1.1 These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the University’s General Academic Regulations for Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree programmes, hereinafter referred to as the General Regulations.

1.2 The Master of Arts Degree in African Languages and Culture (MAFL) is an eighteen-month programme offered on a full time basis. The programme intends to equip students with an advanced understanding of the African linguistic and cultural landscape. The Department believes that unless African Languages and cultures are promoted meaningfully, development will remain elusive in Zimbabwe.


2.1 The programme aims to equip students with relevant linguistic and cultural theories to tackle practical problems in this area in Africa.

2.2 The major objective of this programme is to produce students who will have the practical know-how and skill to advance African languages and culture in a meaningful way.

Entry Requirements


Applicants to this programme should normally hold an Honours Degree in a relevant field (African Languages, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, English) with a good honours degree may be considered for entry. The Department may, at the discretion of the Departmental Board, require an applicant to attend a pre-admission interview or examination to satisfy itself of the candidate’s ability to complete the programme applied for. Eligibility will not guarantee admission.


4.1 Each module offered at M.A carries six (6) credits. (Refer to Section 26 of the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees.

4.2 The total number of credits required for the Master of Arts shall be at least 48.

4.3 Examinations will normally be taken at the end of each semester for each module on the dates to be advised by the University Examinations Office.

4.4 To be admitted to any of the examinations of the degree, the student must:

4.4.1 be registered for the degree with the Midlands State University in accordance with the General Regulations for students,

4.4.2 have attained continuous assessment marks, and

4.4.3 have attended at least 80% of the lectures offered in the module for which the examination is to be sat.




5.1 Overall assessment shall be based on continuous assessment and formal examinations

5.2 Assignments related to the objectives of the programme will be set. These may include, but not limited to essays, group presentations, tests and reports.

5.3 A candidate who fails to fulfill continuous assessment requirements may be barred from sitting for examinations.

5.4 Examinations

5.4.1 Examinations shall normally be written at the end of the semester

5.4.2 Each module shall include in its mode of assessment a written examination which is, at most, three (3) hours long.

5.5 In determining marks for modules, weighting shall be as follows:

Continuous assessment 50%

Examinations 50%


Students shall retain credits for modules passed. All module work must be completed before registering for the dissertation.


See Section 4.2 of the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees


Programme Structure


8.1 Full time programmes which shall be three semesters in duration shall be structured as follows:

Code Module Description Credits
Level 1 Semester 1
Core Modules
MAFL 701 Zimbabwean Literature in Relation to African & Diasporan Literature 6
MAFL 702 Culture and Sustainable Development 6
MAFL 703 Language Planning and Policy in Africa 6
Elective Modules
MAFL 704 Translation and Interpretation Studies 6
MAFL 705 Comparative Bantu Phonology 6
MAFL 706 History and Theory of Literary Criticism 6
Level 1 Semester 2
Core Modules
MAFL 708 Corpus Linguistics 6
MAFL 709 African Oral Literature and Culture 6
MAFL 715 Advanced Research Methods in Languages, Literature and Culture 6
Elective Modules
MAFL 707 The Novel in African Culture 6
MAFL 710 Comparative Bantu Morphology and Syntax 6
MAFL 711 Semantics and Pragmatics 6
MAFL 712 Terminology 6
MAFL 713 Theories of Language Learning 6
MAFL 714 Theoretical Foundations of Heritage and Culture Studies 6
Level 2 Semester 1
MAFL 870 Dissertation 12
MAFL 701 Zimbabwean Literature in Relation to African and Diasporan Literature.

This module is a survey of the background to the development of Zimbabwean literature as a literary form and as a document of culture. It focuses on appropriate Zimbabwean works to debate the changing cultural, historical and philosophic relations which define literary production in modern Zimbabwean societies in relation to diasporan literatures. The appreciation of poetry focusing on the works of well known poets drawn from various cultural backgrounds will be studied. The study of drama as both a literary form and as a theatrical experience shall be done.

MAFL 702 Culture and Sustainable Development

The module is a detailed study of culture. Students are taught how to promote cultural approaches to sustainable development, the development of capacity building programmes and the promotion of programmes with respect to biodiversity conservation, geo-sciences and geo-ecology, land resources management using culture.

MAFL 703 Language Planning and Policy in Africa

This module examines deliberate efforts to promote African culture especially by African governments through legislature. Any serious development initiatives cannot afford to ignore the necessity of both language and cultural planning and policy in Africa.

