Tshivenda, Xitsonga for Zim varsity

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

The University of Great Zimbabwe is set to introduce Tshivenda and Xitsonga in its curriculum to help speakers of the two languages in Zimbabwe.

Authorities last week signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Venda for Science and Technology (Univen) to help develop the two languages in the country that has a number of Tshivenda and Xitsonga speakers.

The deal was proposed in 2005 by the minister of high education in Zimbabwe, Stan Mudenge, during a visit to South Africa where he requested their South African counterparts to help them implement the two languages.

The agreement was signed by Khuliso Nemadzivhanani, acting registrar at the University of Venda, and Obert Muravanyika, vice- chancellor of the University of Great Zimbabwe.

Rufus Kharidzha, Univen's spokesman, said the aim of the agreement was to create a working relationship between the two institutions, which, it was hoped, would help develop the continent.

He said they had accepted the proposal because they hoped it would help speakers who were previously unable to learn in their mother tongue.

"There is a number of Tshivenda and Xitsonga speakers in Zimbabwe, and we believe we will help them develop their languages," said Kharidzha.

He said they had also realised that most Tshivenda and Xitsonga speakers there could not write in their own languages.

They were instead taught isiNdebele and Shona, Zimbabwe's commonly spoken languages.

"We also agreed to engage in exchange programmes in terms of staff and research that would be undertaken jointly," Kharidzha explained.

Muravanyika described the agreement as a cultural reclamation and said he hoped the two countries would set an example in terms of exploring and recognising language usage in other countries.