African languages as compulsory courses in KwaZulu Natal: Illusory initiative or inspired intervention?

  • Noleen S Turner
Keywords: African languages, language attitudes, University of KwaZulu-Natal, isiZulu additional language course, language policy


The point of departure in this article is the call by the Minister of Higher Education and Training in 2011 to introduce compulsory indigenous African language courses at tertiary institutions. The current language policy of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the practicalities and difficulties of introducing the compulsory course at tertiary level is examined. The current language policy of the present South African Government and the negative attitudes of potential African language learners at schools and universities are discussed and a recommendation made for a possible way forward.


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Author Biography

Noleen S Turner
Noleen Turner is an Associate Professor and current Academic head of the Discipline of African Languages at the University of KwaZulu Natal where she has been employed for the past 28 years (also formerly the University of Durban Westville before the amalgamation with the University of Natal). Her fields of expertise are oral studies, humour studies, onomastics, second language acquisition and sociolinguistics. She has extensive teaching experience in all these fields as well as in comparative linguisitics, morphology and phonology. She is currently researching the origin and history of names in the Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Park area as well as an ongoing Zulu bird name project. She is an active member of her university department and still continues to publish and present papers in her field.Email address: