The Shona People of Zimbabwe

The Shona people are mainly located in Zimbabwe. They are the largest indigenous group in Zimbabwe followed by the Ndebele people and mostly reside in the southern region of the country. They speak a language called chishona or simply shona in short. This particular language is taught in schools alongside English and Ndebele as the three official languages.

The chishona speakers have their history in central Africa were they belonged to the Bantu people who spread out to the different regions of central and southern Africa. To this day the languages in southern Africa and Africa in general have many similarities.

The majority of Zimbabweans are Shona speakers. These are a people who value their culture. Ubuntu is a concept highly entrenched in most Zimbabweans. This is a communal sharing culture that has total respect for elders and ancestors. The values of Ubuntu are essentially Bantu values which are also found in the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe.

Shona as a language apart from being taught in schools is also taught in homes as children grow up. The best way to learn the language is to live amongst the speakers of the language themselves. Shona speakers view their language as easy to learn and quick to grasp. However pronunciation of some Shona words is sometimes difficult. For this reason there is a modernised version of the language as in the following example;

House - Imba (modern)  or  Musha ( more traditional)

To some visitors to Zimbabwe people speaking chishona speak very fast without room for a new-comer to follow exactly what they are saying. Usually when one speaks a statement will be over before the new listener makes the head or the tail of the sentence. This often frustrates many to be shona speakers trying to follow a conversation.

Good advice will be to isolate word by word and first try to get an understanding through how it is constructed. There is often an easy way to follow how a shona word is constructed.

All in all Zimbabweans cherish their languages both Ndebele and Shona and would rather communicate as such. However they are generally a sensitive and understanding people who do their best to switch to English when they come into contact with people who do not speak their own language.

Do you have  an experience to share about Shona? Submit your experience below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey thanks for leaving a comment. I appreciate your input. I will activate your comments after a quick scan :)