Majority of Afrikaans speakers not white

2013-04-22 14:47

Johannesburg - More black, coloured, and Indian South Africans speak Afrikaans at home than white South Africans, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Monday.

According to a recent SAIRR study, based on data from the 2011 census, only 40% of those who speak Afrikaans at home are whites.

This means that out of 6.9 million people who speak the language at home, 2.7 million are white, while the rest are from other racial groups.

English is the home language of almost five million South Africans; of these, 1.6 million (or 34%) are white.

Almost 1.2 million black South Africans have English as their mother tongue, while coloured people and Indians accounted for nearly 950 000 and 1.1 million, respectively.

SAIRR researcher Thuthukani Ndebele said English was only the fourth most-spoken home language, but was the preferred language of learning in South Africa.

"About 64% of the 11.5 million pupils in public schools in 2010 chose to be taught in English, reflecting a global trend for the preference of the language."

Internationally, at least one-in-four people speak English with some level of competence.

IsiZulu was the most common home language in South Africa, with 11.6 million South Africans listing it as their mother tongue.

  • Monique Naude - 2013-04-22 14:57


      Heini Botes - 2013-04-22 15:30

      Would you like some dip for that huge chip on your shoulder Kolobe?

      sxp - 2013-04-22 15:31

      For Afrikaners Zulu these days is a language of political evil.

      randomhero6661 - 2013-04-22 15:47

      and here kolobe thought all black people hate afrikaans... there is a new race brewing it has no colour and it will find your "old school" type and eradicate it... for the love of SA!

      David Van Schalkwyk - 2013-04-22 16:10

      OMG Kolobe how the hell did you get Apartheid out off this one? it is a study that was done on what language people are speaking. not on how freaking aparteid influinced anything. Get over yourself immediately....

      Toni Krige McQuillen - 2013-04-22 16:32

      Kolobe - if you associate everything with apartheid then that is a choice you make to live by, it does not say much for educated people to symbolise a language with a dark history, in which case German must be horrible for Jewish people, English must be terrible for Afrikaans people. The list goes on and on, and yet all these people have learned to move on with their lives and use the past as a lesson never to be repeated in the future, but then I suppose that is the difference between people looking for a hand out vs having the nerve to move on and make something of their lives.

      warren-rodel - 2013-04-22 16:59

      Hey Kolobe, its because its the minority, think about the population percentage in English.

      Debbie du Plessis - 2013-04-23 22:06

      Well the stats are not HARD considering the population numbers of each grouping! This fact was established pre-1994 & confirmed again after 1994 to 1998 based on population & voter stats...

      Debbie du Plessis - 2013-04-23 22:10

      What is interesting is the emergence of English spoken as mother tongue in 1.2 million black homes --- now this did not officially exist pre or just post 1994

  • Sheilan - 2013-04-22 14:59

    I never believe anything statistical from this government. Regarding this past census, there was a section dealing with tertiary education. When the census lady came to our house, she didn't ask anything about education. So in the findings on education, how is that accurate if I wasn't counted as having tertiary education?

      Warren - 2013-04-22 15:12

      I encourage you to do some research of your own on the SAIRR: they are independent of the state, and the Apartheid govt weren't particularly fond of them. If you don't trust them, and don't trust the Census lady then unfortunately you will need to make your own research. perhaps it would be easier instead to compare these stats to the Census, and see what the statistical difference is.

      Clive Corbishley - 2013-04-22 15:14

      The SAIRR is not run by the government.

      Sheilan - 2013-04-22 15:20

      "According to a recent SAIRR study, based on data from the 2011 census..."

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 15:35

      This is old news, known even before 1994 but often ignored. Afrikaans was after all used by slaves in the very beginning, hence the name kitchen dutch...

      Wayne Strydom - 2013-04-22 15:37

      Every year, principals have to painstakingly fill in an annual survey where these details are collected re. Teachers and students in the education system. THEN the same education has to be submitted electronically for fear of losing your educational subsidy from the state.. It's accurate alright...

      Mahwiting Mangako Joseph - 2013-04-22 15:38

      Nailed it in the head Sheilan....

