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CAEDA works to help San language

23 Nov 2012

reprinted from NewsDay

A local non-governmental organisation, Creative Arts and Education Development Association (Caeda), has embarked on the production of San language reading materials as part of a campaign to revive the minority language.

In a statement yesterday, Caeda director Davy Ndlovu said the organisation was now producing books in a San language called Tshao with the assistance of some African languages scholars.

“The root of the Tshao language revival lies in the efforts of Caeda and the San (Tshara-Tshao) to try and re-establish the cultural identity of the San people.

“The project also seeks to revive the language before its extinction,” Ndlovu said.

“Many have discarded their culture and followed the cultures of their neighbours.

“The government and NGOs are aware of this language crisis, but funding is allocated only for language recording, while limited funding is availed for language revitalisation programmes.

“Language is an essential component of one’s collective and individual identity and, therefore, provides a sense of belonging and community.

“When the language dies, that sense of community is damaged.”

There are an estimated 1 300 San people in Zimbabwe, mostly located in Plumtree and Tsholotsho areas.

“The San language of Zimbabwe has never been orthographed and it is difficult to come up with proper spellings, vowels and consonants,” Ndlovu said.