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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit www.southafricaholiday.org.uk

South Africa Holiday: Tribes, Nations & Languages

The most widely spoken of South Africa's eleven official languages are isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English. The others - isiNdebele, sePedi, Sesotho, seTswana, siSwati, tshiVenda, and xiTsonga - are also spoken in large parts of the country.

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If you talk to a man in a language that he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.� Nelson R. Mandela

Despite the diversity of the South African languages, it is possible to begin to understand this complex society by viewing language groups as essentially the same as ethnic groups. This is because most South Africans consider one of the eleven official languages to be their first language, and most people acquire their first language as part of a kinship or ethnic group.
The word "tribe" assumed pejorative connotations under apartheid when it was used to create 'bantustans'. In post-apartheid South Africa, many people reclaimed their ethnic heritage and acknowledged pride in their ancestry.
Nine of South Africa's official languages are Bantu languages - a large branch of the Niger-Congo language family found across sub-Saharan Africa. Four major subgroups of the Bantu languages are found in South Africa - Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, Tsonga and Venda.
The Nguni languages account for four South African languages: isiZulu, isiXhosa, siSwati, and isiNdebele. Together they represent more than 18 million South Africans.
About nine million speak Sesotho and two million seTswana. More than two million speak xiTsonga and just under one million speak tshiVenda.

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Afrikaans is a 17th-century variant of Dutch which developed in southern Africa. It was recognised as a separate language in the 19th century after a significant literature began to develop.
Although most of the English spoken in South Africa is spoken by non-whites, the term "English speakers" is normally used to identify non-Afrikaner whites, largely because this group shares no other common cultural feature.
Almost two-thirds of these "English speakers" trace their ancestry to England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland, but a few arrived from the Netherlands, Germany or France and joined the English-speaking community in South Africa for a variety of social and political reasons.
Of the one million people of Asian descent in South Africa, all but about 20,000 are of Indian descent. Most speak English as their first language, although many also speak Tamil or Hindi, and some speak Afrikaans as a second or third language.
The Khoisan languages are not included in the 11 official languages in South African. They are characterized by "click" sounds not found elsewhere in Africa, although these "clicks" have been incorporated into many words in isiXhosa and a few in isiZulu.
Most of the remaining Khoisan speakers are believed to be San, living in the Kalahari Desert (Kgalagadi) region in the Northern Cape and North-West provinces. Although there is no accurate count of their numbers, it is generally believed that larger numbers of San live in Botswana and Namibia.
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