Tsoro-otso San Development Trust (TSDT)

Davy Ndlovu fought for the rights & language of the San communities in Zimbabwe. These are the original population of Zimbabwe who were marginalized. As hunter gathering communities, their livelihoods were viewed as poaching & illegal. They could not adapt to the new livelihoods, resulting in them being a source of cheap labor. They thus sank into extreme poverty as they were underpaid. They lost language & culture & their children never went to school. They had no access to land & other means for livelihoods. They were not recognized as citizens. Davy Ndlovu engaged in a brave campaign and now the country's constitution recognizes them as citizens. Language research has resulted in approved orthography & literature is developedcurriculum was approved, & schools set up. TSDT now part of the human rights commission representing the San. Children sent to school & communities are being trained. National anthem now in San language and govt has acknowledged them in policy pronouncements.


To get official recognition of the San communities as the indigenous population of Zimbabwe and fight for their development in general, improve access to education, revive their language that had only 11 speakers remaining, develop language orthography and literature, train educators on the language and develop the curriculum. gain recognition in the country's constitution and policies, ensure the development of livelihoods and asset accumulation.


1. Research was conducted for about 8 years. Davy Ndlovu lived among the San, not being paid, but collected and compiled their history.
2.Publishing: He published two books.
3. Lobbying public and private organizations to recognize the San communities and respond to their plight.
4. Providing financial support to educate the San children.
5. Fund raising, including the collection of old clothes as most of the San children and young adults went naked.


1. Living among the San for over 5 years. This helped him gain their trust and confident, resulting in them opening up and telling their story. This was complied into a publication entitled In Their own Words, The Story of the San Communities in Zimbabwe. This was the first detailed and accurate publication on the San in Zimbabwe. Language commemorations were done through the international mother language day celebrations. This got the San elders interested in sharing their lifestyle and culture with a foreigner.


1. Recognition of the San in the national constitution.
2. Language Revival: The San language now recognized as one of the 16 official languages of Zimbabwe. Language orthography now approved, school curriculum now approved, San children now being sent to school, and TSDT the organization of the San people of Zimbabwe is now part of the human rights commission thematic committees on minorities. Schools are being built in the San areas including facilities for Early Childhood development. New policy now recognizes the San as part of the country's ethnic groups.

Some web links:


A paper published:


Government first viewed this work as political. the issue of the San having been dispossessed of their land was very sensitive in a country that took away land from white farmers to give to landless blacks. Publishing the fact that the San were marginalized and totally left out was like a slap in the face. Local politicians began to see Davy as a threat to their own positions and began smear campaigns. Davy was abducted at night and taken into the bush where he remained for sometime. He was asked to surrender all information he had gathered and warned to stop all his work. His home was burned down and personal property was destroyed. He was summoned by the district Administrator and ordered to stop everything or face the consequences.

the other challenge was on how to fund all this work. He stayed at his rural home among the San and lived the way they did. He solicited for funds whenever he could. No budget, Small funds were given by individuals and companies, which he used wisely.


1. Perseverance pays.
2. Ordinary people committed to a mission can cause serious changes in their communities.
3. Entire communities and be forgotten if they do not receive appropriate external assistance to carve their own history and destiny.