Department of Applied Language Studies | Short Courses


Short Learning Programme (SLP) - FOR UNIVERSITY STAFF


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 and Nelson Mandela University by studying one of the native languages of the country!

Connect with isiXhosa speakers, staff and students, and discover a new paradigm to communicating with 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. This particular offering has been contextualised and customised for staff of Nelson Mandela University.


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, specific to Nelson Mandela University staff members:


Mode: Part-time

Duration: 7 weeks, part-time (2 weekday face-to-face sessions [12:30-14:00] weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Requires 4 hours weekly: 2 x 90-minute face-to-face session* + 1.5 hour self-paced learning

*Face-to-face sessions will be offered on North or South Campus.

Admission Requirements

A delegate:

  1. has to be older than 16;
  2. has to be employed currently by Nelson Mandela University;
  3. has to be able to communicate in the language of teaching and learning (LOTL) of this course; and,
  4. 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 80% 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 kindly follow the procedure that will be detailed via Memo.




What would you like to do?

If you have funding approval from HRD,

Apply to DALS