The promotion of indigenous languages is key in nurturing cultural identity, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Edgar Moyo, has said.
He said this at the launch of the Indigenous Languages Radio Lessons Workshop in Harare on Wednesday.
The workshop sought to train educationists on the development of Barwe, Chewa, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Kalanga, Sesotho, Shona, Tonga, Venda, Xangani and Xhosa at infant level.
“The Ministry supports the growth of indigenous languages in this 21st Century era with competence-based curriculum and the indigenous language as a medium of instruction policy for support of Barwe, Chewa, Nambiya, Ndau, Ndebele, Kalanga, Sesotho, Shona, Tonga, Venda, Xangani and Xhosa at infant level,” said Deputy Minister Moyo said.
“The role of indigenous languages in sustainable development has to be emphasised from early childhood learning and this culminates into individuals grounded on knowing how they are, where they came from and with the capacity to positively impact on their own lives, and the world at large.
“Indigenous languages due to their nature, document community achievements and heritage and the exposure of our learners to ensure that vibrant historical database for generations to come is stored. Suppression of languages was one of the strategies to condemn our culture, our pride and identity.”
The indigenous language workshop, said Deputy Minister Moyo, promoted the revitalisation and maintenance of local languages.
He said the beauty of different languages converging in one room was the foundation for future collaborations, and partnerships availed a multiplicity of opportunities.
“The airing of these languages revitalises and maintains the languages for everyday and future generations’ use, said Deputy Minister Moyo. The capacity of indigenous languages’ or voices’ space in popular culture cannot be ignored and learners need to be made aware of opportunities that exist in social media, prose poetry and film, among others.
“There is global drive on indigenous languages and multilingualism, the radio lessons will provide the learners with a window to acquire skill to speak more than one language and improve on tolerance and peaceful living in the country.”