Today I’m starting a new instalment on my blog titled “The Friday Shoutout.” Each week I’ll be highlighting an interesting/awesome person, business or project that I’ve come across. The idea is to spread the word about the exciting things going on the fields of development, entrepreneurship, education, economics, strategy and beyond. If one of the Friday shoutouts catches your attention, send me an email and I’ll connect you with them 🙂

My first Friday Shoutout goes to Uthini, an edutech startup based in Cape Town

Uthini

Uthini is an exciting new startup that is making it easier to learn South African languages. Their teaching is done through the Telegram messaging platform (similar to Whatsapp), where a bot and live tutor guide you through the content. Lessons are 15min long and scheduled daily at a time that suit you. They use a combination of videos, text, gifs and voice notes to deliver the content and the tutor gives you feedback in real time.

Uthini have partnered with Ubuntu Bridge to deliver content. This ad is from their 2017 pilot

What makes this unique is that the bitesized lessons can easily fit them into you day. The use of a mobile chat platform is intuitive and simple, and means you just need a phone to access it. And the daily exposure helps solidify the learning. The resources are also always available, so you can practice when you have time. And at present they have lessons available in both Xhosa and Zulu. (Bonus: you can access the lessons from wherever you are in the world!)

I took part in their pilot program that launched in January last year. And over that time I got into a great routine and was able to learn some basic Xhosa. I really enjoyed it, and once I’ve handed in my thesis I’m going to sign up for more.

The power of language

Even though Uthini is just over a year old they’ve already made massive strides and have achieved so much. They’re currently part of the Injini Edutech incubator where they have received significant support in the form of funding, mentorship and workspace.

Apart from the innovation in delivery and approach, what really excites me about Uthini is how easy and accessible they’re making it to learn South African languages. There are many people who have begun to recognise how important it is to learn these (especially white South Africans). And the combination of the novel delivery, easy time management and affordability mean that they’re able to really drive learning.

So a massive Friday Shoutout to the team from Uthini, keep up the great work!

(P.S. If you’ve been wanting to learn Xhosa or Zulu but have been making excuses, now is your time to act! Seriously. Go sign up. Here’s the link again in case you’re feeling too lazy to scroll up. Now go! 🙂


Image was taken from a Lions-head hike early this morning. One of the founders of Uthini, Miguel, was part of the hiking group 🙂

 

Thesis update: focused on my consulting project today
Blog 75/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here

 

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