FEEL GOOD | Meet the woman who teaches children to read and write isiZulu and English via WhatsApp

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Community radio presenter, Gloria Mngadi. (Supplied)
Community radio presenter, Gloria Mngadi. (Supplied)
  • A Durban University of Technology alumni is teaching isiZulu and English to little children over WhatsApp.
  • She came up with the idea during the pandemic as a creative teaching method.
  • She says language is one of the most important parts of everyday life.

A Durban University of Technology alumni has taken teaching language out the box by implementing a WhatsApp group where she gives lessons on reading and writing in isiZulu and English to children. 

The 30-year-old language practice graduate, Gloria Thandekile Mngadi, has used innovation and creativity to have an impact on children, this even during a global pandemic.

"Ingosi yabantwana is a story telling group. It's where I am educating children through story telling. I am educating them about preserving language and to also know the languages, isiZulu and English. At school, in the English class you don't get a chance to interpret in your own language," she said this week.

Gloria Thandekile Mngadi teaches English and isiZu
Gloria Thandekile Mngadi teaches English and isiZulu through WhatsApp.

Mngadi said Covid-19 taught her to think of more innovative and impactful ways to teach children the importance of preserving their language as Africans.  

Mngadi, who hails from Ndwedwe, started the WhatsApp group called Ingosi Yabantwana, which means Children's Session, where she teaches little children how to read and write isiZulu and English.  

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Seeing that most people moved to online learning during lockdown, she conjured the idea of WhatsApp classes, saying they were "a lot cheaper and accessible to the disadvantage communities".

"My plan is to teach them at an early age, as language is the core of life and can open lots of opportunities. We use language in our daily lives. We also host face-to-face tutorial and monthly reading sessions," she said.  

Mngadi, who obtained her National Diploma in Language Practice at DUT in 2015, said she began offering the language services while she was still a student there.


She was selected to be an IsiZulu tutor, where she taught and encouraged fellow students to love and preserve their mother tongue.   

Speaking about her journey at DUT, Mngadi said she was blessed.

"I learnt a lot from DUT, especially being a Language Practice student. My highlight was attending the Friday Poetry sessions at Steve Biko campus. I used that platform to sharpen my poetry and writing skills. One of my achievements was being chosen to be a language tutor for isiZulu, teaching students isiZulu."

She also wrote her first children's book while still at DUT titled uMimi noZuzu Esikoleni, which was published in 2015. Last year, she also released a poetry anthology book.  

Through her foundation, the Gloria Thandekile Mngadi Foundation, she is also providing sanitary aids to her neighbouring communities during this difficult time of Covid-19. In both her company and foundation, Mngadi said her main challenge was obtaining funding. 

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