Arts & Culture

What languages are spoken in South Africa’s nine provinces?

The home language of most people in KwaZulu-Natal is, unsurprisingly, isiZulu. In the Eastern Cape it’s isiXhosa. Around half the people of the Western Cape and Northern Cape speak Afrikaans. In Gauteng and Mpumalanga, no single language dominates.

Animated infographic of South Africa's languages according to province.

The main languages of each province are:

  • Eastern Cape – isiXhosa (78.8%), Afrikaans (10.6%)
  • Free State – Sesotho (64.2%), Afrikaans (12.7%)
  • Gauteng – isiZulu (19.8%), English (13.3%), Afrikaans (12.4%), Sesotho (11.6%)
  • KwaZulu-Natal – isiZulu (77.8%), English (13.2%)
  • Limpopo – Sesotho sa Leboa (52.9%), Xitsonga (17%), Tshivenda (16.7%)
  • Mpumalanga – siSwati (27.7%), isiZulu (24.1%), Xitsonga (10.4%), isiNdebele (10.1%)
  • Northern Cape – Afrikaans (53.8%), Setswana (33.1%)
  • North West – Setswana (63.4%), Afrikaans (9%)
  • Western Cape – Afrikaans (49.7%), isiXhosa (24.7%), English (20.3%)

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Researched, written and designed by Mary Alexander.
Updated 5 April 2018.
Comments? Email southafrica.gateway@gmail.com

 

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