Sukulwenkosi Dube Plumtree Correspondent
Writers in the country have been urged to produce literature in various local languages in order to support teaching of indigenous languages in schools. Speaking at a Kalanga Books Launch in Plumtree last week, Mangwe MP, Obedingwa Mguni said indigenous languages were now being taught in schools but literature was not yet available.
“Our constitution enacted in 2013 recognises Tjikalanga alongside other languages. As a result indigenous languages are now being taught up to tertiary level.
“The development can only be worthwhile and sustainable if supported by literature and other forms of learning material. The introduction of Tjikalanga as a subject area in schools and colleges has exposed a literature gap which can only be filled by writers,” said Mguni.
He urged schools and tertiary institutions that had not started implementing the local language policy to begin as they were depriving learners. Mguni said recognition of various indigenous languages was crucial in projecting the cultures of different tribes in the country adding that literature was a crucial tool of sharing and preserving different cultures that have been marginalised in the past.
“While the legal and policy framework supports the growth of all languages, it’s up to us as communities, artists, literary arts, performing arts and other genres to celebrate this through plays, songs, dramas, etc which are produced in indigenous languages.
“While doing this, these artistes and writers can secure a source of livelihood for themselves. The young generation should understand that speaking English is not the mark of civilisation but it is being comfortable with who you are and advancing it.”
He added that it was pleasing to note that youths from Plumtree were engaged in the process of promoting their language and culture through writing.
Also speaking at the launch, Kalanga Language and Cultural Development Association (KLCDA) executive committee chairperson, Tshidzanani Malaba said they had made significant progress in promoting effective teaching of Tjikalanga in schools.
He said they had managed to publish textbooks for primary schools that had been distributed in various institutions but there was a need to compile textbooks for secondary schools as well.
He called on universities and colleges to come forth with their expertise and assist in this regard. Malaba said as an association they also wanted to see Tjikalanga being incorporated in ICTs where it could be used as a form of communication in various platforms.