Alternation Journal Publication Call for Papers


Special Issue: Intellectualisation of African Languages in Higher Education Institutions as a Strategy for Decolonisation and Transformation


(Sponsored by the National Institute of the Human and Social Sciences)


Editor-in-Chief: Prof JA Smit (UKZN)

Associate Editor: Prof N Ndimande-Hlongwa


Guest Editors


Surname: Ndimande-Hlongwa

Name: Nobuhle

Institutional Affiliation: Dean and Head, School of Arts: College of Humanities - UKZN

Email address:

Mobile: 083 3390937


Surname: Ndebele

Name: Hloniphani

Institutional Affiliation: Senior Lecturer: University of Free State


Mobile: 0745553109


Surname: Zibane

Name: Sibonsile

Institutional Affiliation: Senior Lecturer and the Academic Leader for Social Work School of Applied Human Sciences, UKZN


Mobile: 0836422298


Brief Description of the Theme


The theme of this special issue is linked to the broad context of decolonization and transformation of the curriculum in the South African Higher Education context. South African higher education has made significant strides in addressing the issue of African languages as languages of teaching and learning as well as for knowledge production.


South African history is characterised by inequalities evidenced in various domains of life, resulting from the marginalisation of the black majority under the colonial and later apartheid systems. Higher education was not spared in this marginalisation as a result of political, economic and social inequalities, based on gender, class and race, that influenced the nature of institutions and in some instances continue to influence this domain in the democratic era.


It is important to highlight that the democratic era created a serious demand for significant social transformation through legislation (Ndebele & Ndimande-Hlongwa 2019). According to the ‘Report on the Use of African Languages as Mediums of Instruction in Higher Education’ (DHET 2015: 20), the legislative framework that applies to South African higher education emphasises transformation in key areas that include


multilingualism, equity in participation by all acquiring and producing knowledge in higher education, ensuring equitable success for all, non-discrimination in access, redress of past political injustices, and social cohesion.


The intellectualisation of African languages has become a necessity that falls directly within the paradigm of policy implementation (Kaschula & Maseko, 2017). This therefore means that the availability of a clear policy framework can more likely lead to successful language intellectu-alisation.


The promotion of African languages in higher education is also enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) which confers on all, the right to quality education. The various languages are critical in the development of relevant, quality a curriculum, that reflects the realities of the people of the African continent. Disciplines such as Psychology and Social Work, in particular, are largely entrenched in the Western discourse, and as such, the concepts reflect the realities of the European/ American population. Some of the concepts lack meaning and are at times coined, using a name of a person, and such words often hide the meaning of the word and can result in misunderstanding of the original meaning of the concept. It is, therefore, critical to deconstruct and reconstruct the meaning of the concepts such that they become meaningful and accessible to facilitate competence and effective service delivery when students graduate, and enter the professions.


Intellectualisation is a developing concept that was championed by Sibayan and Gonzalez (1995) and Sibayan (1999). The first South African scholars to raise the issue of intellectualisation were Finlayson and Madiba (2002). It was further developed by Alexander (2005). Kaschula and Maseko (2017) have also worked in the area and argue that the concept requires refinement on an ongoing basis and requires interventionsfor both mother tongue and second languages.


Intellectualisation of African languages is important to ensure quality education that empowers learners to be producers and consumers of knowledge that acknowledges diversity and the need to understand the worldviews of others, while encouraging rootedness in one’s own culture (Maseko & Wolff, 2017). One result of the disuse of African indigenous languages in education, and the devaluation of the knowledge embodied in these languages, is the positioning of Africa as a receiver rather than a contributor of knowledge.


This issue empowers towards the production of knowledge in indigenous languages.


The theme has the following sub-themes:

  1. Curriculum transformation in Higher Education.
  2. Strategies for intellectualizing African indigenous languages in Higher Education.
  3. African indigenous languages and gender-based violence.
  4. African indigenous languages and social justice in South Africa.
  5. African indigenous languages and the right to education in South Africa.
  6. African languages and Indigenous Knowledge Systems.


Placing the theme in wider context


The theme can be situated in the following wider academic and political contexts:

  1. UKZN as a premier university of African scholarship: the theme and sub-themes of the special issue are in line with the research flagship of social cohesion.


  1. Transformation and Decolonization: there is a need to turn African languages into tools of political, social and economic transformation in the post-apartheid era. On the issue of Decolonization, arguments presented by scholars such as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (1986), Paul Zeleza (2006), Molefi Kete Asante (1990, 2009, 2011) and Francis Myanjoh (2021), are critical to this theme.


