List of official names of South Africa

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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), the Sotho-Tswana languages (Tswana, Sotho, and Pedi), 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 unofficially 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.

The official names are:[2]

Language Long form Short form
Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika Suid-Afrika
English Republic of South Africa South Africa
Northern Sotho (Sepedi) Repabliki ya Afrika-Borwa Afrika Borwa
Southern Ndebele iRiphabliki yeSewula Afrika iSewula Afrika
Southern Sotho Rephaboliki ya Afrika Borwa Afrika Borwa
Swazi iRiphabhulikhi yeNingizimu Afrika iNingizimu Afrika
Tsonga Riphabliki ra Afrika Dzonga Afrika-Dzonga
Tswana Rephaboliki ya Aforika Borwa Aforika Borwa
Venda Riphabuḽiki ya Afurika Tshipembe Afurika Tshipembe
Xhosa iRiphabliki yomZantsi Afrika uMzantsi Afrika
Zulu iRiphabhuliki yaseNingizimu Afrika iNingizimu Afrika

And one former name:

Language Long form Short form Period
Dutch Republiek van Zuid-Afrika Zuid-Afrika 1961–1983

South Africa's country code, ZA, is an abbreviation of this former official name, Zuid-Afrika.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Chapter 1 Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  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.