Indigenous terminology


This indigenous terminology is directed at effective teaching-learning in the School of Music, in alignment with North-West University’s language policy.

The terminology is directed at mother-tongue as well as additional language learners and tutors. It currently encompasses Setswana and IsiZulu but is continuously being adapted and expanded. Furthermore, the similarity of these languages with Sesotho and IsiXhosa expands its efficacy.

The terminology was developed from lists of English concepts submitted by staff. These lists relate to performance, music theory, education and musicology. Their translation comprises terms as well as short descriptions.  

The terminology is not geared towards standardisation. Vocabularies are constantly evolving, not only intra-linguistically but also as a result of cross-linguistic influences (in this case, English). For this reason, the IsiZulu terminology comprises the combined output of four translators, one of whom (Moshemanegape Senyatsi) was also responsible for Setswana translation. It is left to users to decide which terms are most useful. Please send corrections, comments and suggestions to


Spha Mdlalose holds a BMus degree in jazz singing from the University of Cape Town. She has been nominated for three South African Music Awards and has received two Mzantsi Jazz Awards.

Themba Mkhize is an award-winning jazz pianist, producer, composer and director. He holds an MMus degree in musicology from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Khulekani Mncwango is a euphonium and trombone specialist who completed a BA Honours degree at North-West University.

Moshemanegape Senyatsi teaches at Thaba Jabula music magnet school in Soweto. He completed a BMus in jazz singing at the University of Cape Town, and an MMus in music technology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.