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Shared Course Initiative


Nandipa Sipengane


Columbia contact person:

Christopher Kaiser



IsiZulu, commonly shortened to Zulu, is one of the 11 official languages spoken in South Africa. It falls under the Nguni group and is one of the Bantu languages and like other Bantu languages, Zulu is written using the Latin alphabet. The Zulu language is predominantly spoken in Kwazulu-Natal (eastern coastal region of South Africa) with approximately 12 million native speakers. Though Zulu is the native language of just one quarter of South Africa’s population, about half the country can speak and understand it, along with hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding regions.


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.