Call for Cultural diversity

Updated: October 5, 2014

By Bridgette Bugalo, repr. from The Zimbabwe Mail

Culture weekThe Kalanga Language and Cultural Development Association (KLCDA) has implored government to foster cultural diversity by establishing a  policy that will enable participation of all ethnic  groups in national events.

In an interview with The Zimbabwe Mail  KLCDA information and publicity officer, Divine Bango Dube, said cultural diversity enriches identities and can be used to proffer alternatives to address broader issues that bedevil the country in the socio-political and economic spectrum.

“We have no doubt that the new constitution ushers equality and mutual respect among all ethnic groups and it eliminates assimilation of other cultures,” he said.

“We therefore implore all cultural players to foster cultural diversity by developing broad-based approaches towards encouraging the participation of all distinct cultural groups in national and regional cultural activities.  We also implore the ministry of Culture to engage all stakeholders in the development of a cultural policy that enables all ethnic constituencies to fully participate in the establishment of the country’s rich cultural heritage.”

Dube said this year’s Culture Week was celebrated at a time when the new Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises 16 official languages, 13 of which were previously marginalised.

“The recognition of previously marginalised languages through the constitution came as a sigh of relief to marginalised ethnic constituencies such as BaKalanga,” he said.

Dube said in line with this year’s Culture Week Theme Celebrating Cultural Diversity, KLCDA’s hope was that ethnic communities in Zimbabwe are united by a common denominator to strengthen cultural co-operation among each other with the view of establishing a rich and diverse cultural heritage which translates to national prosperity.

Culture week began on  May 17 and ended last week.

Dube said although the 1931 Colonial Act  on languages de-personalised BaKalanga’s  values and sought to destroy and permanently replace their language and culture, omission of their history did not stop the BaKalanga from having a distinct and recognisable identity.

“BaKalanga are a distinct ethnic constituency in Zimbabwe and have a culture worth noting and celebrating with due respect. It is time those with cultural hallucinations and myopia on the identity of BaKalanga seek wise counsel from the custodians of the language as we celebrate the unbundling of BaKalanga from “Ndebele” without apology,” he said.