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South Africa


South Africa Video Audio Reviews

The population of the Republic of South Africa is about 44.8 million, consisting of roughly 79% Blacks of Bantu origin, 9.6% Whites (this group containing Afrikaners of Dutch origin, British, and other Europeans), 8.9%  Coloureds (who are of “mixed origin”), and 2.5% Asians and Indians. As can already be guessed from this heterogeneous population, the language situation in South Africa is a rather complicated one. In a democratic attempt to show equal respect for all ethnic groups, the South African government adopted a policy of eleven co-official languages in the 1990s. Nine of the eleven official languages are Bantu languages spoken by the black population.

In addition to the Bantu languages, there are the Indo-Germanic languages of the former colonists: Afrikaans, which is spoken as a mother tongue by the majority of Whites and Coloureds, and English, which used to be the mother tongue of the Whites of British origin, but which is also used as first language by the vast majority of the Asian/Indian population and increasingly by parts of the coloured population.

South Africa
Table Mountain (Cape Town, South Africa)
© Heiko Schittek 2006

As a result of ethnic segregation, which was especially enforced in the Apartheid era, different varieties of English have developed among the ethnic groups in South Africa. Those varieties are the following: Black South African English, Coloured English, White South African English and Indian English. As English is seen as the language of liberation (in contrast to Afrikaans, which is associated with Apartheid) and progress, its popularity is steadily growing among South Africans.

Reviews of available literature on books dealing with this English variety can be found here


Official government site of South Africa


The Star (Newspaper)

5FM (Radio)



© Christiane Meierkord
and individual reviewers