Zulu still most spoken language in South Africa

2012-10-30 10:34

More than a fifth of the population speak isiZulu at home, according to the Census 2011 results.

Just more than 11.5 million people use isiZulu as their first language, followed by isiXhosa spoken by 8 million South Africans, according to the Census conducted on October 9 last year, whose results were released today.

Compared to 2001, the number of people speaking the two languages showed a slight downward trend.

Afrikaans remains the third most popular language in SA households.

Over 13.5% of the national population speak Afrikaans, just slightly up from the 2001 figure of 13.3%. Afrikaans first language speakers in the Northern Cape have, however, dropped significantly from 68% in 2001 to 53.8% last year. In the Western Cape, the number of people speaking Afrikaans as their home language also decreased from 55.3% (2001) to 49.7% last year. “Just under half of the population of the Western Cape speak Afrikaans as their first language and almost a quarter speak IsiXhosa,” the document says. The number of South Africans who speak English as a first language increased by more than a million, from 3.7 million to approximately 4.9 million.

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