Home » Governance » Govt to Craft Policy On Langauges, Culture

Government is working hard to create an inclusive environment for the 13 indigenous languages recognised by the Constitution last year. Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa said his ministry is establishing a language council to co-ordinate the newly ratified languages. In a speech read on his behalf by Rev Paul Damasane at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair Indaba on Monday, Langa said the Government was working to promote the languages and culture in general.

The Constitution recognises Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa as Zimbabwe’s official languages.

However, the newly recognised languages are yet to be streamlined into social and economic interaction as Ndebele, Shona and English still dominate virtually all key sectors.

Minister Langa told ZIBF Indaba delegates that the language council will develop and implement a broad-based language policy to redress the situation. He said the language regulatory body will also promote the implementation of language-based regulation.

“This language body will be the focal point on language for regional, continental and global interactions on language issues. This will mean in the case of the African Union, this body will interact with the African Academy for Languages,” Langa said.

The ministry is also crafting a National Cultural Policy which will also enable the creation of a cultural body which will oversee culture and heritage.

“This is because dialogues on our culture and heritage are missing and absent in the day to day functioning of the National Arts Council as it is today.”

The cultural policy will also protect intellectual property in the creative industry, particularly the book sector in line with an Intellectual Property Policy being developed by the ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The minister commended ZIBF for providing a platform to capacitate the creative sector and pledged sustained partnership for the book fair.

“The ministry is engaging sister ministries such as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in policy formulation to improve the funding and operational environment of the book publishing, printing and design industries,” he said.

“The purpose is to improve productivity so as to create employment and business for the artists who are key players.”

The minister said publishers and booksellers as part of the creative industries system need a lot more support and that his ministry has engaged Treasury for a favourable funding model.

Indaba delegates including acclaimed creative writers Albert Nyathi, Chiedza Musengezi, Ignatius Mabasa and a Tanzanian intellectual property expert Dr Eliamani Laltaika urged Government to speed up the establishment of the language council which they said is a progressive initiative. ZIBF runs until August 2 under the theme “Indigenous Languages, Literature, Art and Knowledge Systems of Africa.”

Source : The Herald