‘Our languages are equally important': struggles for the revitalisation of the minority languages in Zimbabwe

  • Nicholus Nyika Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa


The revitalisation of endangered minority languages is a subject that has recently caught the attention of a cross-section of people concerned with the sociology of language. This article focuses on the efforts regarding the revitalisation of minority languages in Zimbabwe. The article discusses the initiatives of civil society organisations, which, together with grassroots organisations formed by speakers of the endoglossic minority languages, have established collaborative networks to collectively mobilise for the revitalisation of the minority languages in Zimbabwe. Drawing on the analytic framework for language revitalisation efforts advanced by Fishman (1991, 2001), this article argues that in the prevailing political and economic environment, the minority language revitalisation efforts in Zimbabwe, which targeted the education and media domains, have met with a significant measure of success. This article discusses the strategies for language revitalisation employed by these organisations and suggests that such strategies may be useful for similar efforts in other contexts.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2008, 26(4): 457–470

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614