Department of African Languages

Prof DE Mutasa (Shona)

College of Human Sciences
School of Arts
Department: African Languages
Tel: 012 429 8248


  • D litt et Phil in African Languages (University of South Africa, 2003) 

Fields of academic interests

Research interests

  • Language planning and policy – attitudes to language
  • Language policies enacted at independence
  • Shona literature and folklore – impact of traditional education
  • Language and diversity  in schools and universities 

Field of Specialisation

  • Shona linguistics and literature
  • Multilingualism and diversity
  • Language planning and policy
  • Language and migration 


  • 2010: Sekai Minda Tave Nayo   
  • 2008: (Editor) Teaching and administering in African Languages: a road map to    African renaissance
  • 2006: (Editor) African Languages in the 21st century
  • 2004: The Language Policy of South Africa: what do people say?
  • 2000: Nyambo dzeJoni  
  • 1999: Ongororo yaNziramasanga
  • 1997: Short story: 1997 Play it safe in The rainbow flute
  • UNISA Study guides written throughout the years. 

Journal articles

  • 2015 Mutasa, DE language policy implementation in South African universities vis-à-vis the speakers of indigenous African languages’ perception  in  Per Linguam: Journal of language learning. Vol 31,Issue 1 (2015).
  • 2015 Gora R and Mutasa, DE Impact of perception and attitude towards the study of African languages on human resource needs: a case for ZIMBABWE,Per Linguam: Journal of language learningVol 31,Issue 1 (2015).
  • 2015  Kayigema, JL  and Mutasa, DE Peculiarities of loanwords in Kinyarwanda noun class in Journal of Educational Research and Studies Vol. 3 (3), pp. 51-65, May, 2015.
  • 2014 Mutasa, DE Multilingual education in South African universities: A possibility or delusion. In SAJAL vol 34 (1) 2014.
  • 2014 Mutasa, DE. Language experiences of transnational migrants in the Southern African Context in Language Matters. Vol 45 (2) 2014.
  • 2014 Kayigema, J.L. and Mutasa, D.E. The cohabitation of three official languages in Post-genocide Rwanda: Kinyawaranda, English and French. In the   South African Journal of African Languages Vol. 34, no 2, 2014.
  • 2014 Charamba T and Mutasa DE Challenging the hegemony of English in  African education and literature: The case of Zimbabwe. In SAJAL Vol 34 (2).
  • 2014 Mpofu P. and Mutasa DE Language policy, linguistic hegemony and exclusion in the Zimbabwean print and broadcasting media. In SAJAL Vol 34 (2).
  • 2013 Charamba, T. and Mutasa DE 2013. Southern African Journal folklore Studies vol 23 (2) 2013.
  • 2013 Mutasa, D.E. 2012. The relationship between youth, development and language. In Commonwealth Youth and Development. Vol 10, no 2, 2012.
  • 2013 Muwati, I. Gambahaya, Z. and Mutasa, D.E. A potentially dystrophic era:Analysing the lyrical sociology of selected sungura songs in Zimbabwe in the 1990s and beyond. In Muziki, vol. 10. No. Sup 1. 20 Dec. 2013.    
  • 2013 Kadenge, M., Mhute, I. and Mutasa, D. E. Some syntactic and semantic aspects of Shona the South African Journal of African Languages Vol. 33, no1, 2013.
  • 2013 Chigidi, W. and Mutasa, D.E. The image of absence and the politics of naming in Shona war fiction. In Literator, Vol. 34.1.
  • 2012 Tembo, C. And Mutasa, D.E. Shona proverbial lore, agency and optimism. Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies Vol. 22 (2) December 2012.  
  • 2011 Muwati, I and Mutasa, DE. Representations of the body as contested terrain: The Zimbabwean liberation war novel and the politics of nation and nationalism. In SAJAL 31 (2) 2011.
  • 2011 Muwati, I. and Mutasa, DE. Restructuring the Gender Conceptual Matrix from an African-centered Perspective: Repudiating the Feminist Ontology In the Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies Volume 21 (2) 2011.
  • 2011 Mapara, J. and Mutasa, DE. Avoiding Potential Knowledge Death: Protecting Indigenous Knowledge in a Globalising World.  In the Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies Volume 21 (2) 2011
  • 2011 Mapara, Nyota and Mutasa.  Language as an expression of environmental appreciation: an analysis of Shona Toponyms in Mapara, Nyota and Mutasa, (eds.) 2011. Shona names as communication and description: a case of Manyika. Saarbrucken:VDM Verlag Dr Muller.
