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Why did we combine a Yoga retreat with a Xhosa language immersion?

by Craig Makhosi Charnock, UBuntu Bridge and YhoXhosa founder

Please note that this retreat is about learning Xhosa, and experiencing community in a different way. Any yoga, movement, or meditation classes are completely just an added option for participants, entirely optional and accessible for all levels! This is not a fancy yoga retreat! ???? Right, so ……

Yoga simply means union (or connection) through practice.

Any practice performed with a conscious intent to connect with our inner selves – whether through postures, breathing, acts of charity, studying of wise texts, surfing, singing or dancing – forges reunion with what was perceived to be separate and reminds us that we are actually One (Sibanye).

Separation is an experience of one layer of reality but the deeper truth is that we are more connected than we are separate. You can ask Einstein anyway. 😉

So what about the yoga of learning a language?

Bridges of Unity:
We were separated systematically by Apartheid (which literally means separation-ness) not just by skin-level visual symbols, but by language, allowing groups of people to become separated and divided by sight and sound.

Despite changes to legislation pertaining to race, language dynamics in South Africa are still a barrier between groups; a chasm and a separator. Status, education, privilege, success, superiority and dignity are bound up in language.

Inequality and disharmony are felt more strongly by those who do not speak the dominant languages and are more easily forgotten by others accustomed to their comforts and privileges.

If we do not build bridges and cross this language divide, the gaps in our society will continue to grow, and is that something we can really allow for our children?

Towards UBuntu:
UBuntu is an Nguni word that speaks to what it means to be human, and to the role and value of our relationships to a creator, to our ancestors, to nature, to family, friends, community, and ultimately to all the aspects of our Self.

As a language forms new synaptic and neural pathways in the brain, allowing a new way of being and of identifying, one can see more clearly through the veil of separation and difference that our society has imposed on us. Yoga practice has a similar effect.

Transformation & Belonging:
I have taught Xhosa in many contexts since 2006, following a personal calling and an intensive period spent in the rural villages learning Xhosa and connecting with the culture and ways of being of AmaXhosa.

I am deeply grateful to the people who welcomed and supported me there, across many different villages and hills, townships and cities, and UBuntu Bridge is entirely built upon the requests of others for me to continue this work.  

I attribute many positive transformations in myself, and my sense of belonging in and to South Africa, largely due to this process of learning indigenous languages and connecting as Mandela said, “to people’s hearts”. 

Community Invitation and Support:
Our presence in these villages brings income and joy to many of the local families, and in my personal capacity and as a collective, we have been invited on countless occasions to return.  By bringing culturally sensitive and respectful business to the doors of people, on their request, we are reversing the dynamics of old, and allowing people to create livelihood and prosperity without leaving their homes for the cities, or changing their culture, language, or way of life.

Improved Learning:`
Learning and health go hand in hand. Health allows learning and as we learn we make more healthy choices, opening our bodies, minds and hearts. By healing ourselves we heal our ancestors and the planet. It can be difficult work, but it is perhaps the most important and rewarding work we can do. Every ancient wisdom tradition offers glimmers of this truth and of the path to freedom, and so many of the answers we seek as a society have already been in existence for thousands of years. 

Together we Grow:
“To go quick, go alone. To go far, go together”,

as the oft quoted proverb goes.  Without doubt, it helps and is more fun to learn with others.  My journey of learning Xhosa has often been isolated, and at times lonely, often far from my home and the cultural comforts I grew up with.  

So it is with great excitement and gratitude that we look forward to welcoming you and sharing this journey, which gets easier, more fun and more influential, as more of us walk it.

Yho!! Xhosa!

Do let us know if you have any questions via comments below or email :)c

Craig Makhosi Charnock


Click here for the signup information page!

PLEASE NOTE: Bookings and early bird discounts are still available for group of 4 bookings until 19 May 2023, or by special request. 

P.S.  Need online course or coaching to improve your Xhosa?
Click here

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International Study Abroad Language Workshop

African language and culture workshop

The International Studies Abroad once again invited UBuntu Bridge to do our fun African language and culture workshop for their students. We were delighted 🙂

About ISA

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students the opportunity to explore the world. ISA’s mission is to provide high-quality education abroad opportunities to U.S. and Canadian university students at an affordable price. ISA offers students a wide range of academic settings, campus cultures and extracurricular options through an established network of reputable host institutions.

