Mopani Bans Local Languages At its Mines

Zambian miners walk out of a lift at Konkola Copper mine in Chililabombwe, Zambia.
Zambian miners walk out of a lift at Konkola Copper mine in Chililabombwe, Zambia.
MOPANI Copper Mines has ordered all employees to express themselves in fluent English within the company premises.

According to an internal memo to all employees dated October 13, 2014 and signed by chief executive officer, Danny Callow, the directive is with immediate effect.

“It is not good etiquette to converse in a language that others in a group cannot understand and I am asking everyone to immediately restrain from talking in their mother tongue when communicating (e-mail, meetings, walking in corridor, or in fact any time during working hours). If an employee or contractor is not fluent and able to converse in English, then they should not be working at Mopani. This notice must come into force with immediate effect,” read the notice.

Callow explained that Mopani was made up of a large multicultural group of employees.
“We can all learn from each other and that is what makes us a powerful team. For this reason the language of communication as per our company policy is English. There appears to be more occurrences of groups of employees communicating with each other and in meetings in their home language which is not always English. This contravenes company policy and must stop immediately,” he stated.

But the move has riled some workers who say it is an infringement on their right to communicate freely in the language they were familiar with.

When contacted to clarify whether the memo also covers such workers as cleaners and security guards, Mopani public relations manager, Caphas Sinyangwe, demanded a press query to which he did not respond by press time.

79 Responses to "Mopani Bans Local Languages At its Mines"

  1. IF NOT   October 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Now these so called investors are becoming silly. How can they ban employees from using their local languages? At the mine owned by chinese nationals they use their language in the presence of locals and likewise locals communicate in local languages esp Bemba. Despite not understanding their language one is able to tell whether they are gossiping or not. So Mopani mwaya sana nomba atase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Proud Bemba-4-Life   October 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      There is nothing wrong in speaking in your mother tongue. Most people who have been brought speaking in vernucular express themselves best in the language as opposed to english,Instead foreigners in Zambia should be encouraged to learn local languages!!

      This is bull sh!t aini… how can they ban indigenous laugages over aya BA MWISA?
      Never in a Trillion years would England ban English for yours or Germany ban German… which are their respected languages!!

  2. GIFT   October 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    i support Mopani with the move. some people are irritating. They think even in high class offices everyone is of their tribe.Let alone who for real can’t express himself or herself in English use local language and they will be assisted.At home you can use your language the way you want.Am happy the way my son communicates in English to me.

    • kweshako   October 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      r u of english origin yo self?y is it that these white folks want to make u deny yo own’s not all son’s that communicate to their papa’s using english.

    • kweshako   October 16, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      muchili mu colonial ba guy.wake up,after 50yrs u r still sleeping.

      • GIFT   October 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

        @ Kweshako you are still using English even on this platform,meaning you are also agreeing with me that English is easy to communicate in offices than any other…..

        • himself   October 16, 2014 at 8:35 pm

          Gift musula obe waumfwa chi kaboyi chaba sungu iwe

          • GIFT   October 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

            @Himself you are just showing how bad you were brought up.We are discussing a matter here and i have a right to my opinion. Therefore it is stupid for you to start insulting, kindly respect yourself mwana.i can as well insult you but my up bringing was excellent and i wont insult you.

    • Proud Bemba-4-Life   October 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm


    • Laso   October 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Ba gift muli bapuba

  3. Chief Of Grief   October 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    atase ba kolokombwa imwe.Mulete amafunde yamafi kumyesu.I remember those times I worked for some casino,i some how knew how to insult & tok panono mu chi Greek due to the fact that fyaletupela justice mu chitundu chabo even tho nalilaba nomba.Yes,its an exception mu ma high level meeting noti interaction nama fellow level workmates mu coffe room English ileba mandatory ba fikala imwe!!Kale twapoka ubuntungwa ba mustanina imwe!!50yrs of independence mulemona kwati kwangala aini?Futsek…tulekeni,useless minions of so called investors…….

    • Former Zambian   October 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Ati ubuntungwa…what have you got to show for it? Amashinsha yeka yeka— Independent id!ots!!

      • Chief Of Grief   October 17, 2014 at 3:09 pm

        Mukongo wobe chi former zed.Nga uchili ulechula lobe stanyoko pantu ifwe mambi tuli mu enjoyi.Just bcoz our beloved zed ile pita mumesho tekutila mashinsa iwe bwamba bwansoka.Forma ponyonyo ponyonyo,ukokwine uko motherphucker…..

  4. Noble Spear   October 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    This is zambia and not England; our countries are promoting their languages here some is doing the opposite.50yrs after independece colonial manners are still entertained atase!!!!!!!