  • 2011 Muwati, I. and Mutasa, DE. The Zimbabwean Liberation-war Novel in Shona: An Analysis of the Symbolic Value of the Guerrilla as Legitimating Discourse of Nation. In Journal of Literary studies Vol 27 (3) Sept 2011. 
  • 2011 Kayigema, L.J. and Mutasa, D.E. 2011. ‘Allocation of loanwords into Kinyawaranda: specific areas of influence’ in  the South African Journal of African Languages Vol 31 (2) 2011.
  • 2010 Mutasa, D.E., Harford C. and Zivenge, W. ‘Tonga Phonology’ in  the South African Journal of African Languages Vol 30 (2) 2010.
  • 2010 Nyota, S. and Mutasa, D.E. 2010. A monograph: Elements and illocutions of Shona Advertising Texts: A Communications and Analytical Philosophy Models Approach. VDM Verlag DR Muller e.k.  ISBN 978-3-639-26011-3paperback, 64 pages.
  • 2010 The black writers' Shona novels of liberation war in Zimbabwe: an art that tells the truth of its day Literator 31 (2) 2010. Mutasa, DE  and Chigidi, WL.
  • 2010  Muwati, Mutasa and Bopape.Zimbabwean liberation war: contesting representations of nation and nationalism in historical fiction in Literator 31 (1)2010.
  • 2009 Mutasa, DE and Nyota, S. 2009 Oral innovation in the naming of Beerhalls and Recreational Centres in Zimbabwe. In the Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies Vol. 19 (1) July 2009.
  • 2009 Mapara, J. and Mutasa, D.E. 2009. Pre-colonial Zimbabwe as Depicted in (Nimrod M. Mutasa’s Nhume Yamambo. In  the Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies Vol. 19 (2) July 2009.
  • 2009 Purposeful naming of Beer halls in Zimbabwe. The Journal of Social Development in Africa. Vol 24 (1) 2009 (Mutasa, Nyota and Mapara).
  • 2009 Empowerment through literature: The case of Shona novels SAJAL 29 (1) (Mutasa and Mavesera)
  • 2008   Language and development perspectives from sub-Saharan Africa in the Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies 18 (2) 2008 (Mutasa and Magwa).
  • 2008 An analysis of selected Shona children’s songs: Philosophical perspectives on children’s development in Muziki Vol       5 (1) 2008 ( Mutasa and Muwati).
  • 2008 A Philosophical interpretation of the significance of oral forms in Mabasa’s novel Mapenzi (1999).   In Literator 29 (3) 2008 (Mutasa and Muwati).
  • 2008 The Communicative Impact of Shona Commercial Advertisements: A Speech Act Theory Analysis approach In NAWA Journal of Language and Communication Vol 2. No. 1, June 2008 pp 92 – 105. (Mutasa and Nyota).
  • 2008 Ngano: Teaching Environmental Education using the Shona Folktale in The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol 2 no 3 March 2008. Mutasa, Mapara and Nyota).
  • 2008. Mutasa, DE Strategies and models for mother-tongue Education in South Africa. In Teaching and administering in African Languages: a road map to African  renaissance. (a book) Pretoria: Simba guru Publishers (Mutasa - editor 2008).
  • 2006 Mutasa, DE African Languages in the 21st century: the main challenges.
  • 2007 Mutasa, DELanguage and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa an ARTICLE in  NAWA - Journal of Language and Communication.
  • 2002. Mutasa DE The Renaissance of African Languages: An Inevitable Enterprise?. In The South African  Journal of  African Languages.
  • 2001 Mutasa DE A turning point in the history of Shona: A review of the Shona Monolingual Dictionary: Duramanzwi. In The South African Journal of African Languages. 2001.
  • 2000 Mutasa DE, Language Policy and Language Practice in south Africa: An Uneasy Marriage, In Language Matters In The  South African Journal of African Languages. 2000
  • 1999 Mutasa DE; Allegory, Realism and Fantasy in Feso. In The South African Journal of African Languages
  • 1998 Mutasa DE The Proverb at the Present Time: The Sociolinguistic Approach In  the  Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies
  • 1997 Mutasa DE Modern Shona Poets and their art, in Language Matters 1997
  • 1996 Mutasa DE The Constraints on the Promotion of African Languages to the level of English, French or Portuguese. In The Linguistics Journal of Southern Africa (LSSA).
  • 1996 Mutasa DE Problems of standardizing spoken dialects. The Shona experience, in Language matters.  1996
  • 1996 Mutasa DE  Dialect versus standard, Working papers in African Languages University of Port Elizabeth
  • 1995 Mutasa DE The language situation in Zimbabwe with special reference to the sociological, orthographic and linguistic problems of minority language groups. In The Linguistics Journal of Southern Africa. (LSSA) 1995