In addition to language courses, ISA provides on-site tutoring at select sites and the option to add an Intensive Month program prior to semester or summer programs to accelerate language acquisition. Students are also encouraged to adhere to the ISA Office Language Pledge by promising to only speak the host country language when interacting with staff and fellow students.

UBuntu Bridge’s role

ISA invited us for the third time around to come and facilitate the African language and culture workshop at their Cape Town offices in South Africa. This two and a half hour workshop gives an insight in a fun as well effective way to the Xhosa culture, the origin of the Xhosa people followed by teaching basics of the Xhosa language. Our aim really is to ready them for their first ever conversation in Xhosa, getting them confortable and confident with being able to know how to greet, introduce themselves and know the Xhosa clicks.

The clicks 

By this we hope the experience will open their minds and help build sustainable relationships that they could potentially have with the locals. We believe the best way to learn about a country and its people is through learning their language. And being in South Africa with eleven official languages one might think it’s too much but what we always advise people is to learn the language that’s being spoken where they are in South Africa.


The beauty of being in Cape Town and learning Xhosa is that once people start speaking Zulu, Swati, Ndebele you will recognize similar words to Xhosa and might even be able to understand and find it easy to learn those languages.  It’s a good challenge that if you take on you stand the chance of having a fulfilling, raw and beautiful experience of being in South Africa and its people.

Ibhasi & Umxhentso 


Feel free to contact us if you would like more information about our workshops!!

Shap Shap
Shap Shap

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UBuntu Bridge Dance Workshops at the Festival of Trees and eco week in Hogsback 2017!

The Hogsback Festival of Trees is a three day (22-24September 2017) eco friendly Festival that began in 2013 where hundreds of people gather to plant thousands of trees and grow more enchanted forests in the Amathole Mountains. The festival is hosted by Terra-Khaya “Earth Home Project” partnering with Greenpop to host the tree planting day.

The Festival of Trees opened on Friday night with a beautiful and moving Ceremony by Xhosa Traditional Healers.  Craig Charnock, founder of UBuntu Bridge, was invited to do the opening context for the ceremony, as well as do a motivational talk on his journey of bridging, building communities through language learning and teaching, much like his Ted Talk.  He spoke about the opportunity of being in Hogsback at the Amathole Mountains as a great chance for people to learn the local, indigenous language, when in indigenous lands and surrounded by the indigenous people.  Understanding our diversity and being part of a multicultural worldview is a gift that we should all take advantage of.

Afro Dance Workshop

On Saturday afternoon after we planted about 3000 trees people had the opportunity to celebrate by participate in our fun Afro Dance Workshop. We pride ourselves for making people have the most fun by learning the basics of Ibhasi also known as electric slide and Umxhentso (traditional Xhosa dance) to South African music.

Ibhasi is one of those dances that everyone should know, it’s a dance for everyone by everyone, together. It is normally enjoyed by both kids and adults sometimes its done at weddings, staff party, celebration etc. We teach Ibhasi because people learn to move together as a community, we learn from each other and sometimes you feel like a fool for getting a step wrong but as we have seen on many occasions people move on and continue dancing anyway (and that’s the fun part).  Much like learning a new language and getting the support you need to keep going.

Umxhentso is traditional Xhosa dance it’s performed as a way to connect and communicate with your ancestors. This dance gives you a sense of connection to the rhythm of Africa. It energizes you, a good workout for your legs and its really great fun!

Eco Week  daily Xhosa classes 25-29 September 2017

UBuntu Bridge was also invited to be part of this great initiative, where we offered isiXhosa daily classes for an hour.  The classes were affordable, fun and inspiring, and covered our materials in a more creative and advanced way.  In addition we would would like to encourage more people to take this opportunity next year at the Festival of Trees in Hogsback to stay for the eco week and join the amazing workshops offered. It was great joy to be able to teach in a beautiful environment with a stunning view from Terra- Khaya. We hope to see you next year in our daily Xhosa classes.

Image By Dana
Teaching greetings Image By Dana

About Terra Khaya

Off the beaten track, off the grid and off the hook, Terra-Khaya is a vibrant mountain-top sanctuary high in the hills of Hogsback. A warm welcome awaits wild wanderers, families and conscious explorers in our creative and comfy eco-lodge; built from nature, recycled materials and passion. Enjoy good times & healthy cooking in our permaculture paradise – run on renewable energy and vibrant community spirit.



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Bulungula Radio Project

After our trip in Hogsback at Terra-Khaya from the Festival of Trees, the UBuntu Bridge team drove towards the coast, heading to the Eastern Cape village of Bulungula/ Nqileni. Our purpose was to assist and support a local NPO, the Bulungula Incubator on their two newest exciting projects.

