Zoliswa O. Mali

Director, African Language Program; Senior Lecturer

Zoliswa Mali earned her PhD in second language acquisition focusing on linguistics and technology at the University of Iowa. She is especially interested in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and computer–mediated communication (CMC). She earned a MA (cum laude) in African languages (morphology and syntax) from the University of Stellenbosch, and a BA (Honors) from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa.

She also obtained a MA in linguistics at the University of Iowa. Before coming to the United States, she had worked at The University of Fort Hare as a lecturer for isiXhosa linguistics and literature from 1989 to 2000. This was after a decade of teaching and being deputy principal in the primary school system of the Department of Education in South Africa. She also worked as a coordinator of an African Studies Summer Institute that Fort Hare hosted collaboratively with Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and participated in the development of its curriculum in Andover in 1998. She also worked as a director for a group projects abroad (GPA) program employed by Yale University for the summers of 2002 and 2003 working at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

She founded the isiZulu Program, which she taught for at The University of Iowa from 2000 to 2006, and was later part of the formulation of an autonomous language learning network (ALLNet), in which she later served as a tutor for isiZulu, at The University of Iowa. Dr Zoli Mali has also been an instructor of isiZulu for intensive summer language programs, at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., as well as for the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). She joined Boston University in 2007 as Clinical Assistant Professor (at SED) and Coordinator of Southern African Languages (CAS) and is now a lecturer at CAS, in African Studies. She has served as a coordinator of language buddies for Project GO and has taught isiXhosa and isiZulu for BU’s Globally Speaking Program.

Other research interests include online instructional materials development as well as study abroad and their impact or effect on second language acquisition. This feeds her interest in the integration of culture and technology in language teaching. She continues to seek and implement strategies of making foreign language learning not just effective but also fun and this is often reinforced by means of South African music used as a language learning tool. She has developed culture-based websites as well as several online activities to aid in her language instruction and bringing Africa and its culture closer to learners via technology. She has undergone training in Assessment according to ACTFL Guidelines as applied to African Languages at NALRC.

Professor Mail’s areas of expertise include IsiXhosa, isiZulu, English, Afrikaans and basic Sotho, Tswana, and Swazi.