Except for certain textbooks and bibles, almost all the books on sale in Zimbabwe are in English. The main Harare and Bulawayo city libraries have less than one shelf of titles in local languages (and that includes textbooks). Books provided by international donors are valuable but do not address the needs for materials in local languages. At present, we estimate that there are fewer than 50 titles in print in Shona, Ndebele and other local languages. Some of these are older books kept in stock by Mambo Press; others were published with grant funding in small print-runs. Any given bookshop rarely has more than 2 or 3 titles. Zimbabwe needs a campaign to develop materials in local languages.
Writer and cultural critic Dr. Sekai Nzenza elaborates on the issue of local languages in an article entitled “Killing our languages slowly” first published in The Herald on May 30, 2012.