Battling against Marginalisation: Towards the Elevation of Indigenous Languages in Zimbabwe

  • Enna Sukutai Gudhlanga
  • Godwin Makaudze


The African continent of the 21st century faces a major challenge of failing to use its indigenous languages and if such a scenario is not seriously looked at would lead to an extinction of some of them. This paper questions the rationale of having Zimbabwean local languages and in particular, Shona and Ndebele, being marginalised in the curriculum, media and even in the political sphere many years after the attainment of independence. The processes of decolonisation and nation building that Africa is engaged in should also include the use and promotion of indigenous languages that are spoken by the majority of the people in African countries to official status; and also enabling them to compete for space in politics and economics not only as forms of identity but as the language of business and new information and communication technologies. The study adopts a qualitative methodology and a case study design to generate data to address the questions which will guide it. The purposively sampled sample was drawn from lecturers and students from Zimbabwe Open University and Great Zimbabwe University, Department of Languages. It is believed that lecturers and students from these departments will have greater insight into the challenges and possibly future intervention strategies of elevating indigenous languages. Interviews will be used to gather data for they are highly regarded as one of the best ways to generate rich and meaningful data (Kitchin and Tate, 2000). Data gathered will be content analysed using themes that would have emerged from the data. It is hoped the paper will bring to the fore the various challenges that pose a threat to indigenous languages and finally emerge with some possible intervention strategies that could help salvage indigenous languages from extinction. The study is informed by afrocentrism theory which calls for all African phenomena, activities and way of life to be looked at and be given meaning from the standpoint and worldview of Africans.

Ife PsychologIA, 20(2), September 2012

Author Biographies

Enna Sukutai Gudhlanga
Lecturer and National Programme Leader, Department of Languages and Media Studies, Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
Godwin Makaudze
Lecturer, Department of African Languages and Literature, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1117-1421