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Xolisa Guzula

Senior Lecturer, Applied Language and Literacy Studies, University of Cape Town

Dr Xolisa Guzula is a lecturer in Applied Language and Literacy Studies with a focus on multilingual and multiliteracies education at the University of Cape Town. She specialises in multilingual education, especially in teaching children to read and write in two or more languages. She is one of the founders of a network of reading clubs growing across the country starting from the Vulindlela Reading Clubs to Nal’ibali Reading Clubs and the Stars of Today Literacy Club. She has written several children’s books including the recent series of Imbokodo: Women who shape us, and has translated many children’s books from English to isiXhosa including books by award winning authors such as Astrid Lindgren, Niky Daly, Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni and Refiloe Moahloli and Nicholas Maritz. She won an IBBY/Exclusive Books award for best translation of The Elders at the Door by Shale and Maryanne Bester to Iinkonde eMnyango. Her translation of Wendy Hardie’s book, The Singing Stone/Ilitye Eliculayo made the honour list of IBBY 100 recommended books across the world. Xolisa is a member of Bua-lit Language and Literacy Collective (, working on social justice in language and literacy education.


  • 2021 
    University of Cape Town, Doctor of Philosophy
  • 2011 
    University of Cape Town, MPhil in Education Administration, Planning and Social Policy
  • 1997 
    University of Cape Town, Bachelor of Primary Education


  • 2022
    Speaking Subjects in Multilingualism Research. Mi-cha Flubacher and Judith Purkarthofer (eds), Children’s Use of Their Full Linguistic Repertoire to Establish a Social and Linguistic Third Space for Learning: A Case Study of the Stars of Today Literacy Club
  • 2021
    Decoloniality, Language and Literacy: Conversations with teacher educators. Carolyn McKinney and Pam Christie (eds), De/coloniality in South African Language in Education Policy: Resisting the Marginalisation of African Language Speaking Children
  • 2021
    Decolonising Languages and Literacies in Higher Education: Reclaiming Voices from the South. Zannie Bock and Christopher Stroud (eds), Delinking from Colonial Language Ideologies: Creating third spaces in teacher education.
  • 2019
    Perspectives in Education Vol 36 (2). Pp 1-14, Moving beyond artificial linguistic binaries in the education of African Language speaking children: A case for simultaneous biliteracy development
  • 2017
    Global Academic Publishing: Policies, Practices and Publishing.Theresa Lillis & Mary Jane Curry (eds) , Whatsapp as postgraduate writing support tool.
  • 2016
    Southern African Linguistics and Applied language studies, Languaging for learning: Legitimising translanguaging and enabling multimodal practices in third spaces.
  • 2010
    Language Policy in the Classroom: Teachers as change agents. In Ofilia Garcia and Kate Menken (eds), Towards Normalising South African Classroom Life: the ongoing struggle to implement Mother Tongue Based Bilingual Education


IBBY/Exclusive Books award for best translation of The Elders at the Door by Shale and Maryanne Bester to Iinkonde eMnyango.