  1. Lazola Solani to assist in training and content production for their ‘Vibrant Villages’ Bulungula Radio Project.
  2. Opening of the Bulungula Collage in Xhora Mouth, with a Quite a White Ou performance

1.  Bulungula Radio Project

DJ MZU in Action:

The Bulungula Radio Project their newest project in this ‘Vibrant Villages’ programme area. Mzuzile has turned out to be a natural DJ talent! He has been creating much excitement with his great music content and lively radio presence. they can broadcast to all of the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area from the daily weather reports, theme music slots, and interviews are very popular. Mzu has been developing content from all the BI programme areas and will have regular weekly slots with discussion topics like: “The Importance of Early Childhood Care and Education”, “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher”, “Towards Zero-stunting”, “Excellent Small-scale Farming”, “Developing our Sports Leagues for young men and women”, “Developing a Healthy Lifestyle”, “Health in Pregnancy”.


We helped Mzu shape this programme and produce the show. Mzu also had the opportunity to interview Quite A White Ou in preparation for the big opening day of the Bulungula Collage the following day.

LISTEN to a clip from DJ Mzu’s Interview with QAWO (in isiXhosa).

Here is a video of their interview in the dark, after the lights failed, and dark storm broke out:

We are now working with BLG Radio and DJ Mzu to help raise funds for station development, and one of our first projects will be to create jingles and content for the station.

Lazola Solani, with her extensive community Radio experience and working with youth will be spear-heading the project with Bulungula Radio.


2.  Bulungula College 

Please see more information on the opening of the Bulungula College.  A dream and a magical day for the Bulungula village, after many years of having a high school that is more than a 2 hour walk which led to kids dropping out or never making it to high school. It was a rainy day and the ceremony was truly blessed.  Long live the new Bulungula College, Long live!

Opening ceremony for Bulungula Collage in Xhora Mouth,Bulungula


Quite A White Ou performed a song  ‘Ndingumlungu’ people loved it!!

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Quite A White Ou sings and dances for the people


The Bulungula Incubator is a non-profit organization established in 2007 although our work in the area began in 2004 with the establishment of the eco-sustainable and award winning community owned, Bulungula Lodge (  They are located in a remote rural area known as the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area which is based in the Mbhashe municipality on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. The Mbhashe municipality is one of the poorest and most beautiful in the country.  More info here:

Celebrations and TeamWork!

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The Heritage Day #SALanguageChallenge2017

#SALanguageChallenge Heritage Day 2017

Language has often divided people and language also has the potential of bringing us together.  Let’s celebrate our heritage by taking an action that empowers us and others at the same time!

We have put together this fun and motivating video and campaign in hope that we inspire you to join the challenge and learn a few phrases from a South African language of your choice.


STEP 1 Get a friend who speaks the language you want to learn then learn to say – My name is [insert name] + three phrases from that language.

STEP 2 Take a duo-selfie of you and your “friend” saying your 3 phrases.

 STEP 3 Post your video to our Facebook page: TheSouthAfricanLanguageChallenge or Tweet us our twitter handle is @UBuntuBridge

 Be sure to include the following hashtags




The language you are learning #IsiXhosa/ #IsiZulu #Afrikaans #SeSotho #SeTswana #Venda #Xitsonga #Seswati #English

FINALLY Tag/Challenge ten of your friends to do the same thing

FACEBOOK:  The South African Language Challenge – Heritage Day 2017


We will add to these with time, and our priority is to get you learning with others, asking each other for help.

But obviously when it comes to isiXhosa we have a Free online video course.  Subscribe here:


This a start/ build up to our big campaign in December 16 Reconciliation Day. Take part. Be part. Show you are bringing South Africa together.

All language companies and people interested in promoting language, we will be looking to partner with you.  Please let us know if keen to be involved and we will make contact in October!

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UBuntu Bridges’s New Beaded Bracelet Certification


We are excited to announce that our UB Certifi-Beads are finally here!

Level 1 & Level 2 (with the colour orange)
Level 1 & Level 2 (with the colour orange)

Certifi-Beads are our new visual form of beaded bracelet certification that motivate and inspire learning and speaking after a course.

Those who pass our assessments will receive a PDF or printed certificate as usual, but who needs a printed certificate for language proficiency? Language is forgotten if not used regularly!

