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[African Languages]

isiNdebele (Ndebele)

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General information
Name: isiNdebele
English name: Ndebele
Population: 2,211,821
ISO code: nde,nbl (n/s)
Spoken in the following countries: South Africa (Official), Zimbabwe (National), Botswana


isiNdebele (Ndebele) is one of the official languages of South Africa. There are 711,821 (1.59 %) first language speakers in South Africa [2001 census data]. isiNdebele is also a major language in Zimbabwe (with an estimated 1,500,000 speakers), and there is also a small population of speakers in Botswana. There are differences between the isiNdebele varieties spoken in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

isiNdebele is a member of the "Nguni" language group, and is most closely related to isiZulu, isiXhosa and SiSwati.


  • TRANSLATION SERVICES TshwaneDJe Language Services (Translation, Proofreading, Editing, Transcription and more, for all official South African languages and most major world languages).

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A non-profit organization translating various OpenSource software packages such as and the Mozilla web browser into all official South African languages. They have released isiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa and Afrikaans versions of OpenOffice.