Friday, February 23, 2024

SADC academicians, scholars challenged to make use of indigenous languages


Dora Siliya
Dora Siliya

Education Minister Dora Siliya has challenged academicians in the SADC region to learn from major world economies like Japan
and China that have used their indigenous languages in enhancing their technological advancements.

Ms. Siliya observed that academicians in the region can also assists their governments in dispelling widely held misconceptions among many Africans that their indigenous languages cannot be used as instruments for scientific and socioeconomic development.

Ms. Siliya implored civil society organisations to partner with governments in the region and take the lead despite the fact that language is a cross-cutting issue that can impact greatly on the socio economic development of the SADC region.

ZANIS reports that Ms. Siliya said this in a speech read on her behalf by Education Deputy Minister, Boniface Kawimbe at the official opening of the 11th Biennial Conference of the Linguistics Association of SADC Universities in Lusaka yesterday.

The three-day conference that has drawn academicians and scholars from the SADC region is being held under the theme” Linguistic theory and language documentation: Innovations, Successes and Challenges”.

The Education Minister said language has remained the most important tool for communication and dissemination of information through activating the citizenry to participate fully in development initiatives.

She further urged the conference to devise mechanisms that will facilitate the formulation and implementation of language policies in the region.

Ms Siliya explained that this will enhance the documentation of community languages so that they can be used as instruments of mass communication, mass education, and science and socio-economic development in the region.

And speaking at the same occasion, University of Zambia (UNZA) acting Vice Chancellor, Wilson Mwenya commended government for supporting the institution to become an education hub for research and teaching community service in the region.

Dr. Mwenya urged academicians and scholars to engage their governments in formulating language policies that can enable the citizens to meaningfully participate in the governance and attainment of sustainable social and economic development in the region.

Earlier, Linguistics Association of SADC Universities (LASU) chairperson Professor Armindo Ngunga said the right to education is one of the fundamental human rights saying language has a direct impact on the quality of education.

Professor Ngunga pointed out that this was evident by the language a person was more proficient with as the right to education and knowledge was hence the best exercise through the language.



  1. Thats a tough one Ms Siliya.Whose language do we pick without the rest feeling “Bembarised” or “Lozilised”.We’d also have to come up with so many new words like gigabytes or cloud computing that’ll make sense in the language.Making those new words popular and to stick is tough as the French & Germans have found opting to use the popular english word instead.Nigerians have also considered this and found using one of their language it’d be civil war if Hausa was forced to learn in Igbo or Yoruba.

  2. I agree with u mama Dora, language is a big barrier to our scientific and economic development. I wonder why we have adopted a foreign language to be the mode of instruction in schools and offices while we can use our own. Mother tongue is the best -it speaks to the heart

  3. On
    Ms. Siliya observed that academicians in the region can also assists their governments in dispelling widely held misconceptions among many Africans that their indigenous languages cannot be used as instruments for scientific and socioeconomic development
    I agree with Minister-less Dora Siliya and will do my best to realise this challenge into something that will be implemented.

    I hope other academicians will also receive this challenge with open arms so that we can develop our Africa especially Zambia by being inclusive to all citizens.

  4. I dont take pride in these languages, you’ll just suffer trying to perfect your nyanga or lozi, while chaps that speack the queen’s language are progressing, lets not a make a mistake of comparing Zambia to SA or Botswana, those countries are economically sound and offer products that make muzungus want to learn their language, what do we have to offer in Zambia that will make a white try herd to learn lozi, only priests and nuns go thru that hell trying to win black sheep over to the brighter side.

  5. 3
    flag m’make mpundu says:
    Tue May 10 at 8:55 am

    I dont take pride in these languages, you’ll just suffer trying to perfect your nyanga or lozi, while chaps that speack the queen’s language are progressing, lets not make a mistake of comparing Zambia to SA or Botswana, those countries are economically sound and offer products that make muzungus want to learn their language, what do we have to offer in Zambia that will make a white try hard to learn lozi, only priests and nuns go thru that hell trying to win black sheep over to the brighter side.

