Teaching language one word at a time – for a small fee

Zulu teacher Moses Vilaphi starts his job before most of us have even finished our first cup of coffee for the day.

He does not have scrambled eggs and bacon before leaving for the office, nor does he drive there. Instead, he spends a lot of time parked at the traffic lights.

The enterprising 25-year-old Soweto man does not have a teaching qualification, but he teaches Johannesburg motorists passing through the busy Empire Road his mother tongue one word at a time – for a small fee or food. Yesterday he carried his board with two words of the day: “bird – inyoni” and “rabbit – unogwaja”.

Vilaphi said on a good day he could make up to R200.

“I started out doing jokes in English, but when white people pronounce things in IsiZulu, they’re generally off,” he said.

“So I came up with this idea. A few others are doing this. Yes [it is fulfilling], I love it.”

– Andile Ndlovu

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