Zimbabwe Community Defends Teaching Of Shona In South African School

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Zimbabwe Community Defends Teaching Of Shona In South African School
Zimbabwe Community Defends Teaching Of Shona In South African School

Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA) has criticised South African political activists who protested against the teaching of Shona at a public school in Pretoria after it was granted permission by authorities, reported CITE.

The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena, said that Shona can be taught in South African schools like other foreign languages.

He said Zimbabwean parents in South Africa had applied for permission from South Africa’s Department of Basic Education for Shona to be taught in the school. He said:

We understand they were cleared for Shona to be taught, so we don’t understand this demonstration.

Why demonstrate against such a thing when you haven’t demonstrated against the teaching of the Chinese language, for instance?

The Chinese language is taught in some Zimbabwean schools, but no one has demonstrated gainst it.

Chinese is not an official language in South Africa, so why demonstrate against an African language?

… There is nothing wrong with Nigerians teaching their Nigerian language, if they want their children to learn Igbo.

There is nothing wrong with parents from the Democratic Republic of Congo wanting the same either.

We don’t see anything wrong because it is not forced on the entire population. It is only offered to those who want to learn the language in any case.

These are Shona-speaking people who are in South Africa, and their children attend South African schools.

Mabhena, however, said it would be “wrong” if Zimbabweans had refused to learn South Africa’s local languages as that would “not promote social cohesion.” He said:

Of course on the flip side, (it is not advisable) when you have ongoing anti-migrant sentiment, if those of Shona origin only learn Shona and not a local language.

I want to believe that while Zimbabean parents want their children to learn Shona, they should also learn the local language in South Africa, be it Zulu, Suthu, or Xhosa which are the official languages so they can integrate in South African communities.

On 12 February 2024, the deputy president of the Patriotic Alliance party, Kenny Kunene, led activists wearing green party T-shirts to Esikhisini Primary School in the Atteridgeville area “to stop” the teaching of the Shona language.

The Esikhisini Primary School Governing Board chairperson is a Zimbabwean national, while Zimbabweans reportedly constitute 20% of the school’s enrolment.

Kunene demanded that South Africans be prioritised first and called for the expulsion of Zimbabwean learners.

In November 2023, South Africa’s statistician-general Risenga Maluleke said Limpopo Province had a new language that was not captured in the census of 2011.

Presenting the 2022 census report to Premier Stanley Mathabatha in Polokwane, Risenga noted that the province had Shona as a language.

He said Shona was spoken in 28 000 households, in a province with 6.6 million.

South Africa holds general elections on 29 May 2024 and fringe far-right political parties have targetted their ire on foreigners in a bid to woo voters.

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