French meets isiZulu in UKZN student’s new book

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Mongezi Bolofo
Mongezi Bolofo

A masters student from the University of KwaZulu-Natal has published a French-IsiZulu Manual of Conversations — the first of its kind book where French meets isiZulu.

Mongezi Bolofo collaborated with Dr Michel Lafon, a retired scholar of African languages.

The book also has an introduction to isiZulu grammar that will help Francophones to have access to isiZulu. It is a resource that will assist in isiZulu maximising its reach, said Bolofo.

The book has three aspects looking at a socio-historical introduction to isiZulu; a brief grammatical description of isiZulu, which itself is divided into a grammatical introduction to central aspects of the isiZulu system and some specific contrasts between French and isiZulu; and a compilation of short possible conversations that are organised by topics and situations which a visitor is likely to encounter.

“We believe it is much easier to learn a new language from one’s own or at least from a language one knows best.”
Mongezi Bolofo, Masters student

When working with Lafon as a research assistant, Bolofo proposed a small phrasebook to assist French speakers to learn isiZulu, leading to the publication.

“I engaged myself with this project because we had in mind many French speaking immigrants, most from countries in this continent, that made South Africa their home and would like to learn isiZulu for full social integration.

“We believe it is much easier to learn a new language from one’s own or at least from a language one knows best,” said Bolofo.

As a prospective language scholar and an activist, Bolofo believes that African languages should use a proactive approach into forming relationships with other languages.

“It is not fair to open access to indigenous languages in English only. We need to welcome people from all walks of life to learn our languages and get an opportunity to share and exchange culture and wisdom,” Bolofo said.

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