Beautiful isiZulu words that you need to add to your vocab

Beautiful isiZulu words that you need to add to your vocab

A few words to spice up your vocab in order to learn more about one of South Africa's mother tongues.

isiZulu words
Stacey and J Sbu

We are such a culturally diverse nation with a total of eleven official languages. 

Today is International Mother Tongue Day, so we decided to commemorate it with J Sbu's insight into what he thinks the most beautiful words in isiZulu are. 

Read More: A goal fulfilled: J Sbu manages to donate over 500 pairs of school shoes


With the rise of Wordle and other vocab games, we often forget how culturally significant words from our own country can be.

Here are some examples:

1. Umqombothi (Zulu beer)

This delicacy is made and consumed by the community during ceremonies. It's such a strong word as it speaks to the sense of community when it comes to the Zulu culture. What an interesting word to have as J Sbu's favourite.


2. ngiyakuthanda (I love you) 

This beautiful phrase holds so much meaning. J Sbu states that "it is the most beautiful and sexiest language to say 'I love you' in." 


3. Ubuntu ("I am because we are")

Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term that generally means "humanity". It is sometimes translated as "I am because we are", "I am because you are" or "humanity towards others".

This word is a proudly South African word that unites us. It is a universal word that is now part of our daily conversation.

Ubuntu quote

4. Smanga (wonder, a miracle)

This word in itself is magical but it holds significance to J Sbu. His late son was named Smanga and even though he is no longer with us, his magic, wonder, and beauty still remains in our hearts. 

We hope that you can carry this beautiful word with you and give it the recognition it truly deserves.

Read More: Stacey and J Sbu on how to casually perform acts of kindness


5. Uthando (Love) 

What is life without love? We love this word...

We can't even imagine how many times this word is mentioned every single day. It truly encapsulates the feeling with this soft but powerful word. 


So what's your favourite isiZulu word?

We hope you take some of these beautiful words with you.

Read More: WATCH: "Papa, mom is checking your phone!" video goes viral

More on East Coast Radio:

Stacey and J Sbu podcasts
East Coast Radio

Image courtesy of Stacey and J Sbu

Show's Stories