Shona, like most local businesses and brands is dying, it’s a fact. I could give you 100 reasons, but they’d all be summed up in one word…relevance. Shona is just not relevant anymore and understanding why, might just save your business from the same fate.
Being relevant means you matter.
When you don’t matter, you’re soon forgotten. And Shona, really…doesn’t matter much anymore. Now of course there are still a great deal many people who speak nothing but Shona, problem is, those sort of people (Zimbabwe’s rural citizens) are irrelevant too.
Sad but true.
I don’t mean they don’t matter as people, of course they do. I mean they have no influence, and influence has always determined who matters most. Besides their numbers come voting time, Zimbabwe’s rural folk exert very little, if any, influence in Zimbabwe and therefore they are often forgotten – always the followers, never leaders.
So why Is Shona not relevant anymore?
- The world is smaller than it used to be. To effectively communicate with others in this shrinking world, we need to speak languages that they understand…English being the most preferred, no one else speaks or even cares to learn Shona. If you’re still thinking that Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe are the only people you need to influence, your business is probably in trouble…but certainly destined only for small things.
- Even Among Shona People, Shona is not respected. Check for yourself and try writing your CV in Shona. No matter how impressive the Shona, and even if your potential employer understands the language, you’ve just disadvantaged yourself. In fact the more proficient you are seen to be in Shona, the less we trust your proficiency in English…and the less likely you’ll be to get the job, if it’s a good job.
- Nothing Important is written in Shona. Not really. EVERY national newspaper is in English, every company website or brochure, every business contract or document – everything, except for Health Education by some NGO’s, all English.
I could go on and on, Your favorite songs, TV shows and movies, Websites, books, the ‘best’ schools, the best jobs – all English based.
When I posted this thought on my Facebook wall, someone said “Rest In Peace Shona”, that was the general attitude. I was surprised that of the many comments, no one tried to present a case for preventing it. I guess, no one cares enough.
Is Your Business Like Shona?
Many businesses and local brands are dying for the same reasons Shona is. They are failing to be relevant
Using old technology, offering outdated solutions, thinking in old traditional ways, holding on to ideas that no longer work and of course, not marketing your business effectively…all these will lead to the death of your business.
Do you know what they market wants? Where it’s going? What forces are affecting the people you sell to? If you don’t, you may soon find yourself speaking a different language to the market you desperately need to influence. You’ll invest your time and money into things that don’t matter or won’t matter for long.
It reminds me of the money changes who, at one stage were making so much money on the street corners of Harare. Then, everything changed and instead of understanding the need to develop new skills and competencies, they kept doing the same thing until they just didn’t matter anymore. Until they were being completely ignored on the streets. They went from Heroes to Zeros because they didn’t understand the changes needed to remain relevant.
Stay smart. Be relevant.