Professor Wiseman Magwa (PhD) : Executive Director
The Midlands State University (MSU) is a leading international University that embraces diversity and community engagement whilst at the same time inspiring a spirit of life-long learning. MSU students from all Faculties and Departments need language services and practical language competences hence the University Management has a duty to provide an appropriate response to these demands. The establishment of a Language Institute at MSU is one such kind response to these critical academic needs and demands. Faced with these large increases in demand for language services Midlands State University has established a one stop language centre which is a non-Faculty university-wide language services and support centre within its premises.
In my view, the Language Institute has the potential to grow into a world class centre of excellence in language research, language policy and planning, and other language consultancy services such as developing dictionaries (lexicography), developing orthographies for marginalised indigenous languages, basic training in specialised language services, language policy development, document proof reading, thesis and dissertation editing, translation and interpreting services, to mention but a few. The Language Institute is certainly going to make specific contributions to the development of research in indigenous languages, policy development and enhance language competence skills in Zimbabwe, Africa and beyond.
Furthermore, the University recently received a Partnership Proposal from the Zimbabwe Deaf Media Trust which is requesting collaboration with the MSU Language Institute in Sign Language Training to individuals and organisations. Similarly, other organisations from the disabled communities such as Cheshire and others for blind people are also making similar requests to collaborate with the Institute so as to offer Braille services to people with visual impairments. The Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs through the Judicial Service Commission and Parliament of Zimbabwe has also made similar requests for collaboration in areas of translation and interpreting services.
Currently, the MSU Language Institute is hosting a national translation project and has so far managed to establish a National Translation Committee, comprising an Executive Committee, Translation Technical Advisory Team and Translation Teams for all the fifteen indigenous languages of Zimbabwe to participate in the activities of this project. The National Translation Committee which is being hosted by the Institute at the Midlands State University has successfully translated the new Constitution into fifteen (15) indigenous languages including Sign Language. This is a record achievement in Africa and beyond. The University’s envisaged linguistic trajectory in offering degree programmes in previously marginalised languages such as Tonga, Nambya, Kalanga and Sotho naturally paved the way for the establishment of a Language Institute at the Midlands State University.
I am looking forward to a healthy working relationship with all relevant organisations and departments. May God bless you all.