Webinar Examines the Intellectualisation of isiZulu as an African Language
The College of Humanities in collaboration with the University Language Planning and Development Office hosted a symposium titled Promoting the Intellectualisation of isiZulu as an African Language.
The aim of the symposium was to present an overview of the UKZN Language Policy and for Divisions and Schools to share their experiences of its implementation.
The event was facilitated by Acting Director Professional Services in the College of Humanities, Dr Phumelele Zakwe with the keynote address delivered by Professor Sandile Songca, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.
Presenters included: Dr Phindile Dlamini (School of Arts); Dr Sally Frost (College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science); Ms Tracy Visser (Student Support Services, College of Humanities); Ms Aphelele Xulu (Libraries and Special Collections); Ms Denise O’Reilly (School of Applied Human Sciences); Mrs Melodious Sazise Ndlovu (School of Built Environment and Development Studies); and Mr Bhekani Dlamini (Corporate Relations).
Songca explained that UKZN’s Language Policy aligns with the national imperatives of language promotion at Universities and the promotion of indigenous languages in the country in business and scholarship as well as intellectual discourse.
Songca added that the policy is currently being reviewed as it has gone past its review date.
‘The national and UKZN policy are very close to one another. It is important for us to review our policy and enhance that alignment.’
Dr Dlamini noted that developing terminology is the first step in implementing the Language Policy. This includes introducing bilingual tutorials, developing terminology lists in Disciplines and translating doctoral abstracts, among other things.
‘We have a few students writing their research in isiZulu; unfortunately it is only students in the African Languages discipline and Education. Only one student from the College of Law and Management Studies has registered to write his PhD in isiZulu. We are hopeful that as time goes on, students from other Schools will write their PhDs and MAs in isiZulu.’
Dr Dlamini added that UKZN in collaboration with Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the University of Zululand (UniZulu) received a grant from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) with the main focus of intellectualising isiZulu.
Frost looked at developments within the Science Centre. ‘The current status in terms of correspondence, is that it is received and dispatched in English. In terms of teaching resources, the geology poster is in English and isiZulu. All other resources are currently in English. Signage for exhibits is in English and some is in isiZulu. For school visits, we always make sure that we have at least one isiZulu speaking demonstrator at hand.’
She said that the long-term goal is to translate the open source textbook of Geoscience across the globe and to translate all interactive exhibit signage.
Xulu explained that there are various library activities to support the use of the isiZulu language. ‘Some signs as well as some orientation sessions are in English and isiZulu. With the 2022 budget allocation, this could be extended to self-help videos and library account videos being translated.’
Dlamini noted that, ‘The Corporate Relations Division is constantly and gradually implementing isiZulu translation in its communication activities in terms of the University Language Policy.
‘In collaboration with the Language Planning Office there is a project to translate the University website. It is a very big project that will happen in phases.
‘In terms of our publications, we are planning to produce a full isiZulu version of NdabaOnline. Every week we have five articles in Ndaba translated into isiZulu. The Language Planning Office also provided a term bank which is a useful tool for our external freelance writers and our writers who are using it as a guide in terms of terminology.’
Dlamini added that the Media Liaison Unit also focuses on bilingual media channels for the University’s media relations and marketing. ‘We have established partnerships with Ilanga, Isolezwe and recently with Inanda FM and Vuma FM.’
Words: Sinoyolo Mahlasela