  6. I sense an attempt at Silozi put down here! Silozi is in the same language group as Setswana, Sesotho and Sepedi. It is in fact the only language in Zambia with a broad international spread across a number of countries. If you speak Silozi you will be able to understand Setswana, Sesotho and Sepedi.

  7. Silly idea from silly woman – multiply all budgets by 72? Then we have the news every night in all 72 languages? How long will that take? In Zim 3 language versions of everything is already annoying, what more x72? Brain cells zachepa

  8. Guys, guys! What the woman is trying to get at is a development akin to Kiswahili or Mandarin (these are blended languages that appeal across the language divide). Just as European and Asian languages have their root from the Indo-European base, so does the Afro language derive from proto-Bantu and in some cases some Nilotic dialects. If our kids don’t have to build new circuits to learn science, their grasp of technology will be faster than our own sometimes warped progressions… Be scholarly for once instead of always trying to turn everything tribal or petty!!

  9. The key is in being a major economy. If we were a major economy, business minded people would want to learn our languages in SADC in order to exploit what our economies would be offering the world.

    Talk about mining? Well, the technology to extract the minerals comes from major economies that use English, Germany, French, Russian, Chinese or Japanese.

    Siliya is asking for a reinvention of the wheel, which will only be setting us back many generations and a total diversion from development.

  10. It is shocking for a minister to propose such mediocre ideas. Is she suggesting we use Nyanja for our studies in economics or medicine? As the minister she must be putting in place policies for our young people to master the English language which is an international language. The Chinese are busy learning English and we should be doing the same. Despite what we think, we Zambians still have a lot of work to learn the Queen’s language and we must not be distracted by following unbeaten paths. Now I understand why our education is in free-fall with people like her at the helms.

  11. Firstly, comparing China and Japan with us is not practical. Chinese languages have mutual intelligibility, meaning they closely understand each other without extra-ordinary effort or translation, whereas Japanese is spoken by about 120 million people. Swahili in Tanzania and Kenya can work because it is widely spoken and does not belong to a particular ethnic group, un-like our Bemba and Nyanja (which, though a lingua franca can be claimed by, or seen to be favouring, the Eastern province). Secondly, even if you agreed on a language without other Zambians feeling bad, how do you translate words like “academics” or “philosophy” and many many academic expressions? Proud as I am of my mother-tongue and Africanness, this is a question of being practical. I’d say lets stay with English.

  12. One dis-advantage Lozi has in comparison with Tswana (with all due respect, I love my Lozi friends and relatives by marriage) is that Tswana operates in a country where everyone is of the same linguistic/ethnic background whereas in Zambia Lozi as a language and ethnicity is just one of many. Relating with the Tswana and the Sotho can also be done in English, which has so far proven to be working. It won’t help us much to isolate ourselves from the international community in terms of business, technological advances, academic progression and the likes.

    • Ba wishi dont mislead people. Tswana is not the only language spoken in Botswana. There is Kalanga in the Northwest around Francistown, Kgalagadi in the Central region, and in the North there is Lozi and Subiya not to mention the various Basarwa languages!

  13. Kolwe muli Linguistic you missed! First of all Chinese language is a language family consisting of languages which are mostly mutually Unintelligible to varying degrees. In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is recognized as a relationship between languages in which speakers of different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort. The people famously called Kaponyas are not all Bembas! Those are people that have learnt Bemba to get by on the Copperbelt and you will find all sorts of tribes if you bothered to ask these people where they come from. You ask how we can translate words like Academics?!! Other languages don’t have this word but they have borrowed this word from the Greeks including the English!

