Nyota, Shumirai

    Zimbabwe Open University 


    She is a Professor of Linguistics at Great Zimbabwe University in Zimbabwe. She has been teaching at University level since 2001 and has held the following posts of responsibility; Chairperson of Department, Dean of Studies and Research Chair. She holds a BA. Gen, BA. Hons. (University of Zimbabwe), Honours BA, MA. and Dlit et. Phil. in African Languages (University of South Africa). Her research interests include Semantics, Sociolinguistics and Indigenous Knowledge Systems.



    Past, present and future trajectories of Minoritized Languages and Varieties: critical perspectives on the Tjwa of Zimbabwe


    This paper highlights past, present and future trajectories of the minoritized languages in particular the Tjwa, a Khoisan language group of Zimbabwe. The paper focuses on the history of the Tjwa, their demography, and factors affecting their culture and language, Tswao, retention in Zimbabwe. It situates/locates the Tjwa of Zimbabwe in the Tjwa communities that are dotted in Southern African countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Angola. Comparison of the Tjwa communities in Zimbabwe with their counterparts in neighbouring countries shows that those in Zimbabwe suffer linguistic and cultural marginalisation while their counterparts in the region are better. It traces the history of the Tjwa of Zimbabwe to establish why they are in their present predicament and what the future holds for them. The paper establishes that the Tjwa of Zimbabwe despite being the original inhabitants of the present day Zimbabwe, have suffered from forced displacements, first by the arrival of the Bantu in the country and secondly by the colonial government. In both cases, the Tjwa were displaced without any displacement packages resulting in them being pushed to outer margins of society leading them into dire poverty, discrimination, domination by the more powerful groups in contact and forcing them to assimilate to languages of those powerful ethnic groups they found themselves into contact with after their forced displacements. Again while the Tjwa in neighbouring countries benefited from researchers, research work on the Tjwa of Zimbabwe only started in the past few decades. The paper ends by assessing efforts being made towards revitalising the Tjwa and their Tjwao language.