July 27, 2009

Kiswahili Must Be Protected By All (Zanzibar)

ZANZIBARIS should honour Kiswahili, and take full responsibility of preserving the Isles culture instead of blaming the government or foreigners for any distortions, the Zanzibar Minister of Information, Culture, and Sports, Mr Ali Juma Shamuhuna, has said.

Responding to concerns raised by legislators during the two days debate on the ministry’s 4.4bn/- budget proposals for 2009/2010, the minister said there was no way Zanzibar could detach itself from the rest of the world to prevent global impact on their language and culture.

“The world is now a global village, and Zanzibar cannot isolate itself. Let us accept changes by taking what we think is acceptable in our society and leave out the rest,” Mr Shamuhuna said before legislators voted to approve his ministry’s budget.

He dismissed as baseless claims that his ministry had not done enough to protect the Isles’ Kiswahili dialect, culture, traditional dances, and norms.

Mr Shamuhuna argued that Zanzibaris, including legislators, should not expect the government to do everything for them. “If a son or daughter returns home very late in the night, how do you blame the government? Such behaviour needs parental commitments.”

The minister also said it was difficult for his ministry to protect Kiswahili without the commitment of people and leaders who, occasionally preferred to speak English, not Kiswahili, at official functions.

The Speaker of the Zanzibar House, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho, interrupted during the debate by asking the legislators to stick to Kiswahili (without mixing it with English). Most of them however, could not.


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