Paper presentations

Conference proceedings:

  • 2004 Mutasa DE The Language Question in Africa in The Hawaii International Conference Proceedings
  • 2004 Mutasa DE The Renaissance of African Languages in Laud Linguistic Agency. University of Duisburg-Essen Germany.
  • 1994 Mutasa DE The Proverb at the Present Time: The Sociolinguistic Approach. In Oral Tradition and Transmission

Conference papers:

Forty one papers were presented in the following countries and cities at international conferences:

  • South Africa – many international conferences
  • Lesotho
  • Zimbabwe
  • Jamaica
  • Leiden - Holland
  • Hawaii - Honolulu (twice)
  • China -
  • Greece
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Australia
  • Illinois (twice) USA
  • San Francisco USA
  • Baton Rogué USA
  • Vancouver Canada
  • Norway
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland

Invited papers:

  • 2014 Language units as a strategy for effective language policy implementation: Unisa language services unit, a case in point. UNISA. South Africa.
  • 2010 Languages in the 21st century: the main challenges. International Conference on Multicultural discourses. Keynote - China
  • 2010 Challenges faced by researchers on the African continent. China
  • 2006 Teaching in African Languages in SA - invited by the Minister of Education South Africa  
  • 2005 Promotion of other tongues: (Invitation to Aardklop festival – panel discussion: Other participants  Prof Eloff, Principal of the university of the North West, his advisor, Prof Venter and Prof  Jansen, the Dean of Education at the University of Pretoria. South Africa
  • 2005 Promoting readership in our communities at the Writers Festival Durban, South Africa. 
  • 2004 The Renaissance of African Languages - Laud Linguistic Conference. University of Duisburg-Essen Germany.

Other presentations:

  • Poems read on radio in Zimbabwe
  • A discussion on Radio SA FM Talk Show explaining subject related concepts.  
  • A Debate: Preservation of African Languages  SA FM Talk Show   
  • African Languages in education a discussion on five regional radio stations in South Africa - Ikwekwezi; Ukhozi, etc.
  • UNISA Radio- Discussing Language matters
  • UNISA radio - marketing 

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • Literary award for a novel
  • ALASA Linguistics prize (co-winner) 


  • Book Project – Assisting budding writers
  • Project on attitudes to language  in education with the Departmental  community engagement team