Langa Khumalo is the Director of Language Planning and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Oslo (Norway), and an MPhil in Linguistics from Cambridge University (UK). He has been an invited speaker at various conferences and colloquia.

He is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society (FCCS), a Language Champion in the Oxford Global Languages program (OGL) for Oxford University Press (UK), an Associate of the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), a Board member of the African Association for Lexicography (Afrilex), and a member of the inaugural Executive Committee of the Digital Humanities in Southern Africa (DHASA), after serving for a year as its steering committee member.

He is also a member of the Language Policy Review Working Group appointed by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). He initiated and led the development of isiZulu National Corpus (INC) at UKZN to be the biggest corpus in African Languages. He scooped First Place in Verifiability, Reproducibility, and Working Description Award for a co-authored article, at the 17th International Conference on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics (CICLing 2016), which was held in Konya, Turkey from the 3rd to 9th of April 2016. He has recently been appointed to the SADC IKS Scientific Community of Practice and to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR), one of the new major research infrastructures recently announced by the Department of Science and Technology.

In the Media

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Language Matters@UKZN/Ezolimi@UKZN

UKZN establishing isiZulu as an academic language


Meet our community: Dr Langa Khumalo, isiZulu Language Champion


Langa has attended numerous conferences and colloquia, either as keynote speaker, invited plenary speaker or delegate. He is a member of different associations and professional bodies and has received numerous awards.


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2017 | Scientific Advisory Committee Member for SADiLaR

2016 | Oxford Global Languages isiZulu Language Champion

2016 | Member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Scuentific Community of Practice (CoP)

2015 | Member of the Higher Education Language Policy Review Working Group (DHET)

2015 | Present Exec Committe Member Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa

2014 | 2015 Steering Committee Member: Digital Humanities in South Africa

2000 | Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society (FCCS)

2002 | Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS)

2001 | 2003 Executive Committee Member: Linguistic Association of SADC Universities (LASU)

2004 | Member of the African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA)

2001 | Member of the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX)

2014 | AFRILEX Board Member

2001 | Member of the Linguistic Association of SADC Universities (LASU)

2012 | Member of the Philological Society, London, UK

2012 | Member of the University Language Board (UKZN)

2014 | Member of the Teaching and Learning Strategy Group (UKZN)


Invited Plenary Speaker

First International Conference of the Institute of Lifelong Learning and Development Studies, Chinhoyi University of Technology, CUT Hotel, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. - 02 – 05 August 2016

National Conference on Multilingualism in Higher Education. University of South Africa. -20-21 August 2015

8th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference. University of KwaZulu-Natal. -25-27 September 2014

Invited Keynote Speaker:

Fundani Centre for Higher Education Development, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, SARETEC Auditorium, Cape Town. 14 June 2016

A Seminar on Multilingualism in Higher Education. North West University, Potchefstroom. - 20 January 2016

A Conference on Multilingualism at NMMU. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. - 12 November 2015

Invited Speaker:

The Great Language Debate. University of South Africa. - 1 March 2016


2016 | Verifiability, Reproducibility, and Working Description Award - First Place - CICLing 2016

2012 | Mellon Senior Fellow, Rhodes University

2009 – 2010 | Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2005 | Fellow, Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS)

2005 – 2007 | Quota Scholarship, University of Oslo

2004 – 2005 | NUFU Scholarship, University of Oslo

1999 – 2000 | Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship, Cambridge University

2000 | Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust

1996 | University Book Prize - Master of Arts in African Languages and Literature Coursework and Examination. Awarded the M. A. Degree with Merit (University of Zimbabwe)

1995 | University Book Prize - B.A Honours Degree Coursework and Examination (University of Zimbabwe)

1993 | University Book Prize - B.A General Degree Coursework and Examination (University of Zimbabwe)


Research Projects

As the leader of the University Language Programme, I have initiated and led several exciting projects that have culminated in various publications (see publications), and in the development of isiZulu Human Language Technologies (HLTs). The major thrust of the language program is the building of an isiZulu National Corpus (INC), the creation of discipline specific terminology in isiZulu, and the development of a contemporary body of literature in isiZulu. Other language activities include the provision of training workshops, translation and (simultaneous) interpreting services, Sign Language advocacy, the Sesotho Bua Le Nna (Let’s Talk) Program, language research, and the development of computational tools.

A corpus is a meticulous collection of linguistic data, which can be either written texts or transcribed recorded speech that is then processed and stored in a computer. The corpus is used for various research (initiatives), as a basis for developing HLTs and for posterity. ULPDO is developing an isiZulu National Corpus as an important national resource. The Office is also involved in the creation of terminology for all scientific disciplines. To date we have completed terminology development processes in the following disciplines: Administration, Architecture, Anatomy, Criminology, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Law, Nursing Science, Physics, Psychology, Research, etc. The collection of language data and creation of vast amounts of terminology in various disciplines has led to the development of human language technologies to improve access to these resources.

The technologies that have been developed include the following:



Langa has published numerous peer reviewed articles and monographs


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35.) Khumalo, L. 2018. IsiNdebele. In The Social and Political History of Southern Africa’s Languages. Kamusella, T and Ndhlovu, F. (Eds.). 2018. Palgrave Macmillan: 101-117.

34.) Khumalo, L., Azom, V., Olukanmi, P. 2017. The design and implementation of a corpus management system for the isiZulu National Corpus.

33.) Chimhundu, H. Khumalo, L., Mpofu-Hamadziripi, N. 2017. African Lexicography, Terminology and Living Heritage: Impact of the ALLEX-CROBOL Projects. Kjelsvik, B., Ore, C-E., Vikør, L., Wetås, Å., and Worren, Dagfinn. (Eds.).

32.) Dhunpath, R., Amin N., Khumalo, L. (Eds.) 2017. Alternation: Advancing teaching innovation and research excellence in higher education. CSSALL, Durban.

31.) Keet, C.M. Xakaza, M., Khumalo, L. 2017. Verbalising OWL ontologies in isiZulu with Python. The Semantic Web: ESWC 2017 Satellite Events, Blomqvist, E et al. (Eds.). Springer LNCS vol. 10577, 59-64.

30.) Keet, C.M., Khumalo, L. 2017. Evaluation of the effects of a spellchecker on the intellectualization of isiZulu. Alternation, 24(2): 75-97.


1.) Ngubane S., Khumalo, L., Malambe G., Furvin, J. 2016. Ukubumbanisa kwezilimi zesiNguni: Imicabango engenziwa kanye namathuba akhona. Monograph Series No. 263. CASAS: Cape Town.

2.) Malambe, G., Khumalo, L., Hoza, M., Ngubane, S., Zulu, N., Mazibuko, G., Vilakati, S., Phiri, S., Madonsela, S., Nkomo, D., Gumede, G., Masilela, P., Madolo, Y., Gxowa-Dlayedwa, N. & Jokweni, M. 2013. A Unified Standard Orthography for Nguni Languages. Monograph Series No. 255. Cape Town: CASAS.

3.) Jokweni M., Ngubane, S.E., Khumalo, L., Kwetana, M., Nkosi, J., Sibanda, E., & Zindela, N. A Unified Standard Orthography for Nguni Languages: South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Monograph Series No. 30. CASAS: Cape Town.

4.) Banda, F; Mtenje, A., Miti, L., Chanda, V., Kamwendo, G., Ngunga, A., Liphola, M., Manuel, C., Khumalo, L. & Simango, S. 2003. A Unified Standard orthography for South-Central African Languages: Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia: Monography Series No. 11. CASAS: Cape Town.



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