HARARE: Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora has castigated social media users for distorting information on wrong IsiNdebele spellings and accused them of inciting tribalism in the country.

Responding to questions in the Senate on Thursday following the recent outrage over wrong Ndebele spellings on a Grade One IsiNdebele text book, Dr Dokora said the information on the textbook had been altered to broken IsiNdebele before it was posted on social media.

He dismissed allegations that the text book was authored by Shona speaking people who had no knowledge of the IsiNdebele language.

“Social media is distorting information, promoting tribalism and creating animosity among the people of Zimbabwe and the information they are giving is quite different from the book I am holding here. The cover of the book in question is written ‘Sekuthe Dlwe.’ Our experts informed us that there is nothing wrong with this. If you go to social media where this originated and is circulating, you will find that on this word ‘dlwe’ they added the letter ‘h’.

“To show you the misconception that the media has, they don’t mention the names of the authors but claim that they’re not Ndebele speaking people. The authors of these books are Maphosa, Ndudzo, Sebata Tumisani and Sigogo Nomalanga. That is the truth of the matter,” said Dr Dokora.

He urged members of the public to verify information first before spreading rumours and creating confusion in schools and the communities.

“I can say this is a rumour being spread by social media and we made investigations to know the truth. These books belong to a certain organisation and it was responsible for the writing up of those books. We have organisations which write these books and after that they are taken to our ministries.

“We have experts in our ministry who will inspect these books to assess if they can be used or not. When schools buy text books, they buy only those which are certified by this certifying department to be usable,” said Dr Dokora.