San to re-birth language, culture 

Source: San to re-birth language, culture –Newsday Zimbabwe

THE San community has embarked on a project aimed at re-establishing its culture and language threatened with extinction.

Tsoro-o-otso San Development Trust director Davy Ndlovu said the project is called the San Community Organised Rebirth Event (Score).



Ndlovu said a few people among the San community understood their mother language following the death of native speakers.

Even though the Khoisan language is officially recognised in Zimbabwe’s Constitution, less than 10 native speakers can speak the language.

“We now have to engage the community so that they start to talk their language,” Ndlovu said.

“After getting funding we started bush camps where we met villagers to do cultural activities such as lessons on hunting expeditions, marriage issues and language lessons. We group them and let them talk in Ndebele and it is translated into Tjwao.”



He said they were being assisted by the last generation of the Tjwao speakers in Tsholotsho.

“Besides language, we also do advocacy so that we can get government assistance. In April, we will be engaging those from the Curriculum Development Unit so that we can write books,” Ndlovu said.


“The response is good because other minority rights groups are also coming in to assist.



“Of late, we have been having challenges in running our programs but the installation of our substantive Chief Goledema has made things easy for us because we are now a representation in government offices.”

The San community in Zimbabwe is mostly found in such Tsholotsho villages as ward 1 — Gariya, ward 2 — Mtshina, ward 7 — Gulalikabili, ward 8 — Sanqinyana and ward 10 — Sakhile, where the majority have adopted isiNdebele and TjiKalanga languages.

It is reported that over the past century alone, around 400 languages — about one every three months — have gone extinct, and most linguists estimated 50% of the world’s remaining 6 500 languages would be gone by the end of this century.