Walter Sisulu University Lecturers Assist In Translating Accounting Concepts To Xhosa And Zulu

MARCH 25, 2015

Zulu and Xhosa-speaking students struggling to grasp the often complex financial terminology of accountancy could benefit from a ground-breaking initiative launched in February that seeks to address this anomaly by providing online video lectures in these two languages, along with English.

And two of Walter Sisulu University’s (WSU) staffers have formed an integral part of an initiative borne out of a desire to deal with this problem.

Department of Accounting senior lecturers Akona Babana and Senzo Ndlangamandla have lent their expertise in language and accounting to helping translate key accounting concepts from English to Xhosa and Zulu in the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) on-going ground-breaking Learn Accounting initiative.

The venture, termed the UCT FASSET (Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority) mother tongue intervention project, aims to empower students by offering free, multilingual video-based learning on key financial and accounting concepts.

“I heard about this opportunity through our HOD who’d been approached by UCT looking for accounting lecturers who could assist with the translation of the scripted lessons. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I volunteered to participate,” says Babana.

Her counterpart Ndlangamandla, who translates to Zulu, praised the concept, labelling it a brilliant initiative that allows students to watch and understand some key concepts in financial accounting, management accounting and financial management.

“Students will be able to pause, rewind, stop and fast forward at their leisure depending on how quickly they grasp the concepts at hand. Prospective accounting students will have the opportunity to get a head start in terms of some key concepts,” says Ndlangamandla.

The initiative has also enjoyed resounding endorsements from Babana, who highlights its potential in closing the sometimes huge language gap that becomes all too apparent when students make the transition from high school to University.

“There is a big gap in terms of the way accounting is taught at high schools as compared to University. You could find that a student who gets a level 6 in mathematics and accounting struggles when they get to the tertiary levels. These videos will assist in bridging that language gap,” says Babana.

WSU Spokesperson Angela Church said that this innovation will also support the current project underway with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and UCT to work towards producing CAs (SA) at WSU.

“The SAICA/UCT flagship project will go a long way to filling the skills gap for more black CAs (SA) in our country and WSU students in this programme have achieved incredibly well. It is also heart-warming that our own lecturers have been involved in clarifying difficult concepts for accounting students across South Africa,” she said.

Individuals interested in learning about the project can visit: www.learnaccounting.uct.ac.za.

Image: Akona Babana at the Nelson Mandela Drive Site in Mthatha where she plies her trade.