Embracing African languages as indispensable resources through the promotion of multilingualism

  • Nobuhle Ndimande-Hlongwa University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Hloniphani Ndebele University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: bilingualism, multilingualism, second language, African languages, resources.


This paper seeks to explore the potential significance of additive multilingualism in South Africa’s multilingual society. Additive multilingualism treasures the principle of equality among all 11 official languages. Therefore, our point of departure is the South African Constitution and various policy provisions that advocate for a multilingual mode of operation. The paper is premised upon the potential value of multilingualism that encompasses indigenous African languages and the view of language as a resource. This concurs with the language policy of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), which seeks to promote a multilingual society. Perceptions and experiences of a group of part-time LLB students regarding the learning of isiZulu as an additional language at UKZN were solicited in this study. The ‘language as a resource’ framework was employed as the theoretical approach of the study. The study established an acknowledgement of the resourcefulness of isiZulu as instrumental in fostering social cohesion, breaking communication barriers, and dispelling misconceptions about the value of these languages. 


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Author Biographies

Nobuhle Ndimande-Hlongwa, University of KwaZulu-Natal
No bio details provided
Hloniphani Ndebele, University of KwaZulu-Natal
I am currently a post-doctoral scholar in the African Languages Cluster, School of Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal