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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: September 15 2009 »

NATIONAL LANGUAGES CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE RESOLUTIONS FOR THE MEETING HELD AT JAMESON HOTEL, HARARE, ON 09 SEPTEMBER 2009.

1.   Preamble

We participants at the National Languages Consultative Stakeholders Meeting of 9 September 2009, held at Jameson Hotel, Harare as representatives of the following language groups: Shona, Ndebele, Tonga, Nambya, Kalanga, Sotho, Venda and Xangani, thoroughly discussed the issue of the inclusion of language and culture in the ongoing constitution making process which is being led by the Parliamentary Select Committee:

Being aware that ,”There is no country anywhere in the world (except in Africa) where the most prestigious and the most powerful activities of the nation are conducted  in what for modest of the citizens  is a foreign  language” (Kishindo, 2000: 15).
Aware of the fact that language is the most precious possessions of mankind that restores the people’s dignity by enabling individuals to fully functioning members in the society.

Cognisant of the fact that language as part of culture is one of the most inalienable possessions of a people that enable individuals to have an identity should become one of the pillars of a new constitution.

Observant that Africa n languages and culture were systematically attacked and /destroyed during the colonial period and have continued to be neglected and marginalised during the post colonial era.

Conscious of the need to officially recognise and revive all African languages and culture in order to enhance accelerated development and national prosperity.

Recognising and accepting that language are a basic throughout the world, which is enshrined in the UN,AU,SADC and COMESA protocols on language and culture.

Emphasising the need for all people, all language groups to find common ground on language matters.
Fully aware that Zimbabwe is a multilingual nation

Recognising the need to constitute a broadly represented National language Commission (NLC)

2.   Resolutions

2.1   All languages of Zimbabwe should be officially recognised, developed and promoted for use in all spheres of life.

2.2   The following are Zimbabwe’s languages: Shona , Ndebele, Kalanga, Nambya, Chikunda, TshiVenda,  Xangani/Changana, Cewa/Nyanja, Sotho, Tonga, Xhosa, Pfumbi, Barwe, Hwesa, Sena Tshawo, Doma,  Sign language and English.

2.3   The function of these languages should be specified by an Act of parliament that covers all spheres of life.

2.4   The constitution and country adopts a two –tier language policy in education

2.4.1   Children to learn their first language, second an official language of the    African Union (AU) or  the United Nations (AU).

2.4.2   Education in the child’s most familiar or mother tongue should be for basic, secondary and tertiary education where possible.

2.4.3   An average citizen who has gone through basic education up to say O-Level should be functionally competent in spoken and written discourse in the at least two languages namely: (i) the first language  (ii) a working language of the African Union (AU) or United Nations (UN).

2.4.4    The national Language Commission should be given the mandate to administer policy on all languages of Zimbabwe.

2.5   Conclusion

Zimbabwe needs a constitution that places national languages at the centre of the development process. Language experts should help the country to formulate linguistic policies that will give Zimbabwe a distinct identity in the continent and in the world.  Use of national language in official matters will make Zimbabweans feel proud of their nationhood and more importantly enhance their participation in national development.

The National Languages Constitution Committee will become the officially recognised advisory body to the Parliamentary Select Committee.


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