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The first written document in Zulu was a Bible translation that appeared in 1883.

In 1901, John Dube (1871–1946), a Zulu from Natal, created the Ohlange Institute, the first native educational institution in South Africa.

However people taking Zulu at high-school level overwhelmingly take it as a first language: according to statistics, Afrikaans is still over 30 times more popular than Zulu as a second language.

In South African English, the language is often referred to by using its native form, isi Zulu.

Zulu migrant populations have taken it to adjacent regions, especially Zimbabwe, where Zulu is called (Northern) Ndebele.

However, in the Kwazulu bantustan the Zulu language was widely used.

All education in the country at the high-school level was in English or Afrikaans.

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