LANGUAGE POLICIES AND EMPOWERMENT IN AFRICA AND ZIMBABWE: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.

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Number of books published by the Southern Rhodesia Literature Bureau from 1956 to 1996.

The number of books published in the first decade after independence is equal to the total number of books published in 24 years between 1956 and 1980. It is the largest number published during the period under review. Indeed the new era unleashed vigour and inspiration to produce literature in indigenous languages. The literature produced in indigenous languages grew as a result of the demands of high school and college market where prescribed books are periodically changed. For this reason the market forces which guided creative work before independence continued to influence literature production after independence. There was also need to change societal attitudes and views about the changes in their socio-economic and political environment. The change in philosophy of the political leadership meant that new themes such as solidarity, socialism, unity among people of different races, ethnic backgrounds and the promotion of human rights inspired artists. Wamba-dia-Wamba claims, in today’s Africa, to think are increasingly to think for or against imperialism, (Ngugi, 1994). In Zimbabwe, historical fiction got rehabilitated after independence, unfortunately after the situation it dealt with was changing.
It is observed that the largest publications were achieved during the first decade of independence. The rise in publications was synonymous with the rise in school and college enrolments, which created a market for the books. At this juncture it might be necessary to probe further into whether the situation improved after 1996. If not, what could be the reason? Questions like whether or not writers play their critical role as a watchdog of societal ills will preoccupy the study. As Kahari, cited by Kurasha (2004), asserts, the role of literature throughout the ages is to be critical of the government and the other sectors of society if writers are to remain torchbearers of society. Zimbabwe is currently facing serious economic, political and social challenges such that it tickles the mind to want to establish whether these socio-economic and political anxieties have an influence on the literature of the day. Njau in James (1990:106) affirms that:
…writing that is mere intellectualism is not for a country that is full of social ills and miserable poverty. And when we consider that most African writing ends up in schools where it is consumed for examinations, African writers must make sure they know their audience before they take up a pen to write.
African literature should address the socio-cultural and politico-historical problems but is the environment conducive for that? Most African governments provide creative space, which is confined to the philosophies of the state. Like their former colonial regimes dissenting art is thwarted. While during colonialism literacy was used to support imperialism, in post colonial states, literature is used as a vehicle to transport the philosophies of the new governments. Many African states exist merely to ensure that their populations do not rise against the new order. Ngugi (1997) maintains that every writer is a writer in politics. His claims are very correct; the only consideration is the quality and social direction of the politics. Post-colonial works such as Mutasa’s (2005) Sekai Minda Tave Nayo clearly confirm that ideas do not develop in a vacuum. Such works have demonstrated that through the use of African languages and literature we can overcome the habit of viewing development through western eyes (Ngugi, 1997:4). Since literature is partisan, it is influenced by social, political and historical factors that condition it. In that respect any literature is empowering to an extent as defined by the environment that nurtures it. It is argued that Zimbabwean national literature can only get its stamina and lifeblood (Ngugi, 1997:4) by utilising the rich traditions of culture and history deposited in its environment.
In post-colonial Zimbabwe, some of the Shona novelists have distinguished themselves in that they have liberated themselves from sticking to the monotonous stereotypical and banal techniques of most literary works published before independence. Artists such as Mungoshi (1983) in Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura, Mabasa (1999) in Mapenzi and Mutasa (2005) in Sekai Minda Tave Nayo have injected new excitements by presenting their creative works in modern devices such as the letter or epistolary form in Mutasa. The epistolary method adopted by Mutasa resembles the letters of St. Paul in the New Testament. This is symbolic of ushering in a new era, as is the case in the bible. Mungoshi geniously employs psychological realism, which enables him to touch on even untouchable thoughts. On one hand, Mabasa cleverly and dramatically adopts a satirical look at corruption in post-colonial life in Zimbabwe, while on the other hand Mutasa departs from the traditional narratives. He presents his historical perspective of the land issue in Zimbabwe in the form of letters. To a great extent in terms of style there is development among artists. This development liberates the artists to express even the most private thoughts since characters are captured in their psychological realm. In terms of style there ha been a significant development in the production of novels in Zimbabwe. To an extent we can also conclude that artists are able to expose certain ills of the Zimbabwean society as demonstrated by Mabasa (1999) in Mapenzi. It remains the interest of this discussion to further explore how the publishers and the government have influenced creative art. The form of such works as Mungoshi’s (1983) Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura, Mabasa’s (1999) Mapenzi and Mutasa’s (2005) Sekai Minda Tave Nayo require a certain level like Advanced level to university level of academic exposure and appreciation to be understood. To empower and propel active participation of all members of the Zimbabwean society it is necessary to consider provision of literature that is accessible in terms of language, form, cost and complexity of themes. The study appreciates the development in literature production. However, the level of empowerment still remains questionable.

