Español

Languages in Zimbabwe

You are here: Countries / Zimbabwe



English is the official language of Zimbabwe and is used as means of communication in most regions of the country especially in the urban areas. Especially now that the economy of Zimbabwe has been dollarized where the US Dollar is the current currency used throughout the country, Zimbabweans have all the more embraced the language and used it in their everyday lives. In schools, English is used as the medium of instruction from Grade 1 until the university level. However, in rural areas where English language has not yet developed in the people’s culture, the medium of instruction in the schools is their mother tongue from Grade 1 to Grade 2. In Grade 3, though, students are taught through their mother tongue in transition to learning the English language. From then on, English remains as the primary medium of instruction and the mother tongue is taught as a subject.

Aside from English, Zimbabweans also speak the Shona and Ndebele languages. The Shona language is spoken by over 10 million people in Zimbabwe, most of them having it as their mother tongue. It is a Bantu language spoken in the country, as well as in Zambia and Botswana. Shona’s different dialects include Manyika, Ndau, Karanga, Zezuru, and Korekore. It is taught in urban schools as a subject and not as medium of instruction (except for the rural areas). The Ndebele language, commonly called Sindebele, on the other hand is second to the Shona language as to the number of people speaking and using the language. It is related to the Zulu language of South Africa (Ndebeles are descendants of the Zulu tribe).

Share this page: