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Arts & Culture Trust of the President
News Headline
  • Xhosa web browser downloadable NOW!
  • Complete office suite available in Xhosa, Zulu and Venda
  • Why the translation is so important. is making great strides forward under the banner of the Zuza Software Foundation, translating computer software into the eleven official languages of South Africa. Current languages include Xhosa, Zulu, Venda, Northern Sotho, Siswati and Tswana. Visit for more details.

    Mozilla web browser released in Xhosa, Zulu and four other languages
    The open source web browser and mail client, Mozilla, has been translated into the following six languages: Xhosa, Zulu, Venda, Northern Sotho, Siswati and Tswana. For a sneak preview visit Mozilla runs on Windows, Linux and the Apple Mac, making it immediately useful for any computer user. It consists of the most standards-compliant web browser, a sophisticated email client, and an HTML editor.

    Download Mozilla for Windows from

    For other platforms visit

    Then visit to download the language packages that you need.

    KOffice 1.2 Office Suite released in Xhosa, Zulu and Venda
    This is a first in South Africa. This release has made history. While working on the translation and racing to meet deadlines, we did not realise just how significant this version of KOffice was. Some commercial office suites have been released in Afrikaans in the past, but certainly most of the popular office suites were available only in English. Without fanfare we have provided an office suite in not only one but three of the official languages. This is momentous! The software is available for download. Visit for more information.

    Why is this translation so important?
    This project is key to transformation in our country, where language is a highly sensitive issue. Neville Alexander states that “... language policy and practice in our post-apartheid society is a critical component of the ensemble of anti-racism strategies on which we depend for the real and visible transformation of this country.” The open source philosophy lends itself to making technology available to the masses. No commercial software vendors have adequately addressed the language issue in South Africa, but in one year the open source community has. Director of the project, Dwayne Bailey, explains: “In South Africa many languages have been marginalised through the history of apartheid, which has led to a lack of language pride. Seeing Linux users working in German and French environments made me realise that this could do the same for South African languages. I hope that simply allowing people to use the computer in their mother tongue will stimulate pride in their language Ö plus the fact that learning something in your mother tongue is naturally easier.” Once those projects are mature, the team will look beyond their borders to other parts of the African continent. “Open source provides a way for Africans to help themselves — not to have to wait for the first world, but to get up and do it themselves! Nobody else is going to translate software into Swahili,” says Bailey.

    Obviously the issues that surround language, inequality and poverty, are broad and impact every sphere of life, but Zuza aims to play their part. “Translation does not remove all barriers to computer access,” says Bailey, “but it helps to eliminate one. This, together with low-cost computers, open source software and low-cost Internet access will go a long way to making a dramatic IT impact on South Africans, especially the disadvantaged.”

    Project Sponsors
    The Shuttleworth Foundation:
    Obsidian Systems:

    Contact details
    Dwayne Bailey: Project Director —, (021) 448 9265.
    Thobile Mhlongo: Lead Translator —, (021) 448 7827.


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