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UBuntu Bridge at Somerset House Primary school inspiring young minds

UBuntu Bridge and Quite A White Ou were invited by Brenda Skelenge and Nina Wessels to Somerset House primary School on Tuesday the 21st of June 2016 to speak to the learners on the importance of learning Xhosa and other indigenous languages.

Makhosi sharing stories!

Watch some video snippets here:

Craig ‘Makhosi’ Charnock, the founder of UBuntu Bridge was the speaker for the day emphasizing that when learning isiXhosa, it opens doors to understanding isiZulu and other languages.  isiZulu being the most spoken mother-tongue language in South Africa.  How that creates opportunities for one not only to be able to engage with indigenous people but also opens your mind to learning about the different cultures we have in South Africa. Part of the talk was showcasing Quite A White Ou’s first music video track titled ‘Ndingumlungu’, which has more than 112 000 hits on YouTube.

We got the opportunity to teach the African handshake and the value of it when you are greeting people of any color as a sign respect to them. While the other learners sat and observed as Makhosi had two learners to demonstrate how its done, a few minutes later everyone had the opportunity to try the African handshake.  It was fun, interactive and the kids very much enjoyed it.

Teaching the African handshake!
Teaching the African handshake!

A few dances to the sounds of Mariam Makeba on the most popular song ‘igqiirha lendlela’ also known as ‘The click song’ were shared after teaching the kids the three clicking sounds of the Xhosa language, as represented by the letters Q, C, X.

Ma Brenda, Lee and Makhosi kickstarting Igqirha Lendlela (The Click Song)!

It was interesting to see how the kids had questions such as – if it was really him singing as though it was unbelievable that a white guy from Cape Town can speak Xhosa.  And this is important for us at UBuntu Bridge to remind people that if people who identify as black can speak English, then other white people (as classified by apartheid) should also make the afford of learning the basics or more of indigenous languages especially if that language is spoken by the vast majority of the people who are dominating in that county. The message with was that it is crucial that parents/adults to lead by example by learning these languages and encouraging our kids to speak indigenous languages (if possible) at home, school and making sure that their fellow black friends never feel ashamed of speaking their mother tongue (which happens especially in white dominating spaces where English happens to be their first language).  This was a great initiative by the Somerset House Primary School and we are happy to be part of such revolution.

Makhosi shared his story on how sad he was that he only realized later in his life the importance of speaking an indigenous language in South Africa and therefore was a bit harder for him to learn. However being at the school on this day gave him hope on the future of this county pertaining the next generation being able to speak Xhosa from a young age.

It was great fun and inspiring to be with such lovely and enthusiastic learners.  Siyabulela!


Makhosi fielding insightful questions from the inquisitive youngsters!
Meet Lee and hear his story! Click the image!
Kids practicing greetings and “the elbow touch”!
Some requested a hands-on handshake demo!
Queue’s for autographs and marriage proposals
Makhosi stumped by “Were you allowed on the railway tracks?”


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Somerset House’s Star Xhosa Pupil loving learning isiXhosa

Meet Lee!

At Somerset House Primary School when we were invited to do a talk (see full story here) on the importance of learning indigenous languages. And that’s where we met the amazing Lee.

A while back Quite A White Ou received a beautiful inspiring video of Lee singing one of his tracks ‘Ndingumlungu’, we met Lee at the school and it was such an amazing interaction between Lee and Quite A White Ou as they both were happy to finally met each other.

Watch his video below:

This was eye opening for us to meet this young man as it shows that we are making progress and that more and more young people in South Africa are interested in learning Xhosa and other indigenous languages. Meeting Lee is an encouragement to keep teaching and spreading the word on learning each others languages as well as our cultures.

Makhosi and Lee lead the hall in dancing to the click song
Makhosi and Lee lead the hall in dancing to the click song
High Fives!
High Fives!
Makhosi and Lee pull the secret Mlungu Handsign (oops, now it’s no longer a secret!)




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UBuntu Bridge South African Schools Vernacular Proposal 2016 and Beyond

 Proposal cover


Over the last 10 years UBuntu Bridge has been developing a vision around the issue of language diversity and continued cultural and economic segregation in South Africa.  We believe it addresses multiple issues in our society, and provides viable suggestions for solving them.

It has been based on  personal experience and journey of learning isiXhosa and other indigenous languages of South Africa as an adult, within cultural contexts of welcoming, supportive and enthusiastic communities, from eKasi (townships) to ezilalini (rural villages), from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo, and in between.

Camagu Makhosi!


UBuntu Bridge School Vernac Proposal




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African Language Learning in Schools Solution – School Xhosa

A PDF proposal was created in 2016 to provide a more visual vision. We remain unattached to whether we are involved as an organisation or not, but wish dearly for some sort of similar project to be implemented on a national level, for the good of our nation, and the youth of our country.