  5. Trixy   October 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    As long as English is the official language in Zambia, I think it is just fair and just for Mr Callow to demand that it be used in office at all times. Up and until our languages are declared official, we cannot be using them in offices.

    • kweshako   October 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      come visit me in ma office.chi bemba ne chinyanja no vizungu.

    • GIFT   October 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      @Trixy i agree with you 100 per cent.English is the official language and is the only easy means of communication so far.Even in Parliament those who use their language which is not English are cautioned.Therefore not until some other languages are declared official, English remains official.

      • Kennedy   October 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

        There are 4 official languages in Zambia in case you have forgotten.

        • GIFT   October 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

          kikikikiki name them, you are making my day

          • I loVE BeMba   October 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm

            1. Bemba

  6. IF NOT   October 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    imwe most of these miners can literally express themselves in english. i see nothing wrong with them communicating in the language they are comfortable with. “When you go to Rome do what the Romans do”. Next bakamilesha nokulya ubwali ba mwisa.

  7. me   October 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    they ar idiots the think this is england

  8. kasantana   October 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    that is why muponena ichisungu ba kwindi imwe,nothing wrong

  9. Kennedy   October 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    This is a safety issue as well. Pa Mine bashimine baishiba ati “Vula, Vala” Chisa!

    Todays instructions.

    “Make sure you do the lock out procedure, isolate the compressed air lines, be careful of the ringfeed”. Then blast the draw point using 20kg anfex with a 100m detonator cord”

    Guys, I have been given instructions. Yaba! Shshshs! He used english let us just bast its already folo koloko.

  10. umuntu   October 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    is this our country or it belongs to others?
    if you do this an another country as investor, you get deported. are we docile?

  11. Tompwe   October 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    In fact foreigners should be banned from using their imported languages within Zambian offices!!
    Can you imagine a Zambian Engineer using Tonga in a Japanese office in Japan? He would have to learn Japanese first… Imwe

  12. I loVE BeMba   October 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    In short… when in Zambia do what the Zambian do or pack up and go where you came from!

    This is how foreigners brought their stoooooopid bible and their muzungu religon here. We had our own religon and our ancestors allowed them to change it for us. It’s pathetic!!

  13. Anso!!!   October 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Nga ni pano pa TUMFWEKO pafwaikapofye ICIBEMBA chekacheka!!!
    Would China change their languages in their offices for a few foreign workers, ai?

    This trend is being tried all over the African continient.. not only in Zambia if you allow it to happen you will lose your identity as a people.

    South Africans have more than 10 national languages and they are proud to speak them everywhere.

  14. IF NOT   October 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    To make matters worse chinese pipo have started introducing their language in certain schools, why cant they learn our languages here?

  15. First World Citizen   October 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    That will be your extinction as “Zedians”

    Political and linguistic repression over a period of 100 years nearly brought the death of the Hawaiian language. In the last 30 years though, a Hawaiian renaissance movement has helped revitalize the Hawaiian language. Hawaiian language activists and scholars are taking advantage of every possible tool to promote their language, including computers and the Internet. This article discusses the role of computing and online communications in Hawaiian language revitalization, focusing on the Leokï bulletin board system, the first BBS in the world fully based on an indigenous language.

  16. icon   October 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I for one icon.

    • Pure Zambian   October 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      nothing else in your pea sized brain uh?

  17. Pure Zambian   October 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Wow… discrimination of local Zambian languages by foreign workers!!!
    That’s unheard of. Ba mwisa GO BACK HOME if you do not like our wonderful languages!

  18. UMU BEMBA NKONKO   October 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Atase kwati nikusukulu,ma rabbish ayo naimwe.WHAT HAPPENED TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH!kutumpa uko Aba bemba batila “ubufumu buchindika umwine”

  19. Mulenga Umwina Lubemba   October 16, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I am in Botswana at Debtswana mine in Orapa. And it is all citswana langauge. Why can’t we emulate them??

  20. test@e   October 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    ubwafya naimwe bene. Bonse mulelemba fye mucingeleshi. abeni ba Mopani ati ifwe ni lulimi lwa ba mayo fye. heheheheheheheheeheh!

  21. jane mulembwe   October 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Ba zambia umusungu coming to decide for us and on top of that stealing our minerals,ba zambia mwasebana,colonialism is still alive for sure!

    • Mutundu Wanga ni Wanga   October 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      ala mwaba ubupuba mu Zambia!!!

  22. jane mulembwe   October 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    multralculture groups my ass,what percentage are the so called foreigners compared to our own,this crap only happens pa zed buti,where on earth can umusungu come to press us like a remote control,stand up for our rights where will you take the english language first of all,the job is digging for copper and i cant see the connection with using english,mafi yakwe cowal mwe

  23. Cholwe   October 16, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    The mine should even change its location, let it go to UK. This is zambia, languages brings us together as one.

