Lost in Translation

A year ago we wrote about a recently released UKZN Press publication, The Illustrated Glossary of Southern African Architectural Terms. But having recently read an article published on Huffington Post, we thought that this very worthwhile book was deserving of a revisit! In the article the author points out that many of the structures documented in the book sadly no longer exist, partly through government’s efforts to provide adequate housing, and partly the result of the misconception that vernacular architectures were ‘uncivilised’. So, not only does the book provide invaluable English-isiZulu translations of important architectural terms, but it also acts as an illustrated historical record of African architecture, almost akin to the work that programmes such as Ulwazi do.


If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for a young architecture student, or anyone with a passion for the built environment then do yourself a favour and visit loot.co.za which is currently offering the book at a discount. Even for the layperson the book makes for fascinating reading – who knew that the word ‘inkatha’ describes a sacred symbol in Zulu culture and is the ring that holds the beams together at the top of a Zulu conical hut, literally holding the structure/family together?

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