

  10. victor jesse

    LOL i think you two must meet up for coffee one day and debate this issue furthermore and i will be the mediator.. pati & sraight hooter you two seem to have high literate levels


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