The Representation of Minority Languages and Indigenous Cultures in Zimbabwean Museums

By Tendai Fortune Muringa.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Most African countries, Zimbabwe included, have diverse languages through which people disseminate and express their unique identities and cultures. These languages, regardless of status, carries culture and transmit skills, ideas, values and symbols that are peculiar to each indigenous community. In Zimbabwe, two indigenous languages namely Shona and Ndebele, stand as national languages whilst English is the official language. Other languages such as Kalanga, Venda, Nambya and Tonga are classified as ‘small’ or minority languages. It is the argument of this paper that the interconnectedness of culture to language entails that attention is accorded to minority languages especially by museums which are repositories of Zimbabwe’s traditional and contemporary culture. Minority languages, if at all included, exist in museum exhibitions mainly to name the object and not to elaborate on the cultural context which led to creation of such symbols. Therefore, what does this mean regarding the representation of minority languages and indigenous cultures in Zimbabwe? This paper argues that the language and culture of minority groups constitute national identity and need to be accommodated in the integral vision of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ).

Keywords: Minority Languages, Indigenous Cultures, Museums

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.37-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 684.123KB).

Tendai Fortune Muringa

Lecturer, Department of African Languages and Culture, Midlands State University, Gweru, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe

I am young lady aged 31, a researcher in cultural studies and heritage. I have been an employee for the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe for two and a half years 2007-mid 2009 and am currently a lecturer in the department of African Languages and Culture. I have been in the department for aproximately three years. mid 2009 to date


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