  14. The word comes from the akademeia, just outside ancient Athens, where the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning

  15. english, at lease the colonialists solved our language proble. Let the those who want to learn other languages learn, no one should push another language on others. If i were to give it second though, you might wanna go dor silozi and its dialects which is widely used in angola, namibia, botswana, sotuh africa and swaziland…. For instance, Bemba would be the last language because its only spoken in Zaire, who wants to go to zaire, and there in zaire, they speak mostly lingala, no or little regard for bemba or ushi etc…

  16. Choosing a national language has nothing to do with ethnicity but everything to do with a country! Of course it is an advantage for those who speak the language natively, but can also be as a medium of communication. Bemba does not even belong to the Bembas! It is a language of the Namwangas!!!! If you cared about your Zambian history you could have known this. The evidence of the use of Bemba as a medium of communication can be seen on the copperbelt. You go there and speak you English, Tonga, Lozi and you will miss out on all the major deals! Even the Chinese are learning Bemba and before you know it, there will be a Chinese with fluent Bemba standing a mayor of Chililabombwe! Wake you fo.ols! 

  17. No one speak Lozi anywhere in Zambia apart from western province!!! Bemba is not for Bembas only! It is for all of us! Outside Zambia we use Bembas whether you are in England or America! Only tribalists refuse to use it.

  18. Un-worried Bachelor, I just did a quick research online and you are right about the Chinese language and the borrowing from Greek. My main point is that at the moment it seems that English is working for us and will be easier to maintain, and the fact that if we chose a Zambian language out of the many it might cause feelings of discontent among the others. Also, the same effort necessary to translate these terms and teach these to the Zambians is arguably the same as teaching them English in the first place, in my view. I am willing to learn and shift my view in the direction of progress. What is your stand on thi

  19. Sorry… Unworried Bachelor, what is your stand on this subject in terms of adopting our own language(s)? You are right that the Kaponyas learned Bemba and are themselves not Bemba. That does not change the fact that Bemba is coming from a distinct ethnic group which might make others feel there was a bias if that language was chosen. Yes, there are many languages that have intelligibility with Bemba, but these are not representative of the majority of Zambian languages/dialects or the vast majority of the population, I think. Like I said, I am ready to shift my view in the direction of progress. I am wiling to learn from you and anyone else who shows me the way.

  20. I speak a lot of Bemba myself, by the way, being a copperbelt boy myself, even here in Finland, but my argument is not that Bemba is dis-qualified. My argument is simply a hypothesis on the acceptability by many other Zambians that Bemba should represent. I could argue the same about Nyanja, which is also widely spoken like Bemba. Please don’t make this tribalist or personal. I can see you are intellectual. Lets deal with it from that basis, and also from the understanding that my mind is not closed and rigid on my opinions.

  21. Bemba does not come from one distinct tribe. This was a language spoken by the Mambwes and Namwangas. When the Bembas settled near the lakes and rivers, the Mambwes referred to them as ”AWEMBA”. For them to communicate with their neighbours they learnt the Language of the surrounding villages and took ownership of it. The Bemba we know did not come from Congo but it was an old Zambian language (Bantu) that influenced the Arabs to come up with Swahili.

  22. I see. Thanks for shedding light. I need to go now, but I will follow the thread later on and will be attentive to your posting. Be well, and (at the risk of sounding patronising) please maintain your way of issue/fact/research-based argument. This forum badly needs it.

  23. Great idea! I would definitely grasp a concept better in my language. I would have been a highly qualified engineer if I had to learn all the science subjects and Maths in the language of my own since my Grade 1

  24. I feel very strongly about the use of a local language for those people who are not quick at learning other languages. In developed countries these people are called dyslexic. I have a friend I went with to school in Kitwe and he was a Ngoni chap. The most brilliant mind you can ever see and he taught me how to integret calculus equations ”IN BEMBA”. At grade 12 he failed English so could not get into college and now he works as a labourer for the Chinese. This can never happen in America, Japan or China. All I am saying is that, for those of us who can speak good English lets us not disadvantage those that can’t. After all they are the ones who have remained in the country while you and me have left because we could speak a foreign language.

