South African English Language
English has been both a highly influential language in South Africa, and a language influenced, in turn, by adaptation in the country’s different communities. Around half of the country’s people have a speaking knowledge of English.
English was declared the official language of the Cape Colony in 1822 (replacing Dutch), and the stated language policy of the government of the time was one of Anglicisation. On the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, which united the former Boer republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State with the Cape and Natal colonies, English was made the official language together with Dutch, which was replaced by Afrikaans in 1925.
Today, English is South Africa’s lingua franca, and the primary language of government, business, and commerce. The new education curriculum makes two languages compulsory at school, with English the language of learning and teaching at most schools and tertiary educations.
According to the 2011 census, English is spoken as a home language by almost 5- million people (or 8.2% of the population). South Africa’s Asian people, most of whom are Indian in origin, are largely English-speaking, although many also retain their languages of origin. There is also a significant group of Chinese South Africans, also largely English-speaking but who also retain their languages of origin as well.