Nastiness Diagnosis. Anthropology. Religion. Gender. Justice. A Personal Notepad For the General Public.
The American Methodists at Old Umtali, the Anglicans at St Augustine’s and the Mariannhill fathers at Triashill together produced Manyika; the Jesuits at Chishawasha, near Salisbury, produced Zezuru; the Dutch Reformed Church at Morgenster produced Karanga. Differences were exaggerated, obscuring the actual gradualism and homogeneity of the real situation.
The cover photo
＊＊running at the National Gallery in Harare is an exhibition of photos, called 75@30, depicting social life from the 100 years in Zimbabwe up to 1980. The exhibition is sponsored by the Embassy of Spain and was brought to being in partnership with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the National Archives.
The exhibition celebrates 100 years of Zimbabwean life, 30 years of independence since then and 75 years of the existence of the National Archives.
Missionaries, Migrants and the Manyika: The Invention of Ethnicity in Zimbabwe
Moreover, this written language in which the mission elite came to have such a vested interest was innovative in another significant way. It created rather than merely reflected one specific dialect of Shona—Manyika. In pre-colonial Zimbabwe there did not exist bounded dialect zones within the overall Shona-speaking territory. Each village spoke the ‘same’ language as its neighbour, across the whole territory, but there was nevertheless gradual lexical and idiomatic change so that, by the time a man from the extreme western edge of the Shona-speaking area reached the extreme eastern edge, he encountered significant differences. Missionary linguists created discrete dialect zones by developing written languages centred upon a number of widely scattered bases. The American Methodists at Old Umtali, the Anglicans at St Augustine’s and the Mariannhill fathers at Triashill together produced Manyika; the Jesuits at Chishawasha, near Salisbury, produced Zezuru; the Dutch Reformed Church at Morgenster produced Karanga. Differences were exaggerated, obscuring the actual gradualism and homogeneity of the real situation. And once these new forms had been codified, they then expanded out from these missionary centres by means of the mission out-school networks until specific dialect zones had been defined. As Clement Martyn Doke, missionary and noted linguist, put it in 1931 in his report on Shona language and dialect:
Owing to the way in which Missionary work (and hence language study and literary production) has been developed in districts isolated one from the other, and Missionary Societies working independently, four distinct dialects have been pushed into prominence, viz., Karanga in the ‘Victoria Circle’, Zezuru in the ‘Salisbury Circle’, Manyika in Manicaland, and Ndau in Melsetter District. . . . The difference between the dialects has been grossly exaggerated by these artificial means . . .
For the sake of argument, let us suppose England to be a heathen country. Four distinct Missionary Societies commence work, one among the Cockneys, one among the University class, one in Yorkshire, and one in Devonshire. Each produces a translation into the ‘local’ vernacular, each further uses a different orthography and some split up their words into their component parts. What an enormous difference there would be between the four literary efforts; they would not be mutually understood.
It was not at all the original intention of the American Methodists to create a dialect. At first they thought they were reducing the language of all the ‘Mashona’ into written form. When Helen Springer produced the first vocabulary and handbook in 1906 she called the language ‘chiKaranga’ to emphasize its links with the recorded past of all the Shona. But inevitably the language work of the mission reflected the particular forms of the language spoken among the Manyika of Mutasa. Thus, wherever they worked in the American Methodist zone of influence, they produced Manyika. In 1909 Greeley was based at Mount Makomwe among the people of Chief Maranke, whom the Native Commissioner insisted was not Manyika. In his school, he had ’10 sons of the King [Maranke] and all are praying. I am diligently seeking after every possible heir to the throne.