  25. Sunlight is the best disinfectant! When things are translated they become much easier! A good example is the bible..I can go toe to toe with my grand mother about the Bible because she can read Ubusokololo and I cannot confuse her even if I used the word ”revelation” it is the content that matters and that is what we have missed as Africans and Zambians in particular. All countries that use their own language have advanced. Just look at black Africa! The thing that has dragged as backwards is the language barrier. And this has been exploited by criminals that have studied Law and have occupied our government offices because the locals cannot use the language. If George Kunda used Bemba when changing the laws, the people would have known his criminality by now.

  26. #10 BAN K MOON – You are bang on my money. I’m a University lecturer in the UK myself and I wish everybody, including Dora Siliya, could see what is happening in Universities here: all Asians and even non-English-speaking Europeans are rushing to learn English. China sends tens of thousands of students to Universities in UK and USA with the prime purpose of learning English. It is up to Zambia if we want to take ourselves a century behind. If people have run out of ideas it is probably better they resigned ahead of the coming elections instead of us wasting ballot-paper space to include someone who can’t seem to think beyond the length of her skirt. It is irritating. It is even better for her to just shut up.

  27. The idea of using a Zambian language specifically for slow-learning pupils is a positive strategy. But rather than sitting here arguing like children about which language should be adopted in Zambia, all you have to do is to allow teachers to be explaining things in the local language of each province. It is extremely stupid to take English out of Southern Province schools and impose Bemba or Lozi or Nyanja for example. Then what problem are you solving by imposing one foreign language with another. Let’s think like grown ups. Each province can use its local language in its local schools for those kids who can’t learn fast.

  28. Kunta Kinte! You must be a very mediocre lecturer! I have been to the University in England and the people that have been sending their nationals to learn are not putting emphasis on English but Maths and Science!!! And when they finish, they heard straight back to where they come from to built their own. One of the many reasons is to compete with an influx of foreign companies in China. They come from China already equipped with the knowledge of Math and Science and would like to be internationally recognized with their knew qualification. Mind you, they not only go to England but Germany, Norway, France e.t.c. How are you treated in the UK even with your English language? I can tell you but you know it yourself!!

  29. Kunta Kinte! You are thinking like a child!!! You think someone else’s language will help you get developed??? How shameful! The people in Southern Province eventually come to the Copperbelt after they finish school and what language do they speak? Do you want the whole Zambia to be speaking Kaponya before you start thinking like a grown up?

  30. I think we have made progress since 1991. before then all interviews on radio and TV were strickly in English and it used to be so s t u p i d for reporters to go into shanty compounds and try to get an interview out of people and insisted on asking them in English because their clip will be on TV and as a result credible information used to be lost. Today I see reporters going into shanties and just interviewing locals in their local language and I think that needs to be encouraged and promoted and if possible translate some of these techi terms into local language so that those who don’t speak English don’t feel left out
    The colonial mindset of only English should be discarded. We can translate into local langs like we did for Motoka, spooni, foloko, polopela, add the rest 

  31. #11 Kolwe muli linguistics, How on earth can you honestly fail to translate the word academics or philosphy in you mother toungue. U must be very dull. In my language, Nyanja academics is Zamaphunzilo and philosopy is Zamasofia. Go back to your grands to teach u.

  32. There is no owner of the language called Bemba or Nyanja!! These are Zambian languages and they need to be cared for before we loose them to Kaponyas! No matter how highly you my see yourself when you speak English, the white people will always give respect to someone who respect his ow roots first. My girlfriend has a PhD and she is English, she came to Zambia were we met. She spoke fluent Bemba after learning it in Luapula because she wanted to meet real people like me. If a white person can appreciate this language what more a Zambian? Black people hate themselves and that is why we are having this conversation because you think speaking Bemba puts you below a Bemba. But you would rather be below and English person. Now that is childish!!!

