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Promoting Tshwao, unrecorded language of under 50 speakers

07 Oct 2013
Zimbabwe Reads is working together with the African Languages Research Institute at the University of Zimbabwe to promote Tshwao, an unrecorded language spoken by a small group of people in western part of Zimbabwe, on the border with Botswana. And the internet is not the solution to the problem here.

Tshwao, a type of Khoisan language (mistakenly called Koisan in the new Constitution), is currently spoken by only a few dozen of the estimated 2,000 San people residing in Matabeleland North’s Tsholotsho district.

The team is working on an orthography now and hopes to have some basic children’s materials available by the end of the year.

The community of Tshwao-speakers is so poor that they need food grants to survive (and the area is poorly served by phone service). Digital solutions that  pioneered with Shona literature by Bhabhu Books aren’t yet appropriate in the case of Tshwao.