• Andy Chebanne
  • Joyce T. Mathangwane
  • Rose Letsholo-Tafila


The Kalanga language (or iKalanga a short form of TjiKalanga) is spoken in eastern Botswana and Western Zimbabwe. The Kalanga that is now spoken is based on the Lilima dialect (Ririma) that Doke (1930) considered sufficiently distant from Central Shona and therefore merited calling it a language on its own right. Together with Nambya and the extinct Talaunda, they are classified in Guthrie as Bantu Zone S10, which includes Shona. In Botswana, the Kalanga language has currently no official status, whereas in Zimbabwe it is considered one of the official national languages. All Kalanga language development efforts have been undertaken by missionaries and community associations. Presently literacy efforts and the Bible translation are based on the Ngatikwaleni Ikalanga – Manual for Writing Ikalanga as Spoken in Botswana. This manual was published in 1995 through the initiative of the Society for the Promotion of iKalanga Language and the Kalanga Bible Translation Project under the auspices of the Botswana Bible Society. In Zimbabwe where language use policies are liberal, the Kalanga Language and Cultural Development Association also pursues developments in literacy and promotion of the language for academic and public domains. The knowledge of the language remains oral and essentially stored in the memories of the older speakers. Varying community language development strategies in Botswana and Zimbabwe risk further marginalizing Kalanga as it will eventually lose its cross-border status.


Kalanga Western Shona Language marginalization Language development Botswana Zimbabwe 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy Chebanne
    • 1
  • Joyce T. Mathangwane
    • 1
  • Rose Letsholo-Tafila
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana

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