On the 26th of November 2021, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa commissioned the Midlands State University National Language Institute (MSUNLI). This development saw the Language Institute assume a new and bigger mandate in Zimbabwe’s national discourse. 

The commissioning of the National Language Institute building came shortly after the Institute held a strategic planning workshop which ran from the 13th to 15th of October 2021. The main aim of the strategic planning workshop was to craft a blueprint that would guide the Institute in pursuit of its new national mandate. The Minister of Higher and Tertiary, Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Professor Dr A. Murwira, was the Guest of Honour at the workshop and delivered the keynote address. The Vice Chancellor, Professor V.N. Muzvidziwa as well as Deans and Directors of faculties and institutes also graced the workshop. 

The strategic planning workshop streamlined the Institute’s key result areas, goals, and objectives in line with its new mandate.  Having done so, the Institute continues to grow in leaps and bounds as it serves the nation in various capacities, be it in the public or private sectors.

Consistent with its mandate, the National Language Institute provides research and consultancy services for all the sixteen (16) officially recognised languages of Zimbabwe. The institutionalisation of language research and consultancy services is a major milestone for Zimbabwe’s indigenous languages in general, and the formerly marginalised languages in particular. The establishment of the MSU National Language Institute is set to contribute towards the development of Zimbabwe’s indigenous languages. The Institute carries out research in various fields of language study such as literature, language policy, orthography development, and lexicography, among other fields. The ultimate goal of the MSU National Language Institute is to intellectualise Zimbabwe’s indigenous languages so that they are used as languages of instruction in techno-scientific domains. This will make sure that no one is left behind in developmental activities as the country strives to achieve the status of an upper middle income economy by 2030.

Since its inception in 2018, the Institute has provided consultancy services to several private and public sector institutions. Among the private institutions which the Institute has partnered are Premier Services Medical Investments (PSMI) and HigherLife Foundation which benefited from the Sign Language Beginner’s Course. Furthermore, MSUNLI has provided translation services to Government ministries and departments. Among some of the key national documents translated for the Government of Zimbabwe are the National Development Strategy 1, the Compendium of Projects Implemented by the Second Republic, COVID-19 Key Messages, the Consumer Protection Act and the National Disability Policy. These documents were translated from English to the other 15 officially recognised languages of Zimbabwe and also transcribed to Braille. Individuals from within and without the MSU have also benefitted from consultancy services such as translation, editing, proof reading and typesetting, among other services.  

The year 2021 saw MSUNLI publish an academic book titled Sociolinguistics and Multilingual Education in Zimbabwe. MSUNLI research staff as well as other academics from the MSU and other universities contributed chapters in the book. The Institute will continue to publish more books and research articles that will contribute to the development of Zimbabwe’s languages. 

In terms of staffing, MSUNLI employs language experts for all the sixteen (16) officially recognised languages of Zimbabwe. In addition, the Institute employs a braillist to deal with matters relating to visual impairment. While braille is not a language but a form of writing, the provision of braille services satisfies the constitutional obligation of not discriminating anyone on the basis of disability. This staff complement enables the Institute to fulfil the constitutional obligation of promoting and advancing the use of all languages used in Zimbabwe as well as creating conditions for the development of those languages.  

As the Executive Director of this Institute, I would like to thank you for visiting our web page. I hope you now have an appreciation of the range of services that we offer. I also hope that you will soon engage us for the variety of services that we offer in the field of languages. 

I thank you.