• Ndana Ndana
  • Andy Chebanne


Chiikuhane, also known as Subiya, is spoken in the Chobe District of Botswana. It belongs together with ThiMbukushu, RuGciriku and Totela in Bantu Zone K (Guthrie, Comparative Bantu: An introduction to the comparative linguistics and prehistory of the Bantu languages. 4 vols. Farnborough: Gregg Press, 1967–71; Maniacky, Contribution à l'étude des langues bantoues de la zone K: Analyse comparative et sous-groupements, Mémoire pour l’obtention du DEA de langues, littératures et sociétés, études bantoues. Paris: INALCO, 1997). However, RuGciriku, ThiMbukushu and Totela are distantly related to Chiikuhane (Subiya) in the sense that Chiikuhane and its related varieties have some phonological influences from Shiyeyi (Maniacky 1997). Both ThiMbukushu and Gciriku are mostly spoken in Namibia where they have a better sociocultural organization. Small as Chiikuhane may be, it is still dynamic, and the speakers have oral literature, dance and ethnic culture that make the language vibrant and easy to pass to the younger generation. As they are a majority in the Chobe District, their language is readily used in community and family circles. As such they still transmit a culture to the younger generation. Despite their relatively small population sizes, speakers of Chiikuhane are sufficiently organized culturally to maintain their languages’ viability in all domains except administrative domains. The current activities in cultural and orthography development, Bible translation and linguistic research and documentation make the language qualify for literacy development for children and adults. This chapter concludes that all these activities are what keep the language alive regardless of the non-supportive language use policy of the state.


Minority languages Bantu languages of Botswana Chiikuhane (Subiya) Bantu Zone R and K languages 



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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ndana Ndana
    • 1
  • Andy Chebanne
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana

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