Five other languages are currently fighting to be able to get tested by the Ministry of Primary and secondary Education, according to a Senior official from the Zimbabwe Indigenous Languages Promotion (ZILP).
The official said in an interview that the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Senator David Coltart, had agreed that Tonga be tested by his ministry at Grade Seven level at the end of this year.
This came about after various consultations were held by people from Binga who asked why their language is being sidelined and yet there are more than one million people who use the language daily in the region.
“This year will see for the first time the Tonga Language being tested,” the official said.
“As you know the Tonga are a great lot and make up most of the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe. They said they feel they are being sidelined by government and we have thus decided to get the language tested in Zimbabwe beginning this year at grade seven level.”
He said the language would be tested under ZIMSEC regulations which govern all examinations in the country.
“We are proud that the Tonga Language is finally receiving recognition,” he said. “We want other languages to be also recognised by government.
“In fact I can tell you that other languages such as Kalanga, Nambu, Venda, and indeed Tonga have been fighting to get recognition and the Ministry has agreed on Tonga this year. As you know language binds people and culture together.”
The Tonga recently held a display of some of their great songs at the Book Cafe – a very popular venue for top culture artists in Harare. The event was attended by more than 100 invited guests including songster, Chioniso Maraire and Busi Ncube from the Band Rain.