      Kabelo K-breezy Moshime - 2013-04-22 16:32

      Uhhm maybe they checked with the school (s)..??

      Karl Klopjag - 2013-04-23 05:32

      The research comes from the SA Institute of Race Relations -- a long-established privately-funded NGO. And NGO stands for NON GOVERNMENT ORGANISATION. That means that this research does not come from the government. So, do you believe it now?

  • Nkosinathee Nkosi - 2013-04-22 15:01

    How about your'l find ways of dealing with the high crime rate in south africa

      Gideon Pitzer - 2013-04-22 15:32


      Heini Botes - 2013-04-22 15:36

      You forget our beloved leaders don't see crime behind their high walls and 10 security guards, so there is no crime. But they will come out soon enough, I smell a election on it's way...

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 15:46

      This article is not about crime, and the research wasn't done by the government. Maybe you and Bruce Gauld should share your concerns elsewhere?

      Nkosinathee Nkosi - 2013-04-22 16:00

      And who are you?? If u have a problem with my 'opinion' go express it elsewhere , i don't have time for your ignorance

      Kabelo K-breezy Moshime - 2013-04-22 16:30

      Maybe its their job to do this census thing.. We might as well get everyone to stop doing what they do for a living and start dealing with crime #dumb comment

      Karl Klopjag - 2013-04-23 05:35

      SAIRR doesn't bother with stuff like crime rates or how to get cars to pull more powerfully at high altitude or stopping tooth decay. They do research, not work miracles in every walk of life.

  • Jason Davidson - 2013-04-22 15:06

    So 4.3 million whites speak either English or Afrikaans at home - I wonder what the rest of them speak?

      Sibusiso Shabalala - 2013-04-22 15:22

      They could be foreign and speak their languages at home. Portuguese, Lebanese, Italian etc. C'mon now, we're better than this...what a narrow-minded question

      shannon.moffett.9 - 2013-04-22 15:23

      German? French? Portuguese?

      Jo Davies - 2013-04-22 15:35

      My husband's family speak Spanish at home. I know a lot of family's that speak Portuguese and Italian.

      Samuel Pienaar - 2013-04-22 15:38

      Jason sorry to inform you but there are just 4.5 million white people left in the country. That's according to the census of 2011. So the 200 000 that don't speak either Afrikaans or English are most probably German, Portuguese, Dutch etc.

      Andrew Selous - 2013-04-22 19:58


      Kadesh Barnea - 2013-04-22 22:17

      Portuguese, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Polish... need any more languages?

      Stephanie Sutherland - 2013-04-22 23:56

      There are a lot of foreigners living in South Africa those would be the rest of the white and multicultural population and so called white wealth

      Stephanie Sutherland - 2013-04-23 09:08

      But all wealth is calculated on white and black not if you are a citizen or not Thus the white wealth misconception

      Eddie Rocher - 2013-04-23 16:07

      According to the Census there is 4,7 million Whites is South Africa,so 400,000 speak other languages

  • Eternity - 2013-04-22 15:10

    The title is misleading. They are just clumping together all other race groups into the 60% of Afrikaans speakers vs the 40% of white speakers. One of the other race groups could have more then 40%, but they have not clearly indicated this, so whites could still be in the majority.

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 15:44

      The majority of Afrikaans speakers are coloured, was a known fact loooong before this study. Afrikaans was after all first spoken by the slaves.

      Eternity - 2013-04-22 15:59

      Sorry Marleen, I don't agree with you there. There might be more coloured Afrikaans speakers, but Afrikaans originates from the Dutch language and the Dutch settlers, who taught it to their slaves.

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 16:09

      The dutch taught them dutch, then they started simplifying the language.

  • Maluxion Nketle - 2013-04-22 15:20

    I never believed this nonsese.Who in his right mind as a black person can start teaching his kids to speak this afrikaans as a home language.Maybe those pple who did this statistics went to farms and spoke to our elders who only know Afrikaans other than their home languages as a language of communication between them and their boss and come up with this propaganda.Afikaaans yessesssss!

