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Power of language in Nation Building

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Zimbabwe’s indigenous languages have a lot in common; one only has to listen carefully to notice, for example, the number of Ndebele words that have been incorporated into Shona, and vice versa. This is natural; no two languages can exist in close proximity without borrowing from one another. Languages that have “refused” to borrow from others have died; Latin is one such.

Zimbabwe boasts 16 officially recognised languages; and again, one only has to listen carefully to recognise the ventilation that has been going on between the languages over the past 200 years. But something must have happened along the way to stop this natural process.

Believe it or not, the coming of colonialism is what put a halt to this process. Colonialists knew the unifying power of language. When the British colonised the land between the Zambezi and the Limpopo they found indigenous populations at war with each other. It was a time of great upheaval and the natives of this land were at their weakest. To make a quick kill, the colonisers exploited these fights. This was their way of doing things wherever they wanted to control. They used a strategy called “divide and rule”. It was the pillar of their colonial policy as they created the British Empire.

Divide and rule according to historians is “a policy which is intended to keep someone in a position of power by causing disagreements between people who might otherwise unite against them”.

To exploit India through imperial policies, the British ensured various conflicts between Indians remained in play. In Nigeria from 1900 to 1960, differences between regions were frequently exploited and exaggerated. The resulting tensions between Nigerian ethnic groups made it easier for the colonial authorities to consolidate their power in the region.

In Rhodesia, it was the same. The British exploited the conflict between the Shona and the Ndebele; they actually accentuated it because they feared unity between the two major indigenous groups was a threat to their designs. Such unity had manifested itself devastatingly to the settlers during the First Chimurenga/Umvukela of 1896.

One way to destroy this unity was to destroy the commonalities between the languages so that the people loathed one another. Shona policemen were poured into Matabeleland provinces while Ndebele policemen were deployed into Mashonaland provinces. The result was a hatred of each other and each other’s languages. Language was then used as a weapon of control.

Now Zimbabwe is caught in a time warp; it is failing to shed this colonial legacy. But we are a nation; Zimbabweans should be able to speak each other’s languages and use that as a unifying force. Once we do this, each will be able to appreciate the unity in diversity that creates strong nations.

Educational psychologists have proved that children who speak many languages learn faster than those who speak just one. It is therefore necessary for the government to create a curriculum that ensures that children master at least one indigenous language outside their own. Interestingly, in Zimbabwe, once one speaks Shona and Ndebele the other languages become very easy to learn because they are all very closely related, all being Bantu languages.

What a wonderful country it would be when every Zimbabwean can land anywhere in the country and converse in the language of that region! Only then can we call ourselves a nation. Language is the glue that binds nations.

Bitcoin – a new tool for privacy and freedom of transaction

In July the Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) announced the bank would be introducing new regulations around trading cryptocurrency. In making the announcement, deputy governor Kuben Naidoo said most central banks were now focused on regulating the broader crypto-environment; learning and seeing how it can be used. He said the idea was not to regulate it as a currency but as a financial asset. The response from the market was positive and it appears the market has stolen the march.

This week Pick n Pay announced it will soon be allowing customers to pay for groceries with crypto at 39 stores in South Africa. Reporting on the development TechCentral quoted the retailer saying: “Increasingly cryptocurrency is being used by those underserved by traditional banking systems.”

In last week’s episode Anita Posch said Bitcoin is unstoppable. She maintains that “Bitcoin might be our only tool to secure the human right to privacy and freedom of transaction.” She says Bitcoin is a “medium of liberation for billions of people and a defence mechanism for privacy in our ever more digital lives.”

Central Banks and the banking sector must take note. What is it that is attracting the public, particularly the unbanked, to cryptocurrency? Instead of creating hurdles towards the adoption of cryptocurrency, authorities must do as the SARB is doing i.e., seek to understand and then look at light touch regulation to guide and protect the public. We are at the beginning of something huge that has the power to fast-track financial inclusion, power the creator economy and the world economy. There is both risk and opportunity – cautious optimism is the way to go.

In Conversation with latestConvo

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Dr Chitsamatanga always knew what he wanted to do since he was 8 years old. His journey to becoming a Medical Doctor is filled with Big Lessons learnt through the love for his work, working in close knit communities and finding his home at Cure Zimbabwe. He believes that a lot of professionals have lost their humanity in their work which is a serious cause for concern. Watch his episode here.

In Conversation with Dr. Chido Rwafa Madzvamutse

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Don’t miss out on the next epsiode of In Conversation with Trevor with Consultant Psychiatrist and Public Mental Health Specialist, Dr Chido Rwafa Madzvamutse.

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Podcasts

in conversation with trevorZimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube sits
down with various high-profile guests in a series of candid,
conversations that seeks to go beyond the headlines
and beyond the sensational.

Book of the Week

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Summary: Learn Bitcoin is an introductory book on the basics, applications and use cases of Bitcoin and how to make a living with this young and potentially revolutionary technology.

Order
yours on Amazon

Recommended Reading:

The Little Bitcoin Book

by Lily Liu and Timi Ajiboye


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