  33. I know that a good number of countries that dont have english us official language(eg Mozambique and Angola) are slowly but surely drifting to english.In Zambia we are thinking of drifting to some Mbunda,Bemba ,Tonga,Nyanja,Chewa,Nsenga,Ngoni,Lenje,Lala,Toka-Leya,Lamba,Namwanga,Mambwe,Ila,Bisa,Swaka,Kaonde,Luvale,Lozi,Soli,Ushi,…………………………………..The first Republic wasnt foolish to settle for english.Nothing wrong preserving our local languages but please lets learn to make realistic decisions.RB’s government is very funny.Yesterday it was MOBILE FIMO FIMO,constitution flop and today JUDO!!!!!!!!!!!GOD deliver us

  34. What certain backward people think whenever we talk about using local language they think we have to find an equivalent word in Bemba or Nyanja to technical words. Forgetting that most of these words have been borrowed from Greek and Latin!!! It is all about teaching people a skill and if my rural dwelling uncle can learn how to thatch his house and mix concrete in his local language without forcing them to learn English first, don’t you think we would have had better looking houses in our rural areas?

  35. This debate has nothing to do with RB! I am no fun of the man either, but we should take our local language to a higher level if we have to have a better society. You can see the stu.pidity in people like KUKU COMPOUND who think by mentioning Mbunda he hopes I will be ashamed of it. These are our languages and we can pick one to represent Zambia. 

  36. #31 #32 UNWORRIED BACHELOR – Did I call you any names despite the fact that you sound like a dull idi.o.t with sh.i.t in your bottom!! Read my contribution and learn to respond with civility and respect other people’s views instead of just k.u.nya like you. In my second posting I was responding to more sensible bloggers who are belabouring the concern that Bemba or any one language would not be accepted by other tribes if it were to be adopted as a local national language, and I was suggesting that actually each province can adopt its own local language. For example, it would not be wise to remove English in Souther province schools only to bring in another ‘foreign’ language like Lozi or Bemba or Nyanja. It doesn’t make sense. Tonga makes more sense. Each province like that.

  37. This issue require intelligence! If you approach with your tribe in mind and not your country you will miss the whole point altogether. Just to give you an example. What language sells in Zambian music today? Try singing in English like Masha Moyo and you will end up selling a few copies but sing in Bemba or Nyanja and you will sell even across the border! Stop being tribal!!! I am not even Bemba but I will use this language to my advantage whether a Bemba likes it or not.

  38. Kunta Kinte! I only threw back what you threw at the bloggers here, when you said we should be thinking like grown ups. That in itself implies we are thinking like children and I resent that!

  39. #41 COOL – I take that criticism squarely and you are right in it. But it is something else for you to call me a mediocre lecturer when you don’t even know my credentials. I hate it when all of us together begin to use the anonymity of blogging to abuse each other. It simply shows a fundamental weakness in each one of us, which is not a measure of a solid and mentally thriving human being. I don’t mind us differing on points of argument and we could even tear each other to pieces, as long as the arguments remain civilised.

  40. Dear Unworried Bachelor.I have followed your comments with great interest.Please allow me to make the following observation.I agree with you for appreciating good debate with Kolwe!Secondly,your last comment makes the most sense as far as I see things.I was at home when I heard this news item on last night’s znbc main news.I must say that I was shocked at Dora’s assertion,especially when they are taken in their “pure form.”Did you know that the debate to chose a national language was handled mostly by KK’s government?That because of the problems of intolerance, such as we have seen on this blog, english was the preferred one as national unity was considered priority over language identity?i.e.Kaondes would not allow another tribe to take the lead and vice versa.

  41. MMD ministers are very dull. How can you introduce a new language in this century with all these technologies?
    And that Dora Siliya, it was chased yesterday in Kasama, the market boys even took a bag of caterpillar (fishimu) from her vehicle. One those those crazy boys pulled her g-string again like they did at the MMD conversion. That is why Kawimbe is running the ministry, the MMD spokes person is being abused every where she goes.

