Don’t ban Silozi on SABC

Don’t ban Silozi on SABC

24th February, 2021.

TO: The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies,

Ms. Stella T. Ndabeni-Abrahams,
The Director General

Department of Communication

The Spokesperson,

Department of Communication,

The SABC Chief Executive Officer,

Mr. Mxakwe Madoda,

SABC Spokesperson,

Ms. Mmoni Seapolelo,


We the people of Barotseland and others of your Silozi radio programmes listeners are PETITIONING your office to continue broadcasting Silozi programs on Channel Africa (SABC) as has been the case for Five (5) decades. We do so on the basis of information that you are considering to stop broadcasting in Silozi by April, 2021. This Petition will be signed by many other Silozi speaking people and delivered to you accordingly.

When Radio RSA was started on 1st May, 1966, and the years that followed, it brought on board a number of languages – Silozi being one of them as it is spoken not only in Zambia, but in Namibia, Botswana and Malawi. Ki-Swahili was dedicated to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Portuguese: Angola, Mozambique, Atlantic Ocean and West Africa. Chi-Nyanja: Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. This continued to be the case when the present day Channel Africa replaced the then Radio RSA in 1992. This Silozi speaking population is among the most long standing and loyal Channel Africa listeners and is also associated with Barotseland. It is associated with the greater Basotho-Batswana Bapedi cross border language group.

Our greater language group, including Silozi speakers’ population is over 25 million across Southern and Central Africa. This population includes:

i. Batswana (Western – Sotho),

ii. Bapedi (Northern Sotho),

iii. BaSotho (Southern Sotho),

iv. Bapulana (Eastern Sotho) and

v. Barotse/Malozi (Basotho in Barotseland -South Western Zambia

vi. Caprivi Strip – North Eastern Namibia – Chobe/Okavango

vii. Northern Botswana, and

viii. North Eastern Zimbabwe.

You may also wish to know a historical fact that King Lewanika the First of Barotseland was one of African Kings who were appointed to the Upper House as Honourary Presidents of the South African National Native Congress at its founding in 1912. Four decades later, during the struggle for South Aftica’s liberation the son of King Lewanika the First, Mbikusita Lewanika, as Founder President of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress, in 1951, hosted his counterpart, the South African National Congress President, Dr James Moroka, at Kitwe in Northern Rhodesia. As a testament of this broad and deep rooted relationship between this Silozi speaking population, President Nelson Mandela named his second Son Makgatho ‘Lewanika.’

South Africa has over 5 million Tswana speaking people and 4,723,000 Sotho speaking. Botswana has over 2 million Batswana and Lesotho also has around 2 million Basotho. Bapedi population is over 6 million. Barotse/Malozi population is over 3 million in Barotseland and its Central -Southern African Diaspora. Bapulana population is over 1 million. Long before Mfecane war Basotho had a great Kingdom in Southern Africa, Basotho had a good relationship with Masarwa (also known as Makwengo/Bushman).

Territories populated by Sotho- Pedi and Twana related people include Barotseland/Bulozi, Botswana, Limpompo, North West Province, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Guateng, Lesotho and Mpumalanga. Northern Sotho (Bapedi), Southern Sotho (Basotho), Bapulana, Barotse/Malozi and Batswana are from the same womb. We were spread out and divided by European encroachment from South the consequential Mfecane or Difecane or Lifecane crushes, and colonial envision spread from North, East, Central and West Africa

It was between 1830 and 1840 up to 1864 that a Sesotho speaking group under Sebitwane occupied BAROTSELAND and introduced Sesotho. This language that has evolved into Silozi widely spoken in Barotseland, Caprivi Strip in Namibia Chobe/Okavango in Botswana as well as some parts of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Barotse/Malozi are part of the Sotho-Pedi-Tswana language group of Southern and Africa.

In the early 19th Century they migrated north to Barotseland. They conquered the territory of the Luyana people and introduced their own Sesotho language. The combination of Luyana and Sesotho languages gave rise to the current Silozi language spoken by Barotse/Malozi people. In 1864, the Sotho led occupation regime was overthrown. However, from 1886 to 1913 Sesotho speaking teachers and evangelists were at the forefront of introducing reading and writing into Barotseland. These pioneer Teachers and Evangelists came from areas of Lesotho, Free State and Eastern Cape. This further reinforced the linguistic linkages between the Silozi speaking people and the rest of the Sesotho-Sepedi-Setswana language group.

WHEREAS all Barotse are united by one common Lingua Franca, SILOZI;

AND WHEREAS the SILOZI language is a marker of unity and identity in Barotseland diaspora

communities in Zimbabwe, Namibia (Caprivi Strip) Botswana and elsewhere;

AND WHEREAS, an integral part of Pan-African history SABC is distinguished by more than five (5) decades of cross border broadcasting in Silozi. This has been the case even before the 1994 liberation of South Africa. These advancements in Southern African liberation should retain and build upon cross border broadcasting services in Silozi.

FURTHERMORE by retaining broadcasting in Silozi, SABC would be continuing to lead by example towards achieving the goal of the International Year of Indigenous Languages declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations based on Resolution 71/178. This should be underscored by SABC continuing to give the much valued broadcasting services in Silozi.

In view of the foregoing, we hereby PETITION your good offices to continue broadcasting Silozi programs on Channel Africa to Silozi which is also spoken and understood in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Your continuing service in this regard shall be most appreciated.

People advised to ignore the donation but just sign if they are in support.

IBA has ordered all radio station in Barotseland to stop covering programs of Channel Africa but these station more so Radio LISELI,ran by Catholic covers main news of Znbc at 1pm.


Different traditional groups celebrated in welcoming the Chief Lubosi Imwiko 2 at his palace on Limulunga after a successful Kuomboka Ceremony, whereby the chief moves with all his belongings from his flooded palace in Lealui to another palace in Limulunga in Magu, North West of Zambia. 17/04/2010 Photo: Oupa Nkosi

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