THE San community in Tsholotsho is fuming over reference to their language as Koisan instead of Tshwao in the draft constitution, saying this showed they were not consulted during the outreach exercise.
Koisan refers to an ethnic group, the community leaders have argued.
Davy Ndlovu, the director of Creative Arts and Education Development Association — an organisation that represents the interests of the San people — yesterday said the community regards the mistake as serious.
“Chapter 1, Section 6, subsection 1 of the draft constitution states Koisan as one of the official languages, which includes Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, Sign Language, Sotho, Tonga, Tshwana, Venda and Xhosa,” he said.
“As far as we know the San people’s language is not Koisan — that is the ethnic group. Their language is called Tshwao and it varies with contexts with some calling it Tshao/Tsoa, Chwa/Tshwa, Chuwau/Tshuwau.”
He said in Zimbabwe the San speak Tshwao or Tshoa Coded as ISO 639-3: HIO and the people are called Tshara-Tshao.
Ndlovu said there was no language called Koisan and the error by Copac in naming their language as such proved that the parliamentary team did not reach the San community during the outreach consultations.
“If Copac met the San people it could have obtained the right language to put in the constitution,” he said.
“The San are now confused and do not know if they should vote for this draft constitution during the referendum because our language is not Koisan.”
Ndlovu said there were a lot of contradictions in the draft, which the San people spotted.
“Chapter 4 Part 2 under the Declaration of Rights Section 63, states that every person has the right:
“(a) To use the language of their choice; and (b) To participate in the cultural life of their choice, but no person exercising these rights may do so in a way that is inconsistent with this chapter,” he noted.
“San people survived through gathering and hunting.
“Will they be allowed to hunt and gather as it’s their culture or they will be arrested for (something called) poaching? Copac must clarify this if the San people are to vote for the draft.”