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The Zimbabwe Media Commission joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 2021 edition of the International Mother Tongue Day which is running under the theme, “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in Education and society”.  The United Nations proclaimed day falls on 21 February of each year.

One of the Constitutional mandates of the ZMC is to promote the 16 official languages prescribed by the supreme law of the land. That mandate given to the ZMC is not surprising as it is in sync with the role to promote freedom of expression as provided for by Section 61 of the Constitution. This important commemoration is based on the realisation that a people can only freely express themselves, be true to themselves even, when they use a language they best understand. After all, language defines a people’s identity, embodying their philosophy of life and values.  It is the embodiment of a people’s dreams, culture and traditions, a subtle rallying point for any community. Therefore, it is and ought to be a source of pride. There is no richer heritage that any people can boast about.

The need to use local languages in our media dovetails well with Vision 2030 and the need not to “leave any place and anyone behind”.  The ZMC is pleased to note that many media outlets have embraced the use of local languages in their content programming.  It is also pleasing to note that a number of publications have embraced the use of local languages to reach out to many groups of people in their own languages.  The goal of universal access to information can only be realised through communicating in a language people understand. This reality is being demonstrated today in the fight against Covid 19. All communities need to embrace the fight of Covid 19 in their own languages.

While we cannot be insular to outside cultures and languages, there is a need to safeguard our local languages as part of our rich culture and tradition.  The Commission implores the media to do much more than in the present in promoting local languages as part of the entire Devolution Agenda.

It is important to note that borders in many parts of the world have been artificially imposed. Many borders were negotiated and drawn arbitrarily, thereby splitting communities that had existed for centuries. This process has contributed to language conflict all over the world. Cross-border languages are naturally dynamic because they are cross-fertilized by lingo from multiple countries. It is prudent, however, to acknowledge multilingualism with countries as is the case with Zimbabwe that has multiple local languages.

They include Shona, Ndebele, Tonga, Shangani, Ndau, Nambya and Venda among others. These languages are spoken by millions of people across Southern Africa.  Their evolution tells a rich story of migration and trade.

To our clients and stakeholders, we say: today greet a friend in your mother tongue with the hashtag #mothertongueday.

In commemorating the day, the ZMC publishes a piece by Professor Ruby Magosvongwe who is also the Commission Chairperson. The poetry was published in a poetry anthology titled “Ngatisimuke: Nhapitapi yenhorimbo” (3rd Editrion, 2006).

Many thanks for her permission to use the piece.


Paumire ipapo,

Paugere ipapo,

Paunyerere ipapo,

Dama rangu ndiwe.


Inhodzerwaiko idzodzo,

Kufanamai kunga kurima,

Kufana kwakabva mombe,

Kufana vaimedzerwa zvavo rute,

Ukavaona unovaziva?

Vanobvunza vanokanuka nerwako rukono

Usafezvako wakazvinyengera,


Dama rangu ndiwe

Ndiwe mbirimi yangu.

Ndiwe mhizha yangu.

Ndiwe mboorera yandakatushura.

Ndiwe mboni yangu.

Dama rangu ndiwe.


Achazove aniko mumwe

Achamiririra mhuri yekwako?

Achazobvepiko mumwe

Achamiririra dzinza rekwako?

Achazove aniko iwe

Achamiririra rudzi rwekwako?

Achazove ani, ndiudze

Angamiririra nyika yekwako?


Ziva izvi mwana wekutumbura

Dama rangu ndiwe

Ndomira paiko paungandinzwa?

Hakuna mumwezve mwana wekubereka

Dama rangu ndiwe.



Below is the Nambya version


Pomile pakalepo

Pawugele pakalepo

Pawulonyalala pakalepo

Idama lyangu ndiwi


Chizwalwa chani?

Chizwalwa chokupi?

Chizwalwa chomuno na?

Idama lyangu ndiwi.


Kutojana kulichini yoko,

Kutojana kunofana nokulima,

Kutojana nokwakava ingombe,

Kufanana naabo bakabedonejelwa inthe,

Ungobabona unobaziba?

Banobhuza bechenama nozwawuli

Usufe wazuchengeja.


Idama lyangu ndiwi

Ndiwi imphuwo yangu

Ndiwi imhizha yangu.

Ndiwi mhiwa undakatombula

Ndiwi izhisho lyangu.

Idama lyangu ndiwi

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