  24. shilubemba   October 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Kwena inshimwenemo bubi mufintu balefwaya bamwisa,mwamona bane aba ebantu tuya mukubombela mucende babapela kubulashi kanshi kucita fintu balefwaya,nga cakuti balanda abati’bane bonse mwebabonfi besu mufwile ukulainda ubwamba pano pancito’ lyena ninshi baluba. Even in our home there are rules and law we have laid down to our children to follow,why? Because we want harmony and good flow of procedures. Lets be civilised. Brainnnnnnnn mwaaaaaaaaaaza reporting from chililabombwe.

    • jane mulembwe   October 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      kikikikikikikikik shilubemba walipena ,ati twende ubwamba kikikikiki ba zambia can do it when a white man convinces them that its normal to walk naked kikikkikiki

      • unfinished business   October 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        Firsty it’s the white man who introducted wearing clothes to you niggas… BUT today an Africans would kill another African just for walking around nude… the same way the white man found you when he arrived!!
        He took away most of your culture and gave you his religion, his god , his rejects…

        YES those rags you call “Salaula”

        and now he want to take away your mother tongue kolwe… and your only worry is walking around naked when you were born without a stitch on you….tsk tsk..

  25. Yongwe   October 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    On the 2-way radio and in offices etc yes but not when walking around talking to a colleague awe takwaba….GRZ …Sata were are you…the time you were in opposition this was going to be kafwafwa…!

    You should see how those Afrikaans speak….they will never,ever speak to each other in any other language….even in the company of other nationals…shame! This must be more explicit!

  26. mwech   October 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    In Bemba we say akanya kamo twabuke Bemba, meaning united we stand divided we fall. So no arguments let this company not to impose rules that will disadvatege some works. In high office yes it’s english language but outside anyone should choose de language to use provided communication takes place.

    • Intambi   October 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      you think they have bemba or nyanja in British offices? …why not encourage your own languages kamo fye iyabasungu!!

      Nge fitundu fyenu chaba shani? Imwe fyonse kukopela tamwaishiba ati bemba is a Supierior language ba fimbwi!!

      I hope tamwakatampe ukulanda icichoncholi mumaoffice naku mayanda ati e development ala bupuba!!!

  27. danny mwaba   October 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    whilst it may not necessarily be right,at times u wonder here at the police station in ndola,when a tonga is addressing 6 or 9 officers and maybe majority are tongas,he will change the language and starts speaking tonga,even lozis do this,very stupid and primitive,they forget that they are addressing different people from different tribes.

    • Trixy   October 17, 2014 at 10:36 am

      @Danny mwaba….Listen to me and listen very well…The problem we have in Zambia is that some people think their languages are more superior than others. If a tonga speaks to another tonga in tonga, then a bemba would come and say “Imwe mwatampa ukulanda muchakumwenu…”. If a lozi speaks to another lozi in lozi, a bemba will come and say “Imwe mwatampa ukulanda muchakumwenu..”. When a Luvale, Kachokwe, Nkoya, Lenje, Nyanja, etc speak to their fellow tribesmate in their languages, bembas most of the times attack them. But when a bemba speaks to another bemba in bemba, they expect everyone to keep quiet and accept it. This is not right. No tribe, no matter how small, would want to give up their tribe for another. Until this is sorted out and until the Government declares certain tribes as official, we have to continue using English in offices.

      • GIFT   October 17, 2014 at 11:34 am

        Very correct. Actually just today someone in interviews answered in his mother tongue to the surprise of the panel. i just looked down and felt bad for my brother because the man could not express himself correctly in English and he has been disqualified.

  28. shilubemba   October 16, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Kwena inshimwenemo bubi mufintu balefwaya bamwisa,mwamona bane aba ebantu tuya mukubombela mucende babapela kubulashi kanshi kucita fintu balefwaya,nga cakuti balanda abati’bane bonse mwebabonfi besu mufwile ukulainda ubwamba pano pancito’ lyena ninshi baluba. Even in our home there are rules and law we have laid down to our children to follow,why? Because we want harmony and good flow of procedures. Lets be civilised. Brainnnnnnnn mwaaaaaaaaaannza reporting from chililabombwe.

    • Namaste   October 16, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      You want to sale your identity in the name of ” civilization” Why can’t they “ba mwisa” learn your languages for a change..
      I speak Italian in Italy not english or chinese…pulizzzzzzzzzz

      Ask any foreigner in France what language is required to work there… again its French first!! Why do you niggas think english is better, are you English or is that England. Nangu mwalibelela iyaba kolonio masta benu

    • Jelita Mulenga   October 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      i do not blame your thinkin.. brain yobe mulilafye ba bombwe ba ku Chililabombwe!!

