Languages Spoken in South Africa

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The distinctive charm of South Africa comes from its history and also by moments of great change and strides of progress brought about by a people united in a diversity of religious beliefs, cultures and languages.

South Africa’s Constitution recognises 11 official languages, to which it guarantees equal status.

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SOUTH AFRICAN LANGUAGES 2019
Language Number of speakers* % of total
Afrikaans 6 855 082 13.5%
English 4 892 623 9.6%
isiNdebele 1 090 223 2.1%
isiXhosa 8 154 258 16%
isiZulu 11 587 374 22.7%
Sepedi 4 618 576 9.1%
Sesotho 3 849 563 7.6%
Setswana 4 067 248 8%
Sign language 234 655 0.5%
SiSwati 1 297 046 2.5%
Tshivenda 1 209 388 2.4%
Xitsonga 2 277 148 4.5%
Other 828 258 1.6%
TOTAL 50 961 443** 100%
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Updated: May 30, 2019 — 1:31 am

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