MAFL 704 Translation and Interpretation Studies

This module surveys the field of translation and interpretation studies and the practice of translation as a profession, which is guided by standards and ethics. It introduces the methodological approaches and procedures in rendering a text into another language. It focuses on the analysis of the text structure and discusses the different approaches to text analysis. The module develops creative interpretive skills by addressing key topics such as public speaking, sight interpretation and discourse analysis. It also examines the use of information technology in translation, the development and limitations of machine translation and the use of translation memory.

MAFL 705 Comparative Bantu Phonology

This module is a study of language origins and change in Bantu languages especially in the field of phonology. The emphasis is clearly on Bantu diachronic linguistics. It clarifies the linguistic situation in Zimbabwe by looking into the languages of Southern Africa. Language families are discussed at great length focusing on the two major languages families that constitute the linguistics mosaic of multilingual Zimbabwean Languages.

MAFL 706 History and Theory of Literary Criticism.

This module aims at developing the techniques of formal appreciation and criticism of literary works. Focus shall be on practical application of concepts developed from an appreciation of literary texts, focusing on fictional works drawn from various geographical and cultural backgrounds. The module introduces students to the philosophical and artistic ideas and theories found in African literature of which Zimbabwe is a part. It is a survey of modern critical methods, from its origins in modern scientific thought, to the specific interpretative strategies for the study of literary texts as defined by the romantic aesthetic and moral traditions.

MAFL 707 The Novel in African Culture

Students shall study novels whose protagonists experience traditional life in the village as well as modern life in the cities or abroad. For a better understanding of these novels, we shall read non-fictional texts on African literature, history and society.

MAFL 708 Corpus Linguistics

This module covers the following topics: history, theoretical issues, key concepts and applications of corpusbased analysis; different types of corpora and issues involved in compiling a corpus; applications of corpora in applied linguistics; corpus annotation issues and techniques; introduction to using concordance software for concording and making wordlists; forming queries; interpreting concordance line and applications of corpora in language teaching.

MAFL 709 African Oral Literature and Culture

The module provides the reason and relevance of poetry in the African Society Theories on the origin of folklore and cultural approaches to the study of oral literature are studied. Application of these approaches to the selected body of African folktales is done. The module analyses praise poems and clan praises in their historical and stylistic context.

MAFL 710 Comparative Bantu Morphology and Syntax

Detailed elements of Bantu morphology and syntax are examined and compared with other African languages. Students will learn to demonstrate their understanding of the relationship of grammatical categories and their functions in the Bantu sentences; their ability to work logically through the process of analyzing a sentence; their understanding of the application of accepted linguistic theory to syntactic data; their understanding of specific language concepts effectively, by both oral and written means; their ability to work effectively in groups sharing tasks equally and recognizing and managing their own skills and weaknesses.

MAFL 711 Semantics and Pragmatics

Detailed analysis of pragmatics (with discussion of deixis, presupposition, implicature, speech act and relevance theory); the relationship between semantics and pragmatics, the interface between syntax and pragmatics and the interaction between sociolinguistics and pragmatics will be studied.

MAFL 712 Terminology

This module examines concepts and principles of term creation or formation. Topics in this module include: dimensions of terminology, corpus based terminology and terminology management. Strategies of term creation shall also be examined including borrowing, compounding, de-iphonisation, paraphrasing and others. The interface between terminology and translation studies and lexicography shall be studied.

MAFL 713 Theories of Language Learning

The module examines the different perspectives on language learning/acquisition. The main focus will be on the behaviourist and cognitive theories. The module also focuses on the sequence and processes of languages acquisition. The question to keep in mind is how can the knowledge of children’s language acquisition help us to contribute towards the development of our society? A significant portion of the time shall be devoted to second language learning processes examining a variety of factors that have been thought to be related to second language acquisition.

MAFL 714 Theoretical Foundations of Heritage and Cultural Studies

The module is historical in its approach in that it seeks to trace the development of heritage and culture as a discipline. Some of the issues covered in this module include critique of the existing schools of thought on heritage and culture which include cultural anthropologists, cultural relativists, neo-liberals and modernists.

MAFL 715 Advanced Research Methods in Languages, Literature and Culture

The module provides training at an advanced level in a range of research methods. It equips students with advanced research skills in languages, literature and cultural studies. The major concerns of the module comprise qualitative/quantitative distinction, critical versus administrative research, the nature of social reality, research methodology, the analysis and presentation of qualitatively collected data.

MAFL 870 Dissertation

The dissertation is be expected to be between 15 000 to 20 000 words, or 150 pages of font 12 with double line spacing and it should be in the area of African Languages and Culture.