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Recognise other students or language tutors

So for those who get an in-course specified %, will receive a beaded bracelet.By giving you the Certifi-Beads we congratulate you in style for being committed and dedicated in taking the first and most important step to learning the isiXhosa language.

To always remind you 🙂

Certifi-Beads are something you can take with you. And be able to recognize and connect with other fellow UBuntu Bridge Xhosa students and hopefully speak to each other. But most importantly we want them to function as a visual reminder to be proud of yourself, to encourage you to continue learning isiXhosa and speak with Xhosa speaking people around you.

It can also help you identify other learners, or mother tongue speakers in the organization you work (if they have volunteered as part of the “include-your-colleagues” learning option, in which we give a brief coaching workshop to mother-tongue colleagues who can then continue to support your language learning as an informal conversation coach, and making the language learning process part of the organizational culture).

Learning local languages is such a beautiful journey especially when done as an organization, community, group or society. Receiving support from UB and offering support to your fellow learning mates is essential.

UBuntu Bridge is always seeking effective, fun and creative ways to make African language learning something you want to keep doing for the rest of your life. Living in South Africa it is crucial that you are able to speak a local language. It is the most simple yet effective way of showing that you want to be part of the new South Africa; that you are taking a step to bettering communication with your fellow South Africans; that you understand that learning an African language is a way of bridging gaps that still continue to separate us in South Africa.

Made with love by hands appreciating your efforts of learning IsiXhosa.
Made with love by hands appreciating your efforts of learning IsiXhosa.

Let us know what you think and we are always open to new suggesting to make language learning easy for you.

Indlela nhle.

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Achievement Awards isiXhosa Course Complete

What keeps UBuntu Bridge somewhat afloat amidst our unfunded work in community development and reconciliation is the occasional opportunity to teach corporate clients.  We offer excellent corporate language training, courses, materials and team-building workshops to help adult learners in a corporate or organizational context become comfortable and confident in everyday conversations with their Xhosa speaking colleagues.

Below is an image of our latest group from Achievement Awards Group.  We are happy to announce their completion of our level 1 & 2 Confident isiXhosa Courses. Its always a beautiful journey to come to a space and teach people who are willing to learn and enthusiastic about starting to speak isiXhosa. The images can do the talking. 





These guys were absolutely amazing and a joy to teach.  Thank you Achievement Awards Group for having us and learning with us.

Our lessons are fun and engaging and perfectly suited to the needs of adult, employed learners, with the materials and the structure giving learners a number of opportunities to catch up if they miss a lesson.

If you would like us to come to your working space, please send us an email on or for any other enquires.

Siyabulela / We are grateful!

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Promoting multilingualism and diversity awareness for a better future at Ikamva Youth in Atlantis

Language Diversity & Reconciliation Workshop

On the 29th of October 2016 UBuntu Bridge was invited by IKamva Youth Atlantis Branch to run a team-building/confidence-boosting workshop with the theme of language and diversity awareness.

We needed to bridge language gaps in a fun and effective way that united the learners with the tutors on a common goal, which is to fulfill IKamva’s mandate:  IKamva supports school learners by connecting them with tutors from tertiary level education for them to ultimately access tertiary education and/or employment opportunities once they matriculate!

This 3 hour interactive workshop was held in Atlantis at one of the High schools in which IKamva Youth works.

The importance of language
Makhosi engaging with the kids on issues of language separation and diversity!

The importance of language

We had about 90 learners from different backgrounds who spoke the 3 main languages we have here in the Western Cape which are IsiXhosa, Afrikaans and English.  The main theme being the critical role of languages in South Africa, especially in secondary schools between the students and the tutors, and especially along cultural and linguistic and how it can impact on a learners education if they don’t have the right attitude that will see them through to tertiary and beyond.

Learn from each other

Our message was to make these learners understand the value of a number of different aspects relating to language:

1.  The importance of honouring and respecting their own languages, as pride in cultural and linguistic identity are important for confidence and self-esteem.  To actively demonstrate this, all the most important elements of what we taught during the container-building first hour of the workshop were done trilingually.

2.  The importance of learning each other’s languages (even if just conversational basics) as well as respecting and include (rather than exclude) those who speak languages different from their own.  After using experiential processes to reveal the common struggles they have around language, identity and confidence, as well as their concealed interests to learn each other’s languages, we introduced ways to teach each other their own languages, empowering them with tools to bridge gaps, whilst building their own skills.  We would like to expand this further, empowering them with teaching and language skills.

