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Shared Course Initiative


Nandipa Sipengane


SCI/Columbia Contact Person:

Vera Felder



Zulu (also known as IsiZulu) is one of the 11 official languages spoken in South Africa.  It falls under the Nguni group of the Bantu languages and like other Bantu languages, it is written using the Latin alphabet. The Zulu language is predominantly spoken in Kwazulu-Natal (eastern coastal region of South Africa) and in other provinces like Free-State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Eastern and Western Cape. There is also a significant number of Zulu speakers in other Southern African regions such as Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, and Malawi.  This course introduces the Zulu language and culture while reinforcing speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.


Ubuntu’ is a cornerstone of the isiZulu language and culture

Ubuntu, meaning compassion or humanity, has become one of the words most representative of South African culture, and is taken directly from isiZulu. The word embodies the country’s spirit of oneness and compassion between individuals for one anotherLinnternsjo.Wordpress.com

Course Description:

This course takes an integrated approach to language learning, engaging students in simple conversations, as well as listening, pronunciation, reading, writing and grammar activities. It gradually introduces students to more complex grammatical structures and deeper understanding of culture, while emphasizing fluency in all language learning skills.

Zulu is taught by Professor Nandipa Sipengane at Yale and comes to Columbia through the Shared Course Initiative. Please contact Christopher Kaiser, the Program Manager of the Shared Course Initiative, for more information.

Taking courses in isiZulu will allow you to fulfill the language requirement at Columbia.

Please check the Columbia Directory of Classes for the latest information on class times and locations.