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Mnangagwa addresses Malawians in fluent Chewa

by Staff reporter
03 Jun 2023 at 08:16hrs | Views
President Mnangagwa, who was in Malawi on a three-day State visit this week, proved his statesmanship when he surprised his Malawian audience by addressing them in fluent Chewa, leaving them thrilled.

Since becoming President in 2017, President Mnangagwa has adopted the policy of leaving no one and no place behind as he forges ahead to unite not only the country, but the global village through his policy of engagement and re-engagement.

President Mnangagwa and President Chakwera wave at thousands of Malawians who thronged Chileka Airport to bid him farewell after his State visit yesterday

The President, who is known to be a fluent speaker of six languages namely Ndebele, Tonga, Bemba, Shona, English and Chewa, is proving to be a good connector with the masses through his linguistic abilities which have won him many admirers both at home and across borders.

Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said President Mnangagwa can easily connect with his audiences because of his linguistic versatility.

"The President cannot be confined to a geographical space, he transcends all spaces culturally, linguistically, politically and of course as a freedom fighter so you will find out that whichever situation, he finds himself  in, he is conversant with the local language and the local idioms that makes him a perfect Sadc citizen.

"Language is very  important, it gets a politician to instantly connect with his audiences but in this case also to connect  with a sister Republic, so really beyond just communication, this a fundamental symbolism in terms of how integrated and how his vision of integrating Sadc is fast coming closer to realisation. It will also be important for you that even President Chakwera was actually addressing us in Shona, that really tells you the level of affinity between the two sister Republics," he said.

Political analyst and international relations expert Mr Tongai Dana said by addressing his Malawian audience in Chewa, as an international statesman, President Mnangagwa demonstrated and provided the direction that Africans should now take when they are interrelating between and among each other.

"Based on this, President Mnangagwa played a role of an African father, whose role is giving direction to fellow Africans, specifically the emerging youthful African leaders who would really benefit from this transferring knowledge of indigenous languages so African languages gain traction in international forums."

Mr Dana added that President Mnangagwa has become the pioneer of such an internationally important step.

"When local languages are spoken at important international visits between African countries, that spirit of Africaness engulfs the listeners.

"This is very important, especially at this time when Africa has lost her oneness as characterised by such evils as xenophobia making headway in our once united African people who joined hands to fight against colonialism, making one's independence the priority of the other."

From a diplomatic perspective, Mr Dana said that multilingualism is a fundamental value and an enabler of multilateral diplomacy, which brings tolerance and dialogue among countries.

"By using the host country local language, President Mnangagwa demonstrated tolerance of other African countries as well as his international diplomatic capacities as an international statesman.

THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc)

"If this could be an African practice, Africa would turn her adversity into an opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation as was the case during the liberation struggle when Africans would speak each other's language as they co-operated to ward off colonialisation," he said.

Another political analyst, Mr Gibson Nyikadzino, said President Mnangagwa's ability to speak various African languages signifies the oneness that is shared among countries in the Sadc region.

"President Mnangagwa in respect of the oneness between African nations, in the context of mainly the Sadc region, has maintained the ability to have people recall the binding historical and cultural ties between and among our nations.

"You will recall that he went to Zambia where he spoke Tonga and this time he has gone to Malawi and he addresses the audience in their language."

Mr Nyikadzino went on to explain that the President's gesture also signifies the shared historical ties that exist among people in Sadc, bearing in mind that Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi were once part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

"So, it is also a lesson on the importance of our languages being a carrier of our identity and our culture."

In February 2022, the African Union adopted Swahili, an African language, as one of the official languages alongside French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic.

This signalled the fact that Africans have awakened to the importance of speaking their own languages when they interrelate and discuss African issues.

Source - The Chronicle