Learn Zulu

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About Zulu

The Zulu language, also known as isiZulu, which incorporates click sounds, is spoken in the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. It has the highest number of native speakers of all of South Africa's 11 official languages, and is also spoken in Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique. It is closely related to Xhosa, Swati and Ndebele and speakers of all four languages can easily understand each other.

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Planet Earth

Where is it spoken?

South Africa

People Talking

Number of speakers


Family Tree

Language family





Fun facts — Zulu

  • The word Zulu means ’sky’ or ‘heaven’.
  • Zulu’s Latin alphabet was developed by Christian missionaries in the 19th century. Click sounds are represented by the letters c, q and x.
  • Nouns in the language are classified differently according to whether they're an animal, plant or human and this can change the way a sentence works.
  • The Zulu proverb 'ingwe idla ngamabala' - literally, 'a leopard eats by means of its spots' - means that everyone survives using his or her own specific talents.
  • 'Sawubona' is a common Zulu greeting and literally means 'we see you'.

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