By: Faeema Sader

The best way towards an integrated society is to learn and understand one anothers cultures, nuances and languages. Living in KZN means living in a province that is 80% Zulu speaking. Which is probably why I often find myself feeling left out of the conversation. One of my goals for this year was to learn a new language. There were no specifics and I hadn’t really thought about how I would make it happen. So of course when offered the opportunity to Learn isiZulu with Siyakhuluma Project, I jumped at it.

I began learning Xhosa when I was still a toddler. Our domestic worker was teaching me to converse with her in her language. I loved it, but sadly when we relocated those lessons came to a halt. My father, he speaks Zulu as though it’s his mother tongue. That’s one of the benefits of growing up in the farm in KZN. I always wished he would have spoken Zulu to me while I was growing up. Better yet while I was still learning to talk, so I could inherit the delightful way he enunciates every click and sound.

Not being able to speak and understand Zulu definitely puts you at a disadvantage in both social and business situations, no matter what sector you work in. Approximately 10 million people speak Zulu as a first language. That’s a rather large language barrier to hide behind. Zulu, Xhosa, Swati and Ndebele are collectively part of the Nguni languages, so learning Zulu will also make it a lot easier to understand and speak to people who speak any one of those languages.

Siyakhuluma Project is directed by Christo Spetsiotis who thougt up the project when he tried looking for classes and noticed that there was no accessible way of learning Zulu being offered in the Durban and surrounding areas.  The course is presented and taught by Ms Tholani Hlongwa who is a lecturer in the isiZulu discipline on UKZN Edgewood Campus. The Project aims to  provide an affordable and practical way to learn Zulu.

I’ve chosen to attend the Saturday classes, they are most convenient for me. However there are weekday classes as well and classes are in different areas around Durban so that you can choose one most convenient for you. Follow me on my journey and hopefully look forward to a follow up post with Zulu smatterings after I complete my course. For more info visit the website http://www.thesiyakhulumaproject.co.za/ or the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheSiyakhulumaProject/

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