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Spotlight on Inclusive Excellence: Meg Fletcher, Ph.D. Student

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This month, the Linguistics department recognizes Meg Fletcher for our DEI Spotlight feature.

Meg returned this month from an eight-week Zulu language program in South Africa. The program included Monday-Friday Zulu lessons, travel to Johannesburg, Richard's Bay, and Durban, and various cultural events across South Africa. 

Meg's experiences taught her much, including that of being a visual minority in a given space for the first time in her life as well as the complexity of power and race in post-Apartheid South Africa, observations of which have caused her to also think critically about American culture. 

Learning Zulu has given Meg an appreciation for the language and the culture connected to it. She was especially impacted by experiencing the Zulu philosophy of Ubuntu. The typical English translation of the term Ubuntu is "I am because you are." Meg was impressed by the culture of reciprocal altruism she experienced during her time abroad. 

Zulu is an understudied language that is suffering from the impacts of globalization. Meg emphasizes that it is imperative to further document Zulu to preserve both the language itself and the culture connected to it. 

The UGA Department of Comparative Literature & has revived Zulu courses as of 2023 thanks to the efforts of faculty member Akinloye Ojo and Linguistics Ph.D. student Lindokuhle Sikhonde. To learn more about courses in Zulu and other African languages offered at UGA, visit the Department of Comparative Literature and Intercultural Studies or the African Studies Institute’s PAL (Program in African Languages)1 webpage.

1. Please note that the PAL webpage omits Zulu from its currently-offered languages. This omission is in error and will be corrected. In the meantime, visit the UGA Bulletin page of available Zulu courses.

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