      Heini Botes - 2013-04-22 15:34

      I as a white person encourage children to learn an African language in school. Guess you and me differ then. Maybe it's a culture thing. Regards

      Sibusiso Shabalala - 2013-04-22 15:35

      Its not about what language you teach your children. Its about the environment and people they grow up around. If you have a black family living in a place like WCape Odshoorn for example where all the people speak afrikaans and the schools in the neighbourhood are predominantly -if not all- afrikaans schools...that family over the years WILL eventually start speaking afrikaans at home. Its inevitable

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 15:38

      Many black people go to Afrikaans schools...

      Kallie Marie - 2013-04-22 15:47

      Maybe because the vocabulary is not so developed in black languages ? There is so many words in Afrikaans that you can't translate to Zulu for example because there is not a word for it

      Heini Botes - 2013-04-22 16:49

      @Lesley.....hahahahahahahaha you ignorant tool!!!!

      Stephanie Sutherland - 2013-04-23 00:02

      @Lesley - Afrikaans is spoken in any countries now and is growing and taught at universities' in the USA Australia NZ Canada and any more You are a very ignorant person in this regard

  • Gregory de Mink - 2013-04-22 15:24

    Interesting use of stats here 2.7/6.9 = 39% 39% of Afrikaans speakers are white. Using the infomation here the remaining 60% must be divided between Black, Indian and Coloured. Unless one these remaining groups alone represents 40% of speakers then White Afrikaners are in fact in the majority.

      Eternity - 2013-04-22 15:35

      I get the feeling that N24 are just trying to create some controversy with the articles title

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 15:43

      The majority of Afrikaans speakers are coloured.

      Gregory de Mink - 2013-04-22 16:23

      I'm trying to point out that (once again) news24 has not provided ALL the relevant information in report.

  • Nurse Helenk - 2013-04-22 15:25

    They actually wasted money on this study? lol

  • Given Von Baloyi - 2013-04-22 15:35

    It's article like this that perpetrate the misguided stereotype that Afrikaaners are under attack in this country

      Sibusiso Shabalala - 2013-04-22 16:00

      Stupid comment. But Simphiwe, that's just not necessary. Grow up

      Samuel Pienaar - 2013-04-22 16:05

      @Simphiwe. At least it's still bigger then your brain.

  • Kallie Marie - 2013-04-22 15:40

    All propaganda .... the 70's riots started because blacks did not want Afrikaans as a language in school .... they burned Afrikaans books. Yet all Afrikaans students had a black language in school , we didn't burn anything ... just saw it as another subject. Control and devide ... the aim of this article

      Tumelo Radebe - 2013-04-22 15:51

      I'm sorry but having a African language as a subject is different to studying all your subjects in a African language. please check history. That's why majority of whites can't speak a African language yet all blacks speak English or Afrikaans. Next time take in mind colored people who speak Afrikaans as a home language

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 16:14

      They were forced to study subjects that would make them become better 'slaves', I think I'd also burn my text books if that was my only prospect.

      Stephanie Sutherland - 2013-04-23 00:08

      Slavers who sold black people were black to and made a profit off there own people because of greed; go read the truth about slavery The British brought the Slavery law to SA when they took over from the Dutch East India company preventing all interracial relationships

      Karl Klopjag - 2013-04-23 07:33

      In formerly-white schools an African language was (and is) a voluntary option, and no subjects other than that language itself are taught in it. The fuss in 1976 was MC Botha and AP Treurnicht's insistence on making Afrikaans a compulsory subject PLUS insisting that half of all other non-language subjects (e.g. History, Geography, Art etc) be taught using Afrikaans as the medium of instruction. The pupils rioted at this instruction.

  • AbuZakariyah Abrahams - 2013-04-22 15:41

    blatjang, piesang, sjambok and eaven koesischters stolen are malaysian words. Did you know that the oldest afrikaans document is the quraan transcribed using arabic text.

      Puple LeMoo - 2013-04-22 18:02

      Did not know that. Actually very interesting. Thanks.

  • Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 15:41

    The first Afrikaans was written in Arabic script, a gift from Malaysia...

      Karl Klopjag - 2013-04-23 07:38

      Malaysians do not speak or write Arabic. Only the Muslims there learn Arabic as part of their Islamic religious instruction.