  42. #31 #32 UNWORRIED BACHELOR respect the views of Kunta kinte @ 29 & 30. Otherwise, i have enjoyed your passionate postings. I ‘m not a blogger, but often finds times to go through an interesting thread- this one is good & non-political

  43. However, the situation has not been left to chance.Ministry of Education has identified the need to use an existing local language in the classroom for the purpose of teaching at early stages(I forget the restrictions but I think for the first 4 or 5 years of learning) and thereafter use English.The trouble with using our indigenous languages in “enhancing our technological advancements” is that our languages though standardized to a degree lack modernization.This is not impossible to achieve!But the cost would be phenomenal!II worry that Dora’s speech seemed to lack background info and could be deceiving.Tip of the iceberg of Zambia’s education system as it stands today.Is this our minister of education?

  44. #38 Unworried Bachelor Did i mention your name in my opinion expression?My mentioning the different languages(Mbunda inclusive) in Zed was not to make you feel ashamed.Its a shame that you would feel so.My simple point is that it would not be fair and safe to impose one language out of the so many.Nyanja is not the only language in Eastern Province,neither is Bemba in Northern,Tonga Southern,Lozi Western,Kaonde NW,Bisa Luapula,CB/Cntral.They are not!Even countries which are more advanced than Zed are using english.Nigeria,Ghana,India…..Which languages does the UN system use?Start using your local languages as official national language at your own peril.Dont you dare call me

  45. Cosmas Ndaibamba..The issue of cost is not a problem if there is a will on the part of government and the people in general. If RB and George can waste K200 kwacha on the useless kangaroo meetings at the NCC why not this issue? NEWS FLUSH!!! Do you know how much a Bemba English dictionary cost on Amazon? One by the White Fathers is £75.00 another one ”Bemba: Bemba-English English-Bemba Concise Dictionary by E. Hoch” £13.85. Now while you are giving me all these reasons why we cannot use Bemba, others have taken it up and are making money out of it. Please people think outside the Box and not how the colonialists left you.

  46. I am not shamed of mu Mbunda and you don’t have to speak for me Kuku! The notion of imposing one language is what other people use to scare us. Why don’t people talk about referendum? If people choose the we all go for but there has to be one language that identify all of us.

  47. Okay fair enough: One language for Zambia. But I think the choice of words is problematic here. You cannot say ‘imposing’ one language in Zambia because people will definitely reject it. It is a process that would involve asking everybody’s consent. This is not new: Kaunda tried to convince Zambians to adopt Nyanja as the official language and the idea died before it landed. Adopting a local language for education would only see exodus of Zambian students flocking to study abroad. Ask the Tanzanians who have been sending their kids to Zambia, Kenya and Uganda to run away from Swahili. Adopting one local language is a doddle – these romantic nationalistic ideas used to sound lofty in the 1950s. They won’t deliver in today’s times, it would be another waste of resources like the NCC.

  48. Ok we have talked about ifikwakwa lets talk science now….that truely holds the future for our country the rest will be a matter of translation.

  49. There is no subject which is Ichikwakwa!!! That is why you have garbage and blocked sewers all over Lusaka with unplanned shanty towns!

  50. Effective communication does not just mean English!! By the way, the same English people you hold in high esteem have been overtaken by India in terms of science. I know some person might say Indians use English but they only use it to communicate with outsiders!! Inside their country, they use Hindi and Punjabi and that is why their accent is so heavy. While the Zambia will laugh at them for their accent, they managed to get Jaguar Landrover from the British!!!

  51. #56 Unworried Bachelor – I agree with parts of your argument. However, I think that Zambians also heavily use local languages in communication among themselves. You find all these heavy accents like someone saying “Boss, your fisses are red to eat”. Infact it is even more so now than it used to be in the past, judging from my recent visit to our republic. Secondly, it is a very naive argument that India has overtaken the UK in terms of science. I’m not defending these guys at all, because they don’t need my defense to prove their superiority. Ask some of our Zambians who work in some of the top-noch scientific industries in the UK like Rolls Royce or AED and they will just look back at you. India got the motor assembly plants, the supplier of engineering and software remains UK brains.

