I recently read an article that suggested that bilingual people showed greater brain development than people who only speak one language. Learning new languages not only gives you greater insight into the world and various cultures, but it also develops various parts of your brain in the same way mathematics has an impact on cognitive abilities.
South Africa is among the rare nations on earth where bilingualism and even multilingualism is the norm and not the exception. There is, however, always room to learn an additional language or two – even if it’s just the basics.
Having a basic understanding of a multitude of South African languages not only benefits your own brainpower, but it also adds to your ability to function in a truly diverse society. Language skills are becoming increasingly important in the corporate environment, with more and more employers seeking employees who can communicate in more than one language.
If you are thinking about learning a new South African language, or simply brushing up on some basic terms, here are some apps you can use.

  • Zivo – African Language App

This app is free and lots of fun. You can learn Swahili, Zulu, Shona, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Tswana, Venda, Swati, Sepedi, Tsonga, Ndebele, Hausa, Igbo & Oromo.


  • Learn Afrikaans

This is a great app if you are interested in learning Afrikaans. This app is free of charge.


  • Learn Afrikaans – 50 Languages

Another popular app for learning Afrikaans.


  • Bantu Babel

Bantu Babel is an African language translation app. It translates words and provides translations of useful survival phrases in popular African languages.


  • Learn Xhosa – Instant Immersion

This iOS app by EuroTalk will help with some basic Xhosa phrases. There is a similar app available for Zulu.


  • Sotho Phrases language tutor

This is a very popular language app developed by the University of Cape Town. They have built various versions of this app for Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana and Zulu.


Are you using any other apps to study South African languages? Let us know in the comment section below.

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