3.  The importance of learning and speaking English, which is obvious but still faces resistance, so more importantly, expanding their awareness, and empathy for each other through the workshop processes.  And thus helping them see the importance of supporting each other to gain confidence and proficiency in English through practice and encouragement, rather than shaming each other into shyness and silence.

English is needed nowadays to secure them a less challenging life once they reach tertiary level of their education. Language cannot be a barrier or burden to the education of our children whose mother tongue is not English, and for them to overcome the challenge of learning a language as complex and inconsistent as English, they need to not have additional barriers such as peer humiliation, shaming, or other internal resistances due to socio-economic and historical (apartheid) factors.

Because English is the language we are able to communicate in to understand people from all around the world and it is the business language in South Africa, but aware of our history and its legacy, it was important for these learners to know this:  their home language and those of others are still important.

We had great fun with the participants!  UBuntu Bridge’s facilitation and interventions are part of our professional and social mission to promote balanced transformation, multi-cultural and multi-lingual fluency, for a more united and prosperous South Africa!

Diversity awareness discussions
Diversity awareness discussions


About iKamva Youth

Ikamva Youth equips learners from disadvantaged communities with the knowledge, skills, networks and resources to access tertiary education and/or employment opportunities once they matriculate. IkamvaYouth aims to increase the collective skill level of the population, to grow the national knowledge base, and to replicate success in more communities. A non-profit organisation (established in 2003 and formally registered in 2004) with branches in five provinces in South Africa, IkamvaYouth currently operates in the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Eastern Cape.

Thank you Ikamva Youth for having us be part of your community in Atlantis.

Click to this link to watch a 20 sec video on the day- UBuntu Bridge with learners at IKamva Youth Atlantis

“Nelson Mandela once said; ‘without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations…’ We were glad that UBuntu Bridge could come and promote unity through language so that we can intensify the unity in realising the hopes and aspirations for the learners of the IkamvaYouth Atlantis branch. It has been refreshing to experience the change in perspective and thus making it a joy to watch more meaningful interaction at the branch. “ – Yanga Totyi, Atlantis Branch Coordinator

“There should definitely be more workshops such as this one held by Ubuntu Bridge at IkamvaYouth Atlantis. Learners or rather individuals need to broaden their perspectives on languages and different cultures. We can be so oblivious to language dynamics and it’s eye opening to see that you are not the only person who has a certain set of views about the difference in languages and cultures, especially considering the history and landscape of our country.” – Chante Van Der Merwe, Atlantis Tutor


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The Critical role of language and relationships in growing green economies.

UBuntu Bridge is proud of Craig Charnock to have been one of the 10 impact speakers at the 110% Green annual event#GrowingGreenEconomies. He spoke on ‘The critical role of language and relationships in growing green economies’.

“Alot of people are looking at the symptoms rather than dealing with the roots of the problem” – Human Relationships

Enkosi Makhosi


The video is coming soon !!!!


Green Eco


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LOKOH Laaties with UB inspiring our kids to grow up tri-lingual


On the 30th July 2016 Quite A white Ou with UBuntu Bridge were invited by LOKOH to be part of their very first LOKOH Laaities experience as volunteer facilitators.  This was an event for kids (with their parents) from all different backgrounds to engage them in all sort of fun stuff including laughing yoga, story telling, gardening, face painting, drawing and learning about the importance of different languages we have in South Africa but most importantly the ones we have here in the Western Cape.

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Preparing for some YOGA!!

Our main goal  as UBuntu Bridge was to ensure that the kids are inspired to grow up tri-lingual. We taught the kids (all under the age of 13) the different clicks we have in the Xhosa language.

Makhosi teaching the kids how to click!

It was great to see how easy the kids were able to adapt to the clicks sounds and in no time everyone was able to do the X, C and Q clicks, which are the three clicks found in isiXhosa and isiZulu.

Learning to say “thank you” in many languages!

We taught them how to introduce themselves in Xhosa, it was great fun to see these young ones having fun whilst learning this beautiful language.

The event was entertaining and educational the kids had fun.  It was indeed the ultimate family gathering were adults learned from the kids on how to let go and be open to learning new things with people they didn’t know at all.

Founded the year 2015 December LOKOH is a Lifestyle Brand providing a platform, network & community inspiring change, connection & empowerment on an individual and collective level.
They believe that regardless of age, experience or background, we must unite as one.  -“Like our vibe, join our tribe”

We had so much fun and if you would like to know more events that LOKOH has, be sure to check out their facebook page LOKOH 

Getting some help with our improvised poster for the day!!