Arts Student Publishes French-isiZulu Manual of Conversations

Mr Mongezi Bolofo with his French-isiZulu Manual of Conversations.
Mr Mongezi Bolofo with his French-isiZulu Manual of Conversations.

Master of Arts student in isiZulu Studies Mr Mongezi Bolofo recently published a French-IsiZulu Manual of Conversations – a first of its kind work in which French meets isiZulu!

Bolofo collaborated with Dr Michel Lafon, a retired scholar of African languages, in producing the manual

‘The book also has an introduction to isiZulu grammar that will assist Francophones to gain access to the language. It is a resource that will assist isiZulu to extend its reach,’ said Bolofo.

The book contains 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 highlighting some specific contrasts between French and isiZulu; and a compilation of short possible conversations detailed under topics and situations a visitor may encounter.

When working with Lafon as a research assistant, Bolofo proposed a small phrase book to assist French speakers to learn isiZulu and this led to the publication. ‘I engaged myself with this project because we wanted to assist the many French-speaking immigrants – the majority from countries in Africa – who have made South Africa their home and want to learn isiZulu for full social integration. We believe it is much easier to learn a new language from one’s own language or at least from a language one knows best,’ said Bolofo.

As a prospective language scholar and an activist, Bolofo believes ‘African languages should use a proactive approach in forming relationships with other languages. It is not fair to open access to indigenous languages through 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.’

The book is accessible via: