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Vendors: Mind your langauge


AT the busy and brisk Forth Street and Roadport bus terminus, diverse traders; men and women, of all shapes and sizes, intermingle amid a chorus of conversations and exchanges.

Report by Tonderayi Matonho Own Correspondent

Another scenario is reproduced at Harare Police Charge Office and “Copacabana” bus terminus.

As the conversations rumble on among the traders of different wares, one thing marks their conversations in these busy places — indecent language, spoken without shame and respect to the passer-by.

“One does not have to be a good listener to pick out a vulgar word here or an indecent phrase there. People always strive to remember the good things from a particular place but not bad things produced by foul mouths”, said Jerry Chimuko of Glen View.

“There is always an element of goodness in each person and the possibility of change”, he said, urging street vendors to mind their use of language.

A local school teacher, Frank Sulumba said: “This is the generation which is bearing the brunt of an almost decadent society, a society which is investing very little in morality and uprightness, especially in youths.

“Society is putting the costs of the economic and labour market crises and changes on their shoulders causing bluntness in the way they speak and they risk becoming a ‘lost generation”, he said.

One trader who preferred to be called Vincent, defending himself and those of his ilk, compared his workplace at the bus rank to any up-market office where a particular language defines the culture and tradition of a place.

“It’s like in a normal office where they have their own way of speaking and conversing to each other and this place is ‘our office’ (gesturing) with our own mode of speaking and relating to each other,” he said, adding that they still get along despite the occassional bluntness in language use.

Sociologists say such recent trends in social relations are worrying for a people’s future, especially for children who are growing up  as they enter the city and come face to face with social indecency.

“Such trends and situations are really worrying, especially for the growth of children,” said Thokozole Mhlanga, Child Rights and Protection  Officer for the Defence for Children International Zimbabwe.

“For a child, such places are full of dangers and there is need for a change in both attitude and behaviour among some of the traders. In fact a refinement of conscience,” she said.

Observers say that a number of male traders just like the bus conductors are always under the influence of alcohol, especiaally the hard illicit staff called ‘Kranko’ and Zed.

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