School of Arts

Nobuhle Hlongwa

Nobuhle Hlongwa


Leadership RoleDean & Head of School

Cluster/DisciplineAfrican Languages, Linguistics & Development

Contact Number031-260-2515

CampusHoward College Campus

Office AddressMemorial Tower Building, Ground Floor, G068

Degrees Held

  • BA
  • BAHon
  • MA
  • DLitt (UDW)



  • She has 24 years’ experience in academia. She joined the then University of Durban Westville in 1998 as a Lecturer. She is the former Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Humanities (2012-2017). She provided strategic leadership on issues of teaching and learning in the College of Humanities. She is the former Deputy Dean of the Undergraduate Studies in the faculty of Humanities, Development and Social Sciences. She is the former Head of the School of isiZulu Studies (2005-2007). She is a representative of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the Community of Practice for the teaching and learning of African Languages (CoPAL) which forms part of the devolved governance structure of Universities of South Africa (USAF). She has supervised several MA and PhD students to completion. She has examined 13 MA and 15 PhD thesis from UNISA, Rhodes, Wits, UCT, UWC, Stellenbosch, UNIZULU and UKZN. 


  • She is a C2 rated social scientist by the National Research Foundation (NRF). She has a Google Scholar H-Index of 10. Hlongwa is an established researcher with many publications, and some of her publications are written in isiZulu thus contributing towards the promotion and intellectualization of isiZulu as a language of scholarship in Higher Education.  Her book entitled “Ukuhlelwa Kolimi” translated as Language Planning, published in 2009 is still the only book written in isiZulu in the area of Sociolinguistics. She has co-guest edited several special issues of Alternation Journal. Hlongwa is a representative of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the Community of Practice for the teaching and learning of African Languages (CoPAL) which forms part of the devolved governance structure of Universities of South Africa (USAF). As of January 2023, she will assume the role as the Chairperson of CoPAL. She has served as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Panel on the development of African Languages in Higher Education.  She is the treasurer of the African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA). She is the principal investigator in several national and international research projects funded by Andrew Mellon Foundation, National Institutes for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and BAQONDE, European Union- funded Erasmus + projects. She is also a leader of the content team in a project funded by the National Department of Sports Arts and Culture. She was appointed by Pan South African Languages Board as a Commissioner for Linguistic Human Rights Tribunal. She is the reviewer of the following international journals: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, International journal of Nordic Names (Norna), Journal of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences (Onoma), Journal of the African Language Teachers Association (JALTA), USA. Social Inclusion (Open Access Journal). She is also the reviewer of the following South African journals: African Journal of rhetoric, South African journal of African languages, Alternation journal, Nomina Africana journal, Indilinga journal, Language Matters, International Journal of African Renaissance.


  • She was awarded Mellon Merit Award for Younger Scholars in Humanities, Development Social Sciences in 2008/2009. She got a Merit Award in 2007 for 2008 for excellence in University Service and Community Involvement. In 2012 she received Bilingualism/Multilingualism award in the College of Humanities for a commitment to longstanding and sustained promotion of bilingualism at the University and National level. In 2017 she got a Morale Booster Excellence Award in the College of Humanities. In 2018 she was among the top 10 Most published Women Researchers in the College of Humanities.

Research Interests

  • African Indigenous Knowledge Systems
  • Language Planning and Policy
  • Language and Gender
  • Onomastics
  • Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Teaching Interests

  • IsiZulu 1st and 2nd language teaching
  • Onomastics
  • Comparative Nguni Linguistics
  • Historical and Comparative African Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics and Language Planning.


  • She has successfully supervised many Honours research projects, 13 MA dissertations, and 8 PhDs to completion. She currently supervises 6 MAs and 3 PhD students in the College of Humanities.