African Languages

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The department exists since 1967 and has proudly taught and developed the African languages.

Undergraduate courses are offered in two channels, one for mother-tongue speakers (under the names Sepedi for speakers of Northern Sotho, and isiZulu for speakers of Zulu) and one channel for non-mother tongue speakers (under the names Northern Sotho, Zulu and the Communicative courses in Northern Sotho and Zu​lu).

These undergraduate courses deal with issues of pronunciation, phonetics and grammar, oral and written communication, cultural orientation, oral art, literature and many other aspects.​

Please note that as from 2012 only Zulu 1 and Northern Sotho 1 will be available to non-mother tongue students. A student who thus wants to study an African language up to 3rd year will have to switch to the mother tongue courses (isiZulu 2, 3 or Sepedi 2, 3).

The department also offers honours, masters and doctorate study programmes.​​


Why study IsiZulu/Sepedi?

There is a need for the promotion and preservation of African languages and culture in the 21st century. We live in a multicultural country therefore there is a need for multilingual education. African languages are also protected by the constitution therefore, promotion of their use in the institution of higher learning is imperative. Knowing your mother-tongue language gives one a sense of pride and it makes it easier to learn additional languages.

Possible careers include:

  • Translation and Interpreting
  • Editing and Proofreading
  • Language Advice
  • Lexicography (Dictionary compiler)
  • Education (Teacher/Lecturer/Curriculum developer/Subject advisor)
  • Drama and Arts
  • Broadcasting (Radio/Television)
  • Publishing
  • Creative Writing (Author)
  • Public Speaking
  • Storytelling

Majors and elective modules to combine with your major include:


  1. Language Practice
  2. Linguistics
  3. Communication and Media
  4. Psychology
  5. English
  6. Strategic Communication
  7. Philosophy
  8. Developmental Studies


  1. History
  2. Sociology
  3. Anthropology
  4. Social Work
  5. Public Management and Governance

Video African Languages