  52. this idea waz implemented by the late LPM,his idea waz that,sinceSWAHILIis spoken in many,
    countries like DRC congo,tanzania,kenya,burundi,rwanda,unganda,en part of central afrika,then it can be so easy to come up with the african internation language,that can be easly communicated,since part of ZED,such as northern pronvice,that is chililabombwe,kansumbalesa zedian side,and tanzania zedian border[nakonde,this pipo living
    there are speaking swahili.

  53. Unworried Bachelor, I am impressed with most of your postings.  Fellow bloggers, are you aware that SADC has the IKS initiative (Indigenous Knowledge Systems) which, among other things is trying to promote the technical versions of various languages?  The fact that the Eastern Europeans are flocking to England and the USA is not for the language but for the extra technical and productive skills they can take back to use in their countries.  It is a known fact that learning sophisticated stuff in one’s mother tongue is the quickest way to enhance development.  We are not even speaking about adopting Bemba or Nyanja or anything that evokes tribal sentiment.  We are simply talking about technical empowerment!  Like universal education we need not loop out and back to know 1 + 1…

  54. i cant imagine myself studying in nyanja, i can only speak three languages, soli, english, and chineses, well and a bit of broken nyanja. if you guys w’d ever get to see how people from non.english speaking country suffer in foreign land as they study you would change your mind and see this as a s.t.u.p.i.d i idea. i cant imagine my kid only being able to read nyanja, which means limited access to information on the internet and reading my beloved the post newspaper in chewa. hahahahahahahaha put a gun to my head.

  55. The concept of indeginizing is not about picking any one superior indigenous language. If a Tonga wants to make his language technical, fine! If a Bemba tendeavors to make his language technical, fine! The point is, how can we, in the same lines as English and other European and Asian languages have, make our languages enable one to technically advance without the bridging of learning a second language for that sake? The Chinese pick blueprints and translate them into Mandarin (check out the NASA culture!) so they can empower their own technically that much faster! Again, it is not about tribe, or superiority but about empowerment… I have a friend who is picking his stars from translating Calculus delivery into Kiswahili…

  56. What kind of minister of education is this who does not know, let alone understand, that Chinese and Japanese civilisations including that of India are much older civilizations than most western civilizations. Their languages are fully developed which even accomodate scientific expressions.

    Swahili, one of our most advanced languages on the continent of Africa, failed Tanzania and they are back to teaching the Engilish language. Why, Dora?

  57. #12 There are other languages in Botswana other than Tswana. There is Kalanga in the Northwest around Francistown. There is the Kgalagadi language in Central Botswana. Lozi and Subiya are spoken in the North. There are also numerous Basarwa languages. Please educate yourself properly about Botswana.

  58. Just going in circles. There is no language crisis in Zambia. Developing a country is not rocket science. Just put proper management practices in place. You will develop, whichever language you use.

  59. The current language policy has served us well. There is no need for changes. This topic is only good for debate on blogs. We have bigger problems in Zambia. I see some people are taking it very personally, its absolutely unnecessary.

  60. no wonder zambia’s economic is so poor, dora who happens to head the education ministry is totally hopeless and this is nonsense. Kaunda had a better vision than these stupid MMD,as KK promoted english which is the accepted meduim in the world. But MMD as always want to take zambia to the stone ages. I say, MMD is looking to promote tribalism rather than unity.

  61. Intellectual arrogance is a prerogative of the mediocre. Insulting other people based on their performance instead of diagnosing and supporting through the process improvement is a shallow self-defeating trait. Just because on takes one or the other side of the argument does not make one smarter or stupider. Discuss like the civilised, intelligent, wise progressive men you want to show yourselves to be. Having said that, the argument of language is not just limited to learning skills and world-views. It is also about being able to communicate and synchronise with the outside world. With English you kill two birds with one stone. With local languages you will still have to deal with English later on in your dialogue with international markets and politics and other interaction.