  • Jomo Kgomo - 2013-04-22 15:42

    What is this all about? Afrikaans should be treated equally to other ten local languages. I am tired to hear Afrikaans this, that. What is so special about Afrikaans?

      Sarel van Deventer - 2013-04-22 16:10

      Afrikaans is the youngest language in the world!

      Puple LeMoo - 2013-04-22 16:34

      .... and it is an African language combining bits and pieces from other languages. It evolved in Africa out of necessity. What is so wrong with that?

      DeAndre Sosa - 2013-04-22 16:44

      Tsotsi taal is the youngest

  • Abner M. Mophethe - 2013-04-22 15:44

    ek is een van daai mense wat die taal praat

  • BigDawg Njabulo Sjebha - 2013-04-22 15:46

    That first paragraph's ambiguous and lacks credibility. I'd say it would make more sense if they'd give stats for each of the three (black, coloureds and indians), that would make more sense coz we'd see coloureds speak afrikaans the most. You'd probably find that blacks and indians only take up at most 7% each from that remaining 60%. Why would blacks and indians speak Afrikaans in their househoulds anyway? Camaan

      DuToitCoetzee - 2013-04-22 17:15

      There are Tswanas, that know, that speak Afrikaans at home in part of North West going over to Northern Cape. Just as Sibusiso Shabalala said(a bit earlier) it change with the time when in area where a certain langue get mostly used. I heard a department head at Potch's university a while ago on TV and he spoke Afrikaans fluently. Even better than me because I sometimes slip other langues' words in. O..yes and he is proudly black.

  • Darren Raath - 2013-04-22 15:53

    lol! ive never ever met an indian that speaks afrikaans!!!

      Sarel van Deventer - 2013-04-22 16:08

      Come to pe and you wil meet lots of indians who speak afrikaans. I know about 20 personaly. The owner of gatti's ice cream speaks afrikaans better than most

      Issy Mona R - 2013-04-22 16:37

      I went to Finsch Mine in Lime Acres for an interview,and i met Indians who spoke Afrikaans fairly well.Don't expose yourself.

      Darren Raath - 2013-04-22 17:04

      i live in kzn and have never seen an indian that does!

      Mark Singh Singh - 2013-04-22 17:11

      Wat se jy?

      Ushir Sahdao - 2013-04-22 19:05

      Ek praat bietjie afrikaans maar eks nie flot daar in nie, ek is ook van kzn af. Ek kyk 7de laan en lees die subtitles om te volg. Dit is hoe ek het n 'A' in matric gekry. Tweede taal HG ;)

      Karl Klopjag - 2013-04-23 07:41

      In Natal Afrikaans has always been a minority language. Even among whites, the majority speak English. That's why it was once nicknamed "the last outpost of the British Empire".

      Gawie Gorrel - 2013-04-23 10:28

      You don't have a clue hey? Many Indians speak Afrikaans. Travel some mate and educate yourself

  • drcpot - 2013-04-22 15:53

    I trust nothing from the census.

  • Tshepo Lekabe - 2013-04-22 15:54

    the reason for this is when you are looking for a job if you speak English and Afrikaans you are highly recomnded than a person with English and any other language.

  • Gloria Mathebula - 2013-04-22 15:56

    Most black from Northern Cape speak Afrikaans. True story Vuyo

  • Wayne Strydom - 2013-04-22 15:56

    The best thing any government could do for a language is to try and suppress it. Look what happened to Gaelic when the Irish government tried to make English the official language. Afrikaans will flourish. There are enough people who are passionate about it. Even in some overseas schools, afrikaans is offered as a language, for interesting reasons of course.

  • criticallyhonest - 2013-04-22 16:00

    It says quite a lot about people when they have to resort to a laguage ability to define who they are. The reality today is that if you are to succeed in our global world you had better be able to communicate with others, and that is a two way process. Whilst you may get by in very limited environments your vernacular will not only label you as anachronistic, it will also deprive you of opportunities.

