Department of Applied Language Studies | Short Courses


Short Learning Programme (SLP)


About this course

Conversational isiXhosa is your gateway to accessing one of the most widely spoken languages in South Africa. If you have always listened to it being spoken and wished you understood what was being said, or felt the desire to communicate in isiXhosa, then this course is ideal.

No background knowledge is required by the delegate as the facilitator welcomes you into this new language and culture.

Add to the diversity of South Africa by studying one of its native languages!

Connect with isiXhosa speakers and discover a new paradigm to communicating with your colleagues and friends.


Who should attend?

This course is ideal for anyone wishing to enter the world of isiXhosa - with absolutely no background in the language.


How will this course help you?

Speaking an additional language will broaden your general sense of communication and how you relate to others. Learning to speak isiXhosa will allow you to connect and interact with a rich native language of South Africa - and develop stronger relationships with native speakers of isiXhosa through using a common comfortable language.


What will you learn?


Learning Outcomes

A delegate of this course should be able to:

  • do basic introductions;
  • speak isiXhosa in different situations: personal introductions,  transport, time, place & weather, answering telephone calls, and occupations & kinship;
  • apply verbal extensions and tenses;
  • write in isiXhosa using correct grammatical sentences and paragraphs; and,
  • pronounce words correctly.


The following will be covered in this course:

  • Greeting and using appropriate courtesies
  • Asking for help in various situations
  • Numbers, days, months and seasons in isiXhosa
  • Using question words to ask for quantities, weather situations and time
  • Conducting a dialogue in a bank, restaurant and retail environment
  • Asking for and giving directions
  • Responding to basic questions


How will this course be taught?

This course will be taught using face-to-face instruction and self-paced learning (readings, tasks and activities, and online/home-based learning). You will be welcomed into a small group of delegates and taught by a qualified and experienced facilitator.

The face-to-face sessions will be interactive and the facilitator will engage with all delegates. Group numbers will be kept to a minimum to ensure increased delegate engagement during facilitation. The facilitator will utilise the face-to-face sessions to present the course content and interact with you by completing class-based activities and tasks that will apply your knowledge.

Depending on the delivery mode of this course, you might also be given access to our online learning platform so that you have access to course resources and be able to complete certain activities. 

The primary language of teaching and learning (LOTL) of this course will be English (instruction), with occassional switching to isiXhosa for learning purposes.


How will you be assessed?

Continuous assessment will be given to participants throughout the course in the form of oral assessment and two written tests. The written tests will assess the grammar, spelling and vocabulary content of the course. The oral assessment will assess if delegates are able to communicate in isiXhosa in an acceptable manner in everyday situations.


Learning Support

Your learning will be supported by a qualified and experienced facilitator. A dedicated administrative assistant will be assigned to assist you with any administrative matters. A tutor will be assigned when group numbers are high and the facilitator requires assistance in supporting your learning.


How will this course be delivered?

This course can be offered in the following mode of delivery:


Mode A: Part-time

Duration: 10 weeks, part-time (2 weekday evening face-to-face sessions [17:30-19:00] weekly)

Requires 4 hours weekly: 2 x 90-minute face-to-face session* + 1 hour self-paced learning


*Face-to-face sessions will be offered at one of the University Port Elizabeth campuses unless arranged otherwise and stated explicitly.

Kindly check the provisional schedule to see if this course will be offered soon and the applicable mode of delivery.  If this course is not included in the schedule, you are still encouraged to apply.


Course Fee and Payment Details

The course fee is based on the mode of delivery:

R4000* - Mode A - Part-time

*This is an estimate and is based on delivery at one of the Port Elizabeth campuses.

You may pay for this course via the following methods:

  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Payment at the University cashiers

Kindly wait for provisional acceptance and a reference number before paying for this course.


Admission Requirements

A delegate:

  1. has to be older than 16;
  2. has to be able to communicate in the language of teaching and learning (LOTL) of this course; and,
  3. should have completed a relevant level of education deemed suitable for entry into this course (usually a high school qualification).

No prior knowledge is required for entry into this course.


Course Completion Requirements

In order to complete this course successfully, delegates have to attend the face-to-face sessions, complete assigned activities, and complete and submit the final course assessment.



This course has been accredited by the Unit of Continuing Education of the University in accordance with the regulations of the Council of Higher Education (CHE), South Africa.

Upon meeting the requirements and successfully completing this course, you will be awarded a Certificate issued by Nelson Mandela University.

Delegates who complete their courses online or via distance learning (where applicable) will receive both a digital and hardcopy of their certificates.

A certificate of completion will be awarded to delegates who attended the course and completed the final assessment.

A certificate of attendance will be awarded to delegates who attended at least 70% of the total notional hours of the course but did not complete the final assessment.


Suggested study path

Should you wish to study more than one DALS short course, then we recommend that you complete the following:

  1. Conversational isiXhosa (Level 1)
  2. Conversational isiXhosa - Level 2 (in development)
  3. Conversational isiXhosa - Level 3 (in development)


How to Apply

If you would like to apply, then simply check when this course might be scheduled for delivery and then click on the APPLY link.

If there is an upcoming scheduled offering and sufficient delegates have applied and been provisionally accepted, and your application is also successful, then you will receive a confirmation to pay and register for the course.

You will be required to pay the course fee within 5 business days of being provisionally accepted. 

The DALS SLP payment and cancellation policy applies.

You may also submit an enquiry with your expression of interest.  Should an opportunity arise, then you will be invited to apply.


Provisional Schedule

Kindly visit the SCHEDULE to see if this course will be offered soon.

If this course does not appear on the schedule, you are still encouraged to apply as it will be offered once the minimum number of delegates have been provisionally accepted and have confirmed their registration.

Applying and being provisionally accepted will reserve your space in one of our face-to-face groups.

Companies or organisations sending private groups (of at least 10 delegates in a single group) are not subjected to the provisional schedule. Special arrangements will be made for corporate registrations.

Other courses you might be interested in

You might be interested in the following courses:

See all the DALS Short Courses here.