  62. If you say I learn better in my mother-tongue, then one will learn better in Chewa, another in Namwanga, yet another in Toka-Leya and so forth, so now, how do we get these guys to synchronise after they know what they need to know and they need to work together? Eventually at some point, maybe after grade seven or grade nine they will have to deal with English. Learning a language at a later age we know can be tricky. Unfortunately, some people did not have access to the language at an early age due to lack of access, not because they cant learn a language. They were blocked by financial constraints and living in areas where that level of development had not yet reached, or was not of the same standards as the Jacaranda primary school of the 70s and 80s.

  63. Even countries that have social security for their citizens, such that they need not learn other languages to survive, are adapting to Englsih as a business and political language. Why do I want to communicate with 240, 000 people on mass media when I can communicate with 6 billion, including the 240, 000? I’m not saying let us stick to English. I am saying so far I am not yet convinced in what specific areas it would be of advantage to abandon English, and how that would be done practically. Please help me to choose wisely.

  64. #59, 61 Kalok, you got my point man! It is very scary to see some of the arguments being out across here and I now know why Zambia will never develop if these are the best brain we have. How do you justify the technical use of English in Zambia by using other tribes? It benefits the British and other English speaking countries when Zambia keep educating its people only to get to Canada and England for work. I am saying, the majority of those people that remain in Zambia need to be technically equipped in their own languages. If I had the power I would get rid of government funded English language. And those of you who want to learn English so that you go and sweep streets in London can pay for your own English courses. That way the country can serve money. 

  65. Kolwe! I am talking technical here. These things can be taught to the people in their own languages. How to repair cars, pumps, roads, water, build roads e.t.c can be taught in our languages. The Chinese that have come into Zambia do not know any English at all but know a little about how to build. And most of them have never even been to a University since they are coming out of prisons and villages.

  66. Unworried bachelor, I am now convinced that there are areas in which local languages would be useful. At local level skills training and the business/technical language can be translated into local languages for local efficiency, which is where the struggle for development is at. This does not mean abandoning English, but simply means bringing data closer to the people, and Englsih being the language in which we collect technical data from the outside world as well as conduct our international relations.

  67. Hey you guys don’t waste time to un-do a good deal and start ethnic conflicts over language. Japanese and Chinese people are learning english too, to easy their opportunities in the global village. Sure, we need our mother tongues at home but this should not cost much of our energies to make the so called one Zambian language in a global economy. Mind you Chinese and Japanese have preserved their languages for thousands of years in various forms and kanjis. If you want to go the Swahili way, then go do more research in East Africa and start mixing.

  68. #76 Kolwe, that was all am saying. People can learnt how to build a pit latrine or preserve underground water in their own language. You might be surprised that even though they will not know what an aquifer is, they will understand what is does and how it is recharged. You don’t need to find an equivalent word for ”aquifer” in Bemba or Nyanja but these things are well known to the villagers. Shanty towns that have been mushrooming in Zambia are a result of housing pressure, but if the locals were told the minimum distance between houses and roads before they build their shack, there can be room left to correct thing. They don’t need to be lectures in English about town planning but an explanation in their local language can do.

  69. And most importantly, let us not cheat ourselves that just because you have English as an official language does not mean people understand it. Just to give you an example, there are 125 members of parliament who are well known in their areas but can speak in parliament! Why? Because of English people!!! I strongly feel that we should have a federal system of government. If you want to be MP for Solwezi, please speak Kaonde and be able to debate in the parliament of Northwestern. The same in Southern, Central e.t.c. And then we should have a federal senate, where the learned from these provinces can debate in Bemba or Nyanja at Federal level. This way we would be able to hide information from foreigners who at the moment will know everything we discuss in our parliament.

  70. Wewe #75 Wangulanu emenena kweli hapo mwanzo na mwisho.Uzuri wa kiswahili ni kwamba hakitaleta ugomvi sababu sio lugha ya kabila lolote na hii ndio sababu wenzetu afrika mashariki wameipokea lugha hii.Swahili ni lugha safi sana na wazambia wengi wataweza kuelewa vizuri sababu ni lugha iliyo na maneno mengi ya jamii ya wabantu kama sisi.Kiswahili hakuna matata.

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