Why Study Zulu

There are many reasons for studying Zulu, including personal interest in southern African cultures, research interests and fulfillment of foreign language requirements.

In addition, Zulu has great political, cultural, historical and social importance in southern Africa.

Zulu spread throughout large areas of southern Africa; the language served as a tool for unifying the many ethnic groups found there.

Another advantage of studying Zulu is that it forms the basis for understanding the other Nguni languages.

If you can speak Zulu, you can invariably understand Swati, Ndebele and Xhosa.

Perhaps the most important reason to learn Zulu is, in a post-apartheid era, acquiring a global understanding of South Africa is of utmost importance.

During the apartheid era, many international companies severed their ties with South Africa. The dissolution of apartheid in 1994 brought about the lifting of sanctions, which opened the country to international business.

This resulted in a growing world-wide interest in the country, and today companies from all over the world invest millions of dollars in South Africa. Knowledge of Zulu would greatly benefit the many diplomats and foreign business people who live and work in South Africa.

Students studying at South African universities, many of which are located in primarily Zulu-speaking areas, also have a need to learn Zulu. Others who have a strong need to learn Zulu are missionaries, international aid workers and Peace Corps Volunteers. It is very difficult for these people to do their jobs without speaking a local language. Even the most rudimentary knowledge of Zulu can lead to openness and acceptance on the part of many South Africans.