The use of previously marginalised languages in the country is expected to increase with the crafting of an Act on language rights in line with Section 6 of the constitution which provides for the recognition of 16 official languages,

Experts believe that the finalising the bill on language rights will enforce compliance.

Speaking at an International Conference on Languages organised by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) African Languages and Literature Department, law lecturer Dr Innocent Maja said both the state and citizens will be empowered to assert their language rights after the bill on languages become law.

UZ African Languages and Literature Department Chairperson, Dr Eventhough Ndlovu said government institutions and agencies now require a framework to enable them to fulfil obligations regarding the 16 official languages, while University of the Free State Department of Linguistics and Language Practice senior lecturer, Dr Munene Mwaniki said time and resources will be key in ensuring that language diversity becomes a reality.

Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa are the officially recognised languages of Zimbabwe.

ZBC has taken a leading role in promoting these languages with news bulletins running in 13 of the 16 languages.