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AFRICAN LITERATURE FOR SOCIO-CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION IN ZIMBABWE

The importance of language and culture has been discussed and analysed above. This section pays attention to literature as it relates to socio-cultural and economic development. Respondents interviewed highlighted that literature leaves a permanent record of a people’s linguistic and cultural power, energy and stamina in all fields of life.
Of those who responded to the questionnaire 60% viewed creative literature themes, readership and distribution of that literature as important factors that contribute towards raising socio-cultural and economic awareness. Respondents argued that novels could be used to express the nation’s vision, hopes and aspirations. However indigenous artists wrote ordinary stories based on fantasy and the recreation of culture hence going against the nationalistic vision as presented above. The pie chart in diagram 3 indicates that writers of indigenous literature concentrate more on social stories and cultural moralisation. Chiwome (1996) and Ngugi (1994) observe that in colonial Zimbabwe, writers were pre-occupied with moralisation themes as a result of censorship laws.
Respondents also raised important arguments as regards readership and distribution of literature as factors that influence awareness and participation. It was argued that readership should be extended to the out of school population. The observation is that there are very few people who read indigenous literature for leisure. As shown in Table 14, only 13% confirmed that indigenous literature is read for leisure. Indigenous literature is largely read in schools, colleges and universities to fulfill demands of the syllabi, (NLPAP; 1998). Electronic media exacerbates the situation. Instead of reading indigenous literature many would prefer watching movies on television. This lack of interest in indigenous literature is a result of the effect of the roles assigned to indigenous languages as compared to English. The suggestion that readership be extended to the out of school population is quite valid as this will provoke a reading culture which ultimately may result in people’s increased awareness of socio-cultural and economic issues that demand their intervention. Readers should be caught whilst they are young. The school curriculum should provide for extensive exposure to literature in indigenous languages from a very tender age. Many Zimbabweans do not hide that they find it difficult to read, write or type documents in their mother tongue. They lack practice in mother-tongue literature while still at school. However, extending readership to the out of school population is no guarantee that the people will read indigenous literature since the problem lies not with availability of novels, but with negative attitudes towards indigenous languages and literatures.

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Preamble
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Background.
1.4 Rationale.
1.5 Study objectives.
1.6 Research design and methodology
1.6.1 Design
1.6.2 Research participants .
1.6.3 Research instruments
1.6.3.1 The questionnaire
1.6.3.2 Interviews.
1.6.3.3 Observations.
1.6.3.4 Document analysis
1.7 Theoretical framework
1.8 Scope.
1.9 Definition of terms.
1.10 Conclusion
CHAPTER 2 LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND DEVELOPMENT
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Language and socio-economic developmen
2.3 Literature and socio-cultural development .
2.4 Language in power
2.5 The role of language in education
2.5.1 Language and medium of instruction .
2.5.2 Indigenous languages preparedness for use in education
2.6 The role of literature in education
2.6.1 Literature and educational development
2.6.2 Limitations to the role of African literature.
2.6.2.1 Role of writers .
2.6.2.2 African governments as obstacles
2.6.2.3 Form and content as obstacles.
2.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3 LANGUAGE POLICIES AND EMPOWERMENT IN AFRICA AND ZIMBABWE: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.
3.1 Introduction.
3.2 An overview of language planning in selected African countries .
3.3 Colonial language policies in Zimbabwe.
3.3.1 The British South Africa Company’s language policy
3.3.2 Missionary influence to language policy
3.4 Post-colonial language policy in Zimbabwe
3.4.1 Colonial legacy
3.4.2 Language policy in education
3.5 Literature against the backdrop of colonial and post-colonial language policies
3.5.1 Literature in colonial Zimbabwe
3.5.2 Literature in post-colonial Zimbabw
3.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4 PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
4.1 Introduction..
4.2 Data presentation
4.3 Analysis of data .
4.4 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
CHAPTER 6 RESEARCH FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
BIBIOLOGRAPHY

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EMPOWERMENT THROUGH LANGUAGE: EXPLORING POSSIBILITIES OF USING AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE TO PROMOTE SOCIO-CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ZIMBABWE

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