      You cannot even spell your own english name correctly .. finshi uchita pamugodi iwewine? Ebufutu ubo umfwa!!

      Make rules for foreginers to fit in.
      Not laws to fit the foreigners.


  29. shilubemba   October 16, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Jane bane apopena ninshi baluba kikikikiki.

  30. mwenge   October 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    sensible BOSS. keep it up, perhaps people will now be serious at work

    • unfinished business   October 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm


  31. Gillan Skills   October 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I think u’re not a zambian u kongole.If not u’re one of these inferio tribes who are not proud of themselves.

  32. Gillan Skills   October 17, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I Meant Gift Who Is Supporting Mopani.

  33. Greg Kadimba   October 17, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Danny callow and Gift YOU ARE MATHAFAKAZ!

  34. Toivo ya toivo   October 17, 2014 at 8:07 am

    what kind of bull crap is this , when you go study in russia or germany you will be forced to study their local languages…….youu yourself and other foreigners should learn lamba or bemba, c.belt at grade 12 the local language write is bemba.

  35. Aloysious kofya   October 17, 2014 at 8:12 am


  36. gile   October 17, 2014 at 8:14 am

    this is Zambia one Zambia one Nation, start with the president coz he loves his bemba thats why he has introduced zambian language again in schools so mopani go to hell

  37. njota   October 17, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Ma miners yaku south africa..the way they behave? cant compare..iyo ya NO local language in the corridors and when interacting bwana ni non starter…mu zed nimunchende…!CHALO CHESU

  38. BM   October 17, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Is English no longer the official language in Zambia? Help me understand why people are debating Mopani’s move.

    • Trixy   October 17, 2014 at 10:42 am

      BM I am also wondering…Infact I would have answered your question, but my answer would have caused some people here to spent sleepless nights for one year…so I will leave it….

    • ewa   October 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      It is but not mu corridor. Mopan ayitaya apo.

  39. Pingback: Zambia: Mopani Bans Local Languages At its Mines | Kwatu

  40. club zero   October 17, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Guys guys guys its not abt language it abt understand,better use the language which is comforable wit them,remember simu bank ni mine anything can

    • Trixy   October 17, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Oh? So these are casual workers? Thought the minimum qualification for any one employed to work in a serious company is Grade Twelve? If Mopani employed semi-literate people then they are not supposed to demand English to be used…..

  41. Keen Follower   October 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

    The policy is good, but, what destroys it is the manner in which it has been written. Appropriacy, where you must not only be grammatically correct but socially aswell, is very cardinal. If Mopani Mines knew my contacts, they could have asked me to write a memo which was going to be acceptable to all staff!

  42. Sim'z.   October 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Mwabepafye. Lekeni abantu balebomba!!!!!!

  43. Trixy   October 17, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Anyway I rest my case.

  44. chiz~man   October 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Bushe ichisungu echibomba iwe chikala?let the people xpres themselves in the language that simple and understanding.kkkkkkkkk ngani ku saube ninshi bayanapa strke!!!

  45. Aloysious kofya   October 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm


  46. john pipe   October 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    this is not new in Mopani. even in 2000 that memo was issued it worked well for the locals.

  47. Jony Tony   October 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Umuntu afuma kufyalo aisa mikanya ukubomfya icitundu cenu naimwe mwamumfwa. Teti fibombe kuli ine. Ndi mwina Zambia nshili wa ku caalo cimbi iyoo.

  48. nshilimubemba   October 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Landeni ichilimi chenu , uko mulefwaya konse uyu kose takwata amano , ale ibepa fye uyu chimbwi , kuti wapapa kuno balelesha abanabo ukulanda ichilimi chabo,ati mulesosafye ichisungu, ichi scot awe, ici walshi awe .

    • Honourable Katapula   October 17, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Why dnt u accept getting into GRADE ONE in the first place, why? LOOK at the origin of languages iwe. Its not your fault anyway, not to know that GOD made humans forget themselves. ulukasu, Shavelo, MATON,PIKI elyo na fimbi,,,……….twatotela………thank you…..

  49. African Man   October 18, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Who said slavery was abolished? Slavery has taken a new twist and this is exactly what is happening at Mopani

  50. kasantana   October 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Yes I fogetting to the tea to ten o’clock,sorry

    oh, man come to put the copper in an loader

    i understanding very good sir,i now i going

    elyo nomba abasungu bakaletuseka ati tatwaishiba ichisungu,pali ka trick apa