Sawubona! Molo! Dumela! Hello!”. These are just a few of the greetings you’ll be met with when you set foot on South African soil.
There are many different words used to say hello and to welcome visitors to the country as South Africa is home to 11 official languages! Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, SiSwati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu and English are the languages recognised by the country and its people, and these aren’t the only languages spoken in the country! As you wander the streets of South Africa, you may even hear words uttered in IsiCamtho, Lobedu and Phuthi in some parts of South Africa. This collection of languages is one of the many reasons why South Africa is considered one of the most diverse countries in the world. When the new constitution of South Africa came into effect on 4 February 1997, the constitution recognised these 11 languages as the official languages of the country and granted each language equal status. Fortunately, you won’t need a phrase book, as English is widely used and understood!
If you’re coming to South Africa on your next adventure, before you board the plane, get to know the languages of our beautiful country and use our guide to the 11 official languages to learn a phrase or two so that you can greet the friendly faces of our country!