Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia. It was originally the dialect that developed among the Afrikaner Protestant settlers, the unfree workers, and slaves brought to the Cape area in southwestern South Africa by the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie - VOC) between 1652 and 1705. Most of these first settlers were from the Netherlands, though there were also many from Germany, some from France, a few from Scotland, and various other countries. The unfree workers and slaves were Malays, and Malagasy in addition to the native Khoi and Bushmen.
|Native to||South Africa, Namibia|
|7.2 million (2016)|
10.3 million L2 speakers in South Africa (2002)
Official language in
|Regulated by||Die Taalkommissie|
Regions shaded dark blue represent areas of concentrated Afrikaans-speaking communities
Research by J. A. Heese says that until 1807, 36.8% of the ancestors of the White Afrikaans speaking population were Dutch, 35% were German, 14.6% were French and 7.2% non-white (of African and/or Asian origins). Heese's figures are questioned by other researchers, however, and especially the non-white component quoted by Heese is very much in doubt.
A sizeable minority of those who speak Afrikaans as a first language are not white. The dialect became known as "Cape Dutch". Later, Afrikaans was sometimes called "African Dutch" or "Kitchen Dutch". Afrikaans was considered a Dutch dialect until the early 20th century, when it began to be widely known as a different language. The name Afrikaans is simply the Dutch word for African, and the language is the African form of Dutch.