      Stephanie Sutherland - 2013-04-23 00:21

      I an a Afrikaans speaking Aussie and find that Afrikaans people say what they think with no frills and extra wasted breath I a blunt in my honesty to the point of being to blunt bordering on rude; but no one will mistake were the stand with ne No frills no fuss is what Afrikaans is; gets the job done

  • anthony.cowen.50 - 2013-04-22 16:01

    I love to hear people speaking Afrikaans in Namaqualand ?

      Terence Wessels - 2013-04-23 12:05

      Haha yes. I had a staff sgt from Namaqualand in the army. Most colourful swearing I've ever heard until today lmao!

  • Rhonda Janse van Vuuren - 2013-04-22 16:04

    Go and look in some Afrikaans schools. They do exist

  • David Van Schalkwyk - 2013-04-22 16:08

    Well at least that language is not dying and people are starting to learn that it is not the worst thing in the world to speak the opposit races language. helps the world get a long just that little bit better. But I dont believe that the majority off afrikaans speakers are non white.

  • Mabeshankone ZoSuthu - 2013-04-22 16:08

    Wasn't Afrikaans created by Blacks (coloureds) as pidgin Dutch, to begin with? I understand Afrikaans was always spoken by black slaves in the Western Cape, before it was adopted by slave masters (?)

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 16:12

      Yup, and further evolved as the settlers and their slaves moved inland and intermarried.

      Mabeshankone ZoSuthu - 2013-04-22 16:43

      "My friends mother has Dutch volunteers for her program that come over to SA and when we talk they can understand us but not the otherway round when they talk fast." @Jacques, I thought I'd try to read a Dutch newspaper on a plane once (I read Afrikaans, but cannot speak it). I failed dismally. Because I was holding and trying to read this Dutch newspaper, the airline crew kept talking to me in Dutch. That didn't work too well either. That taught me for being a tjatjarag b**dy agent.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2013-04-22 17:34

      Ai Mabeshankone ZoSuthu. Fatal mistake. lol. I can read it a bit, but I am sure I will not do it where the Dutch can see me. I understand them a bit, but when they starting to speak fast or shorten and slang I am also lost. Then they also do have their different regional ways of pronouncing certain words. They are saying we sound like babies when speaking Afrikaans, but to us it sounds if they swing, attached and stretch their words/sentences/story before coming to the point. It must be the different langues in South Africa that change it to an shorter easier version. It came out so well that even they compliment us for have such describing words/langue, but then again, all SA's local langues are describing langues.

  • Moss Kop - 2013-04-22 16:15

    Do they mean fanagalor or tsotsi taal???

  • Mphumzi Sizani - 2013-04-22 16:16

    Majority of Xhosa speakers are non black...

      Warren Nel - 2013-04-23 05:19

      Mostly brown.

  • Gift Mogiftana - 2013-04-22 16:19

    and then what??

  • konanani.rachicoper - 2013-04-22 16:24

    Not true.

  • gareth.pike - 2013-04-22 16:26

    Let Afrikaans be free of its 'past connotations'. It is not the language of the oppressor any more, but the language of anyone who might find it useful. Languages themselves never did anyone any harm! There are some descriptions I really love about afrikaans - like 'moth rain'/ 'mot reen' for drizzle... and its the most fun language to vloek in.

  • Thapelo Teleki - 2013-04-22 16:33

    that's a lie

  • Thembane Colly Hlazboy - 2013-04-22 16:38

    I use to speak good afrikaans during my Primary School level, guess what? some one in some office changed all that. now I can only say 'goie more' that's it sad neh? by the way am Tsonga speaking

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 16:43

      I used to be able to speak Zulu, but now I can only say Sawubona, I feel your pain ;-)

  • Tumelo Radebe - 2013-04-22 16:41

    Colored people speak Afrikaans as a home language

  • Bradley October - 2013-04-22 17:01

    20%speak pure eng. 20% praat pure afr. 60% kombuis English

  • Nkosinathi Gezindaba Snr - 2013-04-22 17:05

    Did Afrikaans as additional language in high school, enjoyed it, got a C higher grade, en if I was living in an Afrikaans neighbourhood, I would have been fluent right now! Point is, most people love afrikaans, not just white people. There is actually nothing wrong with afrikaans. And who speaks it the most, really does not matter, at all!

