Languages of Zimbabwe

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Languages of Zimbabwe
Official languages Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, "Koisan" (presumably Tsoa), Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, "sign language" (Zimbabwean sign languages), Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa[1]

Zimbabwe has 16 official languages.[1] English, Shona and Ndebele are the most widely spoken languages in the country. Approximately 70% of the population is Shona speaking and speaks Shona as their first language.[citation needed] Also it is said that around 20% are Ndebele and speak IsiNdebele as their first language. These statistics have not been officialised yet because Zimbabwe has never conducted a census that enumerated people according to ethnic groups.

All official languages are acceptable in education, government, etc. but English is traditionally used for official business. It serves as a common language for most Zimbabweans. From around early childhood development (ECD) commonly called grade zero, schooling is conducted almost entirely in English. It is the first language of Zimbabwe.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The following languages, namely Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa, are the officially recognised languages of Zimbabwe. l(CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE (final draft)).

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See also