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Department of African Languages

History of the Department of African Languages

The Department of African Languages is one of the oldest departments within the Faculty of Humanities. From humble beginnings in three rondavels, where it was initially housed with the Departments of Anthropology and Archaeology, it has grown into a vibrant and dynamic Department, focusing strongly on innovative research and dedicated teaching. Initially, only two languages were offered within the Department, i.e. Sepedi / Sesotho sa Leboa (Northern Sotho) and isiZulu (Zulu), but in the late eighties, Setswana (Tswana) was added to the languages being offered, with isiNdebele (Ndebele) (spoken in South Africa) following suit in 1997. Setswana has in the meantime been discontinued, but will hopefully be reinstated in the near future. This Department is one of the few universities in the country that offers isiNdebele at tertiary level. All the languages taught in the department can be studied up to doctoral level.