  1. At the continental level, the African Union (AU), through its language organ called ACALAN, aspires ‘to ensure the development and promotion of African languages as factors of African integration and development, of respect for values and mutual understanding, and peace’. The theme and sub-themes will enable contributors to reflect on these AU aspirations.


Submissions are invited from all the collaborators in the NIHSS project and scholars working in the area of the intellectualization of African languages.


28 September 2021                     – Deadline for submission of topics and abstracts            

30 September 2021                     – Final date for acceptance of topics and abstracts

22 October 2021                          – Submission of accepted papers

25 October -26 November 2021 – Peer review process

31 December 2021                       – Publication


Submissions must be done to any of the editors and then cc the other two.

Author Guidelines


Manuscripts must be submitted in isiZulu with abstracts in both English and isiZulu. If quotations from other languages appear in the manuscript, place the original in a footnote and a dynamic-equivalent translation in the body of the text or both in the text.


Contributors must submit one computer-generated copy of the manuscript to the editor(s). The computer-generated copy must be in Word for Windows, and must have an Abstract and Keywords. It must also be submitted in the Alternation style. 


Attach a cover page containing the following information: The corresponding author’s full name, address, e-mail address, position, department, university/ institution, and telephone/ fax numbers. A brief 150 word summary of the biodata of each individual author, must accompany each submission too.


Manuscripts should on average range between 5000-10000 and book reviews between 800-1200 words. However, longer articles may he considered for publication.


Article layout can be consulted in all online published articles. The details are as follows:


Article Title: Times New Roman, bold, 17 pitch.

Author(s) name(s) and surname(s): Times New Roman, bold, 13 pitch.

Abstract topic: Times New Roman, bold, 13 pitch.

Abstract content: Times New Roman, normal font, 11 pitch.

Keywords: Times New Roman, normal font, 11 pitch.

First Level Headings: Times New Roman, bold, 13 pitch.

Second Level Headings: Times New Roman, bold, italicised, 13 pitch.

Third Level Headings: Times New Roman, italicised, 13 pitch.

Maps, diagrams and posters must be presented in print-ready form. Clear black and white or colour digitised photos (postcard size) or diagrams in pdf or jpeg may also be submitted.

Use footnotes sparingly. In order to enhance the value of the interaction between notes and text, we use footnotes and not endnotes.

Authors may use their own numbering systems in their manuscript.

Except for bibliographical references, abbreviations must include fullstops. The abbreviations (e.a.) = ‘emphasis added’; (e.i.o.) = ‘emphasis in original’; (i.a.) or [...] = ‘insertion added’ may be used.


The full bibliographical details of sources are provided only once at the end of the manuscript under References. References in the body of the manuscript should follow the following convention: Mkhize (2017:14) argues .... or, at the end of a reference/quotation: .... (Ngwenya 2017:20f).


The surname and initials of authors as these appears in the source must be used in the

References section.

Review articles and book reviews must include a title for the contribution, as well as the following information concerning the book reviewed: title, author, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, number of pages and the print and/ or online, ISBN number.

In the text as well as the References, all book, journal, newspaper and magazine titles must be in italics.



Full author guidelines are available at:   

The format for the References section is as follows:

Journal article by one author


Journal article by two authors

  • Mkhize, N. & N. Ndimande-Hlongwa 2014. African Languages, Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), and the Transformation of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Higher Education. Alternation 21,2: 10 – 37. Available at: (Accessed on 08 May 2017.)


Book by one author

  • Moran, S. 2009. Representing Bushmen: South Africa and the Origin of Language. Rochester: University of Rochester Press. (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, Book 38.)


Book by one editor

  • Smit, J.A. (ed.) 1999. Body, Identity, Sub-cultures and Repression in Texts from Africa. Durban: CSSALL.


Book by two editors

  • Dhunpath, R. & R. Vithal (eds.) 2012. Alternative Access to Higher Education: Underprepared Students or Underprepared Institutions? Cape Town: Pearson Publishers.


Chapter in an edited book

  • Smit, J.A. & J. van Wyk 2001. Literary Studies in Post-apartheid South Africa. In Zegeye, A. & R. Kriger (eds.): Culture in the New South Africa after Apartheid. Volume 2. Cape Town: Kwela Books & History on Line.


Translated book

  • Foucault, M. 1977. Discipline and Punish. Sheridan, A. (trans.). New York: Pantheon.


Online resource


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