Zulu is the native language of the Zulu people, spoken predominantly in South Africa where it is an official language, but also in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Suppressed for many years under the official policy of racial separation known as apartheid, Zulu is now becoming a major language on the eastern coast of South Africa and a significant language on the African continent. The skills demonstrated by mastery of less commonly taught languages such as Zulu are valuable to employers and graduate programs, and fluency in Zulu itself is sought by government agencies and international non-governmental organizations.

Zulu classes at UW-Madison are small. Our students are eligible for highly competitive undergraduate Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships that cover partial tuition and provide a stipend.


African 335: First Semester-A Language of Southern Africa – Zulu (fall only)
African 336: Second Semester-A Language of Southern Africa – Zulu (spring only)
We may offer third and fourth semesters if there is interest.

If you have prior experience with Zulu, please contact Andrew Bartsch (apbartsch@wisc.edu) for enrollment guidance.

Hear from former students

“I studied Zulu at the UW a few years back. It was the most rewarding educational experience of my life. Not only did I learn a different language, I also learned history that we never touched on in any of my world history classes! The connections and friends I made while studying Zulu have enriched my life in so many ways. I highly recommend it to everyone.”
– Rose Yahnke

“Zulu has enriched my life in so many ways. Francis, my first year Zulu teacher, gave my daughter a Zulu name. We thought it was beautiful, so now she has a Zulu middle name. In addition, studying Zulu helped me to realize what it is that I want to do with my life, which is to collect recordings of endangered Bantu languages and work on Proto-Bantu.”

Student Projects

Check out Student Projects completed by our past Zulu students!

Featured Project: Title unknown

Campus Opportunities

Study Abroad Opportunities

UW-Madison offers juniors and seniors study abroad opportunities at the University of Cape Town in South Africa for the fall and spring terms, the academic year, and the calendar year (February to December). Students on these programs have varied curricular options at a rigorous institution and live in an extraordinarily cosmopolitan city. In addition, students of anthropology and archeology have the opportunity to study human history and evolution and participate in fieldwork, lectures and workshops with internationally recognized paleoanthropologists during the summer in Swartkrans, South Africa. For more information, visit the Study Abroad website.  Consult our Majors Advising Page for more information about your academic plans and study abroad.

Weekly Conversation Tables

Make sure to check our calendar for Language Tables each semester!

Members of the public are welcome. Please check with Katrina Daly Thompson for updates.