Teaching and learning foreign languages is a complex process involving, among many other factors, the primary language of the learner in conjunction with all the other languages he/she knows. Making use of prior learning experiences and transferring skills and habits of the mother tongue onto other languages can be facilitated by consciously focusing on similarities and differences between the languages concerned. This study focuses on comparing a non-germanic language with German in order to empower Zulu-speaking learners of German in their quest of finding the most economical path towards their goal. Working from the basis of an error analysis, comparisons are made between the noun class systems, agreement systems, verb forms, descriptive forms and general syntax of German and Zulu. Not only teachers of foreign languages in general can benefit from this study, but also anyone with an interest in African languages in general, or Zulu in particular.