Download the PDF here:

African Language Learning in Schools – School Xhosa

Molweni, Sanibonani, Dumelang, Goeie Dag, Hello

If you are here, reading this, you probably:

a)   recognize the vital and urgent power of even basic African language learning, coupled with African cultural awareness, as a way to help forge a united nation and heal wounds from our past, relating to intercultural dynamic

b)   are concerned with how we can find a way to make it relevant, convenient and effective for young scholars (the future of this country) and adult learners.

For years the debate has raged, and as recently as this morning, we have seen the headline of the Cape Times proclaim that the new policy will require an extra hour to the school day, much to many teacher’s and learner’s dismay.  The issues have been unfolding, often with controversy, for some time!

Difficulty of African language teaching at schools

African languages have been taught at many ‘privileged’ schools (arguably where they are needed most) over the years and are beset by the following problems with profound consistency:

1)   lack of interest from learners (usually one or two white learners finish it for matric)

2)   although some of the best teachers can be found at some schools, many receive teaching from teachers who have not received training on how to teach their own language as a third language (an equivalent to TEFL – we refer to our methodology and teaching style as TXCL – teaching Xhosa as a Conversational language)

3)   old-fashioned course content, which focusses on deep, non-contemporary Xhosa, thus providing learners with very little practical reward (and thus erodes motivation and interest).

4)   grammar heavy learning, which results in scholars knowing the noun groups, but not how to greet and introduce in a way that facilitates relationship-building and enjoyment of the language.

5)   lack of cultural empathy and connection, thus reduced enthusiasm, respect and little authenticity to the learning process, something ‘white’ learners need, as language and ‘race’ issues in modern SA for whities is particularly about identity, shame/guilt, fear, arrogance, ignorance.

Vision in a Nutshell:Language Learning in SA is really about two things:

1.        PAST:  Respecting our local cultures, people and history, for proper reconciliation and healing of all our peoples!
2.         FUTURE:  Connecting our peoples across socio-economic divides, to build a nation to inspire the world, again!

Marketing and Motivation:  

Language learning needs to be popularised. 

  • It needs to compete with all the other interests and distractions out there!!  But it needs to be marketed via demonstration
  • videos, music, popular culture.
  • Once you have interest from learners, there are Three C’s you need to give learners:  
  • Confidence – materials and teaching methods that focus on practical essentials! ·    
  • Convenience – multi-platform and mobile learning tools, for adults with busy jobs and scholars with full curriculums!!
  • Cultural Context – immersion opportunities to authenticate the connection and learning process!

UBuntu Bridge has a 5-pointed plan

for the situation, which we have been building and testing for 7 years of teaching on corporate, govt, school, NGO, online and public learning platforms (since 2005):  

  1. Excellent and engaging materials and teaching methodology
  2. Fun and enrolling live teaching and tutoring
  3. Online, multimedia and mobile learning tools e.g. videos
  4. Online tutoring support
  5. Language and culture immersions in townships and rural villages (which stimulate local micro-enterprises)  

Please email for more information!

Demos of our Xhosa language and Culture learning Videos (demos below):

[easy-media med=”567,570,582,577,773,587,1188″ col=”2″ align=”none”]


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Upcoming Village Experience – April 2009

Feedback on December 2008 village experience:
“It was amazing! All went very well, I have no complaints. Kath & Sibongile are great teachers, thank you guys. I loved staying with the Matsoboyi family, they were really sweet and made me feel part of their family. Mdumbi is beautiful – kumnandi kakhulu ezilalini! The village experience has really inspired me to learn more isiXhosa. Enkosi kakhulu for a great experience.”
– Inge van Reenen –

With Kath, my cousin permanently up at Mdumbi (where there is great surfing), Village experiences are now available at your convenience, almost all of the time, so merely contact us.

I am considering hosting a journey to a Sangoma graduation ceremony in Mpondoland, followed by a coastal walk and then a short village stay. If you are interested, let me know. Dates will be around the 23rd April – 3rd May, 2009. More info in the next newsletter.

More info: (langauge tour link above)
Or email:

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Village Experience in April 2008

A group of adventurous Xhosa language learners spanning three generations and a 50% gender split successfully navigated the gentle rolling hills of the lali’s (rural villages).

Here are some pics and what they had to say:

“spending a week living and being in the village was incredible, i was completely amazed at how i was able to communicate and have real conversations with my family there – it has made me feel so much more confident in speaking and connected with South Africa and being South African. ” Lori Miller (Zuzeka)

uLori uhlala nosapho lwake (Lori sitting with her Xhosa family)

uLori utheza iinkuni (Lori fetching wood)

uLori uncokola namanye amantombazana (Lori chatting with other ladies)

“Thanks so much for an awesome experience. I am speaking only in Xhosa to my manufacturing staff now, and it greatly increases my enjoyment of communication with them”.  Ross Johnson

uRoss uselalini (Ross in the village)

uTessa nabantwana basekhaya (Tessa with the kids)


For more info on Village trips for school and other groups, click here: