Language policy, linguistic hegemony and exclusion in the Zimbabwean print and broadcasting media

  • Phillip Mpofu
  • Davie E Mutasa


This article examines linguistic hegemony and linguistic exclusion in the Zimbabwean print and broadcasting media. The discussion is based on the fact that the media carry language, operate through language and contribute to language promotion and development. Therefore, this article argues that there is need for a sound and working language policy for the print and broadcasting media in Zimbabwe. The language used in information dissemination, public debates and communication can include or exclude some speech communities in the country. However, the language choices in the media in Zimbabwe demonstrate multilayered linguistic hegemonies where English is generally the dominant language, while Shona and Ndebele are hegemonic to the other languages in Zimbabwe. This situation is attributed to the fact that the broadcasting media in Zimbabwe are part of the colonial heritage; that there is a lack of a clear and consistent language policy of the media in Zimbabwe, which is reflective of the absence of a comprehensible national language policy; that the domination of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation leaves no room for meaningful and authentic competing community radio and television stations; that the media in Zimbabwe are business and political organisations; and that the media in Zimbabwe are appendages of the global media system which favour the use of English.

South African Journal of African Languages 2014, 34(2): 225–233

Author Biographies

Phillip Mpofu
Department of African Languages & Culture, Midlands State University, P. Bag 9005, Gweru, Zimbabwe
Davie E Mutasa
Department of African Languages, University of South Africa, PO Box 392, UNISA 0003, Pretoria, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117