  • Mariette Troxler - 2013-04-22 17:11

    Afr. will never die.. just listen to rap groups like Die Antwoord and go to the festivals. Afrikaans rocks!

  • Lesley Thys Kgomo - 2013-04-22 17:12

    Now is time for ur kids to Learn Sepedi,Ndebele,Sesotho, Tshonga,Vhenda and etc. He he he. Okare kea Bona. I knw it and you know it. They dont have a choice but to learn. ANC in power!!!!!!!

      Marleen Van Wyk - 2013-04-22 17:41

      I'm all for studying new languages, especially in a multi lingual society like SA, but please keep politics out of it. Languages should belong to the people not the politicians (which is the most insincere breed on earth)

      Karl Klopjag - 2013-04-23 07:47

      Few will take the trouble to learn any language unless they find this to be essential to their daily lives and not just a hobby. So, if you hapopen to live in a town where everyone speaks Sepedi, you'll learn it too. If you don't live in such a town, why even bother?

      Ben Rossouw - 2013-04-23 12:47

      Lesley, you are joking right? I will be teaching my children Mandarin or Spanish as a third language in addition to English, as these are the most common and widely used BUSINESS languages on Earth. Have my children speak a language only because it is somehow emotionally linked to some sort of political ideology?...Who are you kidding buddy, don't have any kids, do you? I THOUGHT SO.

  • Kosie Nel - 2013-04-22 17:33

    Praat saam met my Gatiep!

  • Mandla Mfanta - 2013-04-22 17:44

    Gauteng is not SA. Please your survey must cover all the South African povinces, There is no such a thing in the Eastern Cape, KZN, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

  • Stinky Spice - 2013-04-22 17:50

    All Afrikaans speakers are distant cousins somewhere down the line. And what's wrong with that. Stuff rainbows are made of.

  • Diran Pillay - 2013-04-22 18:09

    I had no choice,Afrikaans was a subject in primary and high school.In high school if you failed Afrikaans you fail the year just like English. I matriculated with a higher grade B in Afrikaans.Unfortunately I never spoke a word of Afrikaans after my school career.

      Werner Nel - 2013-04-22 19:40

      Yeah it is sad how quickly one loses a language....

      Solo Mathe - 2013-04-23 09:50

      I was fortunate that it was no longer compulsory when I was in high school... Otherwise I would have been in deep trouble!

  • Makhosonke Mqikela - 2013-04-22 19:41

    Apart from this headline. It is ADVANTAGEOUS for any particular INDVIDUAL to be able to COMMUNICATE verbally non-verbally with a particular COMMUNITY and/or NATION.

  • Leaproach TheKeeper - 2013-04-22 20:05

    Tsk.....Afrikaans is a language that has its origin in the Cape via the Cape Coloureds.

  • ProfAndyZulu - 2013-04-22 20:40

    This is quite a fascinating result! Just goes to show that making yourself understood is more important than most other considerations...

  • Hasani P - 2013-04-22 21:08

    Afrikaans is such a beautiful language, but hey the fact that it was imposed on people of colour makes it difficult for some people to embrace it. People have died for it to be abolished and for that it bears a stigma in the new South Africa . More integration will make it acceptable in the next hundred years

      Solo Mathe - 2013-04-23 09:48


  • Michael Angelo - 2013-04-22 21:38

    i think out of Indians blacks and coloureds,coloureds speak the most afrikaans

  • Samkelo Sam Tyeku - 2013-04-22 22:18

    Indians Afrikaans? never heard or saw 1. Bt my grandfather do praat whn hes angry n its funny cz i dont undarstand him. bt i would love to learn it.

      johann.enslin.9 - 2013-04-23 00:10

      Hehehe, can understand it. No language comes close when swearing fluently and harmoniously.

  • Tarbo Letshego Hmn - 2013-04-23 03:13

    indians 4rm which kasi,ska re tlwaela wena

  • Mfundo Jacobs - 2013-04-23 06:12

    So the home language of most indians is afrikaans? Moenie onsen praat nie man

  • Prada Ledger - 2013-04-23 06:49

    ek praat a bietjie afrikaans, ek probeer en ek kyk na 7de laan om beter te wees.