Zulu (IsiZulu) Language
IsiZulu or Zulu is one of the official languages of South Africa. 10 million people speak the language and most of these people live in South Africa.
24% of South Africans, Zulu is considered to be their home language and 50% of the South Africa’s inhabitants understand the language. Zulu falls under the Nguni group and is one of the Bantu languages. Xhosa and Zulu are the only two languages mutually understandable. The Zulu nation came into existence around the 14th century. Although there are many Bantu migrants, back then Zulu language adopted many of the sounds that make up the language from the San and from the Khoi. The San and the Khoi were the first residents in South Africa. Evidence of this is the Zulu’s clicking consonants used in their language. Other indigenous languages before were all oral languages until missionaries from Europe arrived. This was the time Zulu became written - when missionaries that had arrived jotted down the interesting facts concerning this language using a Latin alphabet. The year was 1883, and this was the year the first book containing the Zulu language was produced - A Bible.
Other names in Zulu literature had included Oswald-Mbuyiseni Mtshali, Reginald Dhlomo and Benedict-Wallet Vilakazi. The mentioned novelists specialised in creating historically-based novels telling the life stories of known Zulu leaders - Dingane and Shaka (also known as Shaka Zulu). Zulu anthologies came into production in the year 1935 and in the later years with writers JC Dlamini, BWV Vilkazi and OEH Nxumalo. Written Zulu today is under Kwazulu Natal Zulu-Language Jurisdiction Board.
Zulu is now a language that has become wide spread in Africa. It is especially spoken in KwaZulu Natal, which is also known as “Land of-the Zulu”. The language can also be heard in Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Other countries in Africa where this language is spoken are Swaziland and Lesotho, which are also South Africa’s very close neighbours.
South African English has adopted many Zulu words into its vocabulary. Some of the words include ubantu (humanity), donga (ditch), indaba (conference) and muti (medicine). Two Zulu animal names are used in Standard English, and these are the Impala (proper name) and the Mamba (poisonous snake). If you are considering learning a South African language, Zulu would probably be suggested by many. The main reason is that the language is not difficult to understand and it is widely used and understood.
Did You Know?
There are 11 officially recognised languages, most of which are indigenous to South Africa. English is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any South African Hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House the service staff will speak to you in English.
24 hour reception and other
facilities only available at hotels?