A recent COVID-19 related conspiracy theory in Zimbabwe discouraged citizens to be vaccinated on the basis that one would start speaking in the Chinese language, probably Mandarine after being inoculated. But is Zimbabwe and the world not headed for the Chinese language already? It wouldn’t be a surprise to wake up one day with the world speaking Mandarine: Why? Because the Chinese economy is growing fast to take over the world economy. These are the reasons why Mandarin can take over as an official language in Zimbabwe and the world.
Trade between China and Zimbabwe has increased to US$ 1 billion in recent years. The African country witnessed imports from China growing from just below US$ 420 million in 2019 to US$470.73 million in 2020. Zimbabwe has also witnessed a US$445 million trade surplus by trading with China in 2018. Such statistics can force Zimbabweans to start considering learning Mandarin
Chinese Investments In Zimbabwe
Estimates show that China could have invested around US$ 10 billion into Zimbabwe in the past decade. This shows the interest the Chinese have in venturing into the African country. The Asians are targeting investments in mining, agriculture, construction, trade, and tourism. The Chinese have already shown interest in the Charter House in Harare as a hotel investment. Such investments may persuade there is a possibility that Zimbabwean citizens may end up considering learning Chinese.
Zimbabwe’s government has been contracting more and more Chinese companies for projects in the past decade. Chinese projects in Zimbabwe date back to the 1980s, soon after the African country’s independence, with the construction of the National Sports Stadium. The African country has also offered Chinese companies even military projects including constructing the US$ 98 million National Defence College. Not forgetting the US$ 140million parliament building project in Mount Hampden. Besides the US$ 4 billion stainless steel processing plant deal, Chinese companies like Tsingshan Global Holdings have also signed deals with Zimbabwean governments in energy production. It is possible therefore in the future that Zimbabwe will eventually introduce Mandarin in its education system to accommodate Chinese personnel working on government contracts.
There are already indications that China’s will to also export the Asian culture into Africa. At a continental level, culturalists are blaming westernization for eroding the African culture. Cultural dominance is real in Africa. The Chinese are also working on exporting their culture into Africa. The Asian economic giant has been holding training on its culture in African countries which have been certified China Ready. China says this is done for African countries to be able to receive Chinese visitors and tourists. Zimbabwe is also receiving such training. This is the clearest indication that one day in the future Zimbabwe may find itself having either replaced English or adopted both with Mandarin as official languages.
Zimbabwe and China created relations before independence with the Chinese assisting nationalist movements to acquire independence in Africa. Zimbabwe has maintained the relations made by nationalists movements during the war of independence to this date. The two countries have strengthened relations after Zimbabwe adopted the Look East Policy to thwart sanctions by western countries during the turn of the 21st century. Former President Robert Mugabe once called China Zimbabwe’s all weather friends. The current President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also continued maintaining relations with China. Continued relations with China may result in Zimbabwe adopting some Chinese culture and language too. There are already projects under way for Zimbabwe and China to share cultures as a way of either building of showing friendship.
Chinese Economic Growth
Generally, the Chinese economy has been growing fast and has attracted businesses around the world. Multinational companies are now operating from China where it is cheaper to manufacture products. Chinese manufactured products have taken over the world even in large economies like the United States of America (USA). Electrical goods on the Zimbabwean streets (mobile phones, televisions, computers etc) are mostly from China. The growth of the Chinese economic may force people around the world to start learning Chinese for business purposes. Mandarin is already the second most spoken language in the world after English.
Challenges to Learning Mandarin
Chinese language has however been generalised as one of the hard languages to learn. The Asian languages have their own alphabetical letters different from those used by western countries. This has deterred people from learning Mandarin.
English has also remained dominant language spoken in most countries around the world. The British queen’s language remains the communication way for all pilots around the world. This makes it hard for Mandarin to replace English.