The Deaf Bulletin 2014 Issue 1
Local languages for global citizenship
Languages are important for identity; communication, social integration, and Education. Language is important for people and making them develop in many ways. Deaf Zimbabwe Trust joined the rest of the celebrated UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day on the 21st February 2014. The International Mother Language Day is observed annually worldwide to promote awareness and effective and cultural diversity. This year the International Mother Language Day was commemorated under the theme “Local Languages for Global Citizenship: Spotlight on Science.’
The Director General of UNESCO Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura states that, languages are indeed essential to the identity of groups and individuals and to their peaceful coexistence. They constitute a strategic factor of progress towards sustainable development and a harmonious relationship between the global and the local context. Sign language is of no exception as it is the primary language of people who are deaf.
The celebration of International Mother Language comes at a time when the Deaf community in Zimbabwe is celebrating the recognition of Zimbabwe Sign Language in the new constitution as one of the official languages. This opens a lot of opportunities for development of the language and equality for Deaf people in Zimbabwe. Language is a fundamental tool to communication and it is important for education, life skills and development of a community.
In Zimbabwe today, Sign language plays a vital role in development, as it can strengthen cooperation between the Deaf people and hearing community. The acknowledgement of Sign language in Zimbabwe as an official language will enable access to national development programmes, access to health, justice and education.
For these benefits to be realised, the provisions in the new constitution need to be implemented.
The importance of language is shown when the late Nelson Mandela said, “If you speak to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you speak to the same man in his own language it goes to his heart”.
Other topics covered in this bulletin are:
- Interview with Lovemore Chidemo – Deaf Activist
- Sexual and reproductive health education for Deaf