In a bid to uphold the rich cultural values of African languages, Midlands State University National Language Institute (MSUNLI) in collaboration with Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation on the 22nd of May 2023 at MSU Gweru Main Campus launched the African Languages Commemorations Week which is running under the theme, “African Languages for Sustainable Food Security, Cultural and Socio-economic Development for the Africa We Want”.

The event commenced with a tour of MSU National Language Institute for an overall appreciation of the institute’s work.

On the sidelines of the event, MSU Vice Chancellor-Professor Victor Ngonidzashe Muzvidziwa underscored Midlands State University’s dedication to the preservation of indigenous languages.

Executive Director-MSU National Language Institute (MSUNLI), Professor Wiseman Magwa went through projects which have been translated by the institute including; the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) document, COVID-19 documents, the Consumer Protection Act, the National Disability Act, and the National Youth Policy which were all translated into the sixteen officially recognized languages including braille.

Professor Magwa also indicated that MSUNLI has also completed translating the Highway Code into Shona and Ndebele for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

Following the leaving no one and no place behind mantra, MSUNLI is currently working on translating primary school science textbooks into local languages, indicated Professor Magwa.

Permanent Secretary for Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation-Dr. Thokozile Chitepo provided an overview of the origins of African Languages week which are also part and parcel of the launch of the culture month of May.

“African Academy of Languages which is part of the African Union has adopted the celebrations this week in line with the decision that was made by the African Union in 2018 for all African countries to establish a week in their calendars to commemorate and promote African indigenous languages,” said Dr. Chitepo.

As part of efforts to leave no one behind, MSU National Language Institute Sign Language Researchers, Mr. Sebastian Rwakonda and Mrs. M. Marandure interpreted all proceedings using sign language.

In his keynote address, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate J.F. Mudenda praised MSUNLI as a pace setter in terms of national development through upholding indigenous languages.
“MSUNLI is an uncontested torch bearer in our national quest for the growth and development of our indigenous languages.

“MSUNLI is the melting pot of all our indigenous languages in Zimbabwe, hence, suitable for hosting and launching the celebration of African languages which is a precursor for the National Culture Month to be launched by the Head of State and Government, President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa in Binga on the 27 May 2023,” said Advocate Mudenda.

Midlands State University through its National Language Institute is making deliberate efforts to increase the use of indigenous languages through language consultancy and translation.

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