Start main page content

Staff Profile

Professor Leketi Makalela

QualificationsBA, PhD
Phone 0117173002
Organisational Unit Languages

M y name is Leketi Makalela, a professor and Head of the Division of Languages, Literacies and Literatures at Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand. I obtained my PhD from Michigan State University, USA, with a specialization in English Studies, Literacy and Linguistics. I am fascinated by the interface between languages and literacies in the 21st century and intrigued by the prospects of alternating languages of input and output to enhance identity construction and epistemic access for multilingual students. Believing that multilingualism is a norm for the new world order, I have developed a multilingual literacies model- premised on the African value system of multi-directional interdependence, ubuntu, to define complex multilingual encounters. Using the ubuntu fuzzy logic of incompletion (i.e., one language is incomplete without the other) and interdependence, I see all global multilingual encounters as a reflection of the state of discontinuous continuities, where there is a constant disruption of language and literacy boundaries and simultaneous recreation of new discursive ones.

I chair a research programme, the Wits Abafunde-ba-hlalefe Multlingual Literacies Programme (WAMLiP), with the following on-going projects: 1. Biliteracy development trajectories 2. Reading development in intermediate phase 3. Socio-cognitive aspects of reading development in complex multilingual schools 4. Ubuntu translanguaging/ Interdependent multilingualism 5. Fuzzy languaging logic 6. Transliteracies


Chapters and Books:

Makalela, L. 2015. New directions in language and literacy education for multilingual classrooms. Cape Town: CASAS.

Makalela, L. 2015. Language policy and education in Southern Africa. Encyclopedia of Language and education. New York: Springer.

Makalela, L. 2015. Using a transliteracy approach in reading development trajectories: towards a multilingual literacy model. In D Palfreyman and Van der Walt (eds.) Academic biliteracies in higher education.  Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Makalela, L. 2015 (with Niyibizi, E and Mwepu D). Language in education policy shifts in an African country: colonial confusion and prospects for the future. In Makalela, L (ed.) New Directions in langauge and literacy education for multilingual classrooms. Cape Town: Casas.

Makalela, L. 2015. Bilingualism in South Africa: reconnecting with Ubuntu translanguaging. In Garcia, O and Lin A (Eds). Encyclopedia of bilingualism and bilingual education. New York: Springer.

Makalela, L. 2014. Rethinking the role of the native language in learning how to read in English as a foreign language: insights from a reading intervention programme in a remote rural South African school. In S Rich (ed). International Perspectives in teaching English to young learners, pp. 141-155. London: Palgrave.  

Makalela, L. 2015. A panoramic view of bilingual education in sub-Saharan Africa: Re-orienting the lens for the future. In W Wright, S Boun and O Gracia (Eds.), the Handbook of Bilingual and Multilingual Education. New York: Blackwell-Wiley

Makalela, L. 2015. Black South African English and popular culture. Encyclopedia of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. New York: Springer.

Makalela, L. 2015. Translanguaging principles in L2 reading instruction: Implications for ESL pre-service teacher program: In T Farrell (ed.) In International Perspectives on Second Language Teacher Education, New York: Pelgrave Macmillan.

Makalela, L. 2014. Teaching indigenous African languages to speakers of other African languages: The effects of translanguaging for multilingual development. In Hibbert, L and Van der Walt, C (Eds.), Multilingual teaching and learning innovations in higher education in South Africa. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Makalela, L. 2012. Development of L1 and L2 reading literacy among fifth graders: Implications for research-based teacher education. In R. Osman & H. Venkat (Eds.), Research led teacher education, (pp. 127-144). Cape Town: Pearson.

Journal Articles 

Makalela, L. 2015. Breaking language boundaries: Student teachers’ Metacognitive reflection on translanguaging practices. Language Matters. (In Press)

Makalela, L. 2015. Translanguaging as a vehicle for epistemic access: Cases for reading comprehension and multilingual interactions. Per Linguam (in Press). 

Makalela, L. 2015 (with SP Nkadimeng). Identity negotiation in a super-diverse South African community: the fuzzy logic of high school languaging practices in Soweto. International Journal of the Sociology of Language (in press)

Makalela, L. 2015. Translanguaging practices in trilingual spaces: Examining linguistic opportunities in post-independent South Africa. International Journal of the Sociology of Language (in press)

Makalela, L. 2015. Narrative interpretation of HIV/AIDS messages: The effects of storytelling. Critical Arts. (in Press)

Makalela, L. 2014.  Fluid identity construction in contact language zones: metacognitive reflections on kasi-taal languaging practices. International Journal of bilingual education and bilingualism, 17 (6): 668-682. 

Makalela, L. 2014 (with Fakude P). Barking at texts in Sepedi reading texts: towards an edumetric intervention in African languages. Southern African Journal of African Languages, 34: 71-78.

Makalela, L. 2014. Moving out of linguistic boxes: the effects of translanguaging for multilingual classrooms. Language and education. 1-18. 10.1080/09500782.2014.994524.

Makalela, L. 2013 (with H Janks). Engaging a visionary: Horizons of the (im)possible. Education as Change: Journal of Curriculum Studies, 17 (2): 219-228.

Makalela, L. 2013. Black South African English on the radio. World Englishes 32,115-129.

Makalela, L. 2013 (with RV McCabe). Monolingualism in a historically Black South African University: A case of inheritance. Journal of Linguistics and Education, 24 (4): 406-414.

Makalela, L. 2013. Translanguaging practices in Kasi-taal: Rethinking old language practices for new language planning. SPILPLUS, 1-15.



Search for me on:

Google Scholar