Teaching under-resourced languages: An evaluation of Great Zimbabwe University’s initiatives in the teaching of Tshivenda and Xichangana

  • Morgen Peter Mabuto
  • Sambulo Ndlovu


Tshivenda and Xichangana, like other minority languages in Zimbabwe, are only taught up to Grade 3 of elementary education in areas where they are spoken. Chishona and isiNdebele are the only indigenous languages that are taught as subjects up to university level, either through the medium of English or through their own medium (as at Great Zimbabwe University). This paper seeks to evaluate the initiatives that have been set out to promote the teaching and use of Tshivenda and Xichangana by training teachers at university level to enable them to teach these languages beyond Grade 3, at secondary and university level. These teachers will then form the manpower base to teach at the grassroots. The initiatives include partnerships with language associations, universities that teach the languages in South Africa, affirmative action on recruiting students into the languages and lobbying for support from government and other stakeholders. The research describes the initiatives, evaluates them and recommends the best way to finalise the project and how to promote other minority languages to the level of Chishona and isiNdebele in the country.

South African Journal of African Languages 2014, 34(1): 1–8

Author Biographies

Morgen Peter Mabuto
Department of African Languages and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Great Zimbabwe University, P.O. Box 1235, Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Sambulo Ndlovu
Department of Adult and Continuing Education, Faculty of Education, Great Zimbabwe University, P.O.Box 1235, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117