Unisa Offers Free Online Courses

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Unisa is offering free language lessons online. By taking these free online courses, you will be able to learn various African languages. 


Unisa has a new innovation where they offer free language lessons. You can benefit greatly from these lesson and learn several African languages from the comfort of your home.

This will enable you to learn some basic phrases in an African language with no fee attached. 

The University has set the course up in a way which will see you systematically work through the vocabulary relevant to a particular theme.

Which Languages Are Available?

  • Northern Sotho
  • Tswana
  • Zulu
  • Southern Sotho
  • Xhosa

Unisa has said:

The phrases that you will learn are relevant to South Africans who would like to acquire some basic skills in an African language. Learning a new language is always exciting and you will see that we have developed the course in a way that allows you to systematically work through the vocabulary relevant to a particular theme.

How To Sign Up For This Unisa Course

To sign up for these free lessons, you simply need to log onto the Unisa website, select the ‘Unisa Open’ tab and then the ‘OER @Unisa’ tab.

Then click on ‘Learn to speak an African Language’ and choose from the list of available lessons.

What are the differences between the languages?

There are so many similarities between the African languages that it is generally accepted that they all developed from some common proto-language form, known as Ur-Bantu. These languages are often still referred to as the "Bantu" languages.

It is important to remember that while the term "Bantu" fell into disrepute during the apartheid era when it was misapplied, it is nevertheless the most accepted term internationally. South Africa's African languages are divided into the following four main groups:

Themes Used For This Free Course At Unisa

When learning a language, Unisa has provided themes which are more like categories to learn different elements of the language. These themes are:

  • greetings and courtesies
  • asking for help, emergencies
  • numbers, days, months, quantities
  • question words, weather, seasons and time
  • banks, taxis and restaurants
  • transportation and finding your way
  • touring and socializing
  • at the filling station
  • the human body and ailments
  • shopping and sport

While doing the free online course at Unisa, you'll find that there is a video clip at the end of each theme showing the context in which the vocabulary can be used.

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