Thandeka Moyo Bulawayo Bureau
Government is working towards revising broadcasting laws which will make it mandatory for radio stations, both public and private, to broadcast in the 16 official languages, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Speaking during a digitisation tour in Plumtree yesterday, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe said embracing local languages will preserve Zimbabwean culture which was suffering erosion.
“We need to revive the respect for our local languages which for a long time have been eroded by western standards. I wish our youngsters would emulate how the Chinese take pride in their language. The country has no social media headaches where citizens post anything about the Government,” said Dr Mushohwe.
“We even have some youths who were afforded a chance to go to university through the Presidential Scholarship fund but when they cross the border into South Africa, they even change names and speak ill of the same Government.”
He urged members of the public to take advantage of the digitisation project to create jobs as they add value to culture and languages.
His deputy Cde Thokozile Mathuthu said imported programmes have led to social degradation and compromised standards of dressing.
“I have seen how big figured women shamelessly wear tight things nowadays and walk as if nothing is wrong. This is the time we have to gather local content which will restore order and respect in our communities,” she said.
“I was very disappointed when we advertised for a Plumtree radio station and no one from this end took advantage of that. We will not stop broadcasting because of such tendencies therefore I urge you to maximise this chance and create content in various languages.”
Mr George Charamba, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, said they would push for the amendment of laws to accommodate all languages.
“We have realised that there are some radio stations which are only broadcasting in three languages while side lining many which are recognised by our Constitution. We are also working towards ensuring that our rural members of the public get the set-top boxes for free. These boxes will help them access programmes even with old television sets,” he said.
Home Affairs deputy minister Cde Obedingwa Mguni said sidelining other languages in broadcasting caused tribalism.
“As an official from Home Affairs we are careful of anything that threatens peace and security which includes tribalism. We therefore call on all operators to at least ensure all languages are catered for in their programmes,” said Cde Mguni.
Dr Mushohwe on Sunday officially launched the ZBC television news bulletins for nine languages.
He said the introduction of the formerly marginalised languages on national television underlined the Government’s commitment to ensure that all national languages were accorded due respect and recognition in line with the constitution.
“We are here for the launch of television news bulletins in nine national languages that were formerly marginalised. In fact, with this occasion we are giving such languages the respect they deserve as Zimbabwean languages as well as fulfilling the dictates of our constitution, which recognises 16 national languages,” he said.
Of the nine languages, four were introduced on television in 2016 while five were brought in yesterday.
The languages that were introduced yesterday in the ZBC television news bulletins are Chewa, Ndau, Kalanga, Xhosa and Shangaan. Venda, Nambya, Sotho and Tonga news bulletins were introduced in September last year.
Previously, the public broadcaster’s news bulletins were only done in English, Shona, Ndebele and Sign Language.
Dr Mushohwe said the remaining languages Chibarwe, Tswana and Khoisan will soon be included in news bulletins.