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Official names of South Africa: Wikis


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There are eleven official names of South Africa[1], one in each of its eleven official languages. The number is surpassed only by India. These languages include English, Afrikaans, the Nguni languages Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Swazi, as well as the Sotho languages, which include Tswana, Sotho and Sotho sa Leboa. The remaining two languages are Venda and Tsonga.

There are smaller but still significant groups of speakers of Khoi-San languages which are not official languages, but are one of the eight un-officially recognised languages. There are even smaller groups of speakers of endangered languages, many of which are from the Khoi-San family, but receive no official status; however, some groups within South Africa are attempting to promote their use and revival. As a result, there are many official names for the country.[2] These are (in order of speaker populations):

  • iRiphabhuliki yaseNingizimu Afrika (Zulu)
  • iRiphabliki yomZantsi Afrika (Xhosa)
  • Republiek van Suid-Afrika (Afrikaans)
  • Repabliki ya Afrika-Borwa (Sepedi)
  • Rephaboliki ya Aforika Borwa (Tswana)
  • Republic of South Africa (English)
  • Rephaboliki ya Afrika Borwa (Sotho)
  • Riphabliki ra Afrika Dzonga (Tsonga)
  • iRiphabhulikhi yeNingizimu Afrika (Swazi)
  • Riphabuḽiki ya Afurika Tshipembe (Venda)
  • IRiphabliki yeSewula Afrika (Ndebele)


  1. ^ The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Chapter 1
  2. ^ For the text of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in all 11 official languages, each version of which contains the name of the country in the respective language, refer to the website of the Constitutional Court of South Africa


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