Learning meets fun: Mahlahle makes African languages accessible for children

Published Jul 8, 2024


Mahlahle is an interactive app designed to help children aged 2-8 to learn different African languages and improve their vocabulary.

Created by a small team of dedicated professionals, Mukondleteri Dumela: Founder, Hlawuleka Maswanganyi: Software Developer, and Akani Dumela: Operations Manager, along with around 20 language practitioners and 14 native speakers, the app is a colourful and engaging world with a child-centric interface that is easy to navigate, animations and exciting educational games, ensuring a fun experience for kids of different ages.

Each language module is infused with cultural elements that give children a glimpse into the traditions and stories behind the words they learn, making Mahlahle culturally rich.

Mahlahle is a children’s version of the Angula app, an award-winning app that was designed to help adults learn African languages.

“Angula was born out of my passion for language activism. I initially founded the Xitsonga.org project to bring the Xitsonga language into the digital age. As Xitsonga.org gained popularity, I received suggestions to expand its scope to encompass more languages, which led to the creation of Angula,” the app’s founder Mukondleteri Dumela told IOL.

Dumela mentioned how his two years 10 months old daughter was a significant inspiration behind developing the app specifically for children.

Mahlahle, which is a Xitsonga word for planet Venus (morning star), is also the name of his daughter.

He was also inspired by the demand from many users of the Angular app who had been requesting a version tailored for kids. “They wanted a fun and engaging way for their children to learn African languages from an early age,” Dumela said.

Following its launch, the app trended in the top 5 for the education category on the Apple App Store, with users showing great interest and eagerness to subscribe.A few reached out to the app founder Dumela, on X:





“The positive feedback and engagement have been incredibly encouraging. We're thrilled with the response and are committed to continuing to enhance the learning experience for our young users,” Dumela said.


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