By Tendai Moyo
Fearing that many Ndebele speaking MDC Alliance supporters may be offended and stop voting for the party, MDC Alliance Spokesperson Fadzai Mahere took to social media this morning to apologize for the bad pronunciation of Bulawayo in a video that went viral recently.
On her Twitter she wrote “Salibonani Bulawayo omuhle! Sengilenyanga ezimbili ngifunda isiNdebele. Ngiya xolisa ngendlela engibize ngayo uBulawayo, ngisa funda. Libe lelanga elihle.” From the way she writes, you can tell that the Ndebele Teacher is definitely not doing a good job with her spacing words that are not meant to be spaced at all.
The words “ngisa funda” meant to be “ngisafunda” and “ngiya xolisa” which is meant to be “ngiyaxolisa” clearly depict a person struggling with the language. If it is indeed true that she is learning the language, perhaps a video in which she reads out her twitter post would go a long way in pacifying the citizens of Bulawayo.
Many think such issues are a matter of semantics but imagine what people that view her as a role model will learn. It is such things that make culture and language erode because of the failure by people to observe the basics. If it is indeed true that she is being taught the language, then how is it that the teacher has not taught her the basics of word construction?
If at all she has taken it from the Shona language, the two words would be written as “ndichiri kudzidza” and “ndinokumbira ruregerero.” In this language it would make sense but not necessarily in the other.
Bulawayo is not a new word which just sprung up yesterday. It is the name of the City of Kings and Queens. It is a city rich in culture and history. It is a city which her colonial masters built at the hands of the people of Bulawayo. It is a city that is known the world over and clearly she has no regard for it except for when she and her party needs votes. Her lack of pronunciation is a ridicule of not only the people of Bulawayo but to herself and professes her ignorance.
She must please the twitter community which to her is clearly a constituency but whether or not this twitter community votes is another issue.
If anything, Mahere’s attitude towards the Ndebele language is reflective of that party’s tribal outlook, particularly targeting Ndebele people within that party.
In its recent reshuffle in which Mahere was the major beneficiary replacing Hwange Central Legislator, Daniel Molekele, there was no appointment of any Ndebele person.
Additionally, the majority of councilors representing Bulawayo City Council are Shona speaking, a development that has irked a lot of citizens in Zimbabwe’s second capital.