A representation of language use: Census 2011


The use and spread of languages in South Africa is one of the important factors with which the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has to grapple. South Africa has 11 official languages. Added to these is the language of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Sign Language.

The IEC goes to great lengths to match its information, education and voting station material to the patterns of language use and spread in each area be it a province, a district/metro, a municipality or a ward.

The information contained in this publication is taken from South Africa’s 2011 Census data as it relates to only South African Citizens. The geographical patterns of predominant home language and predominant second language are illustrated in the first set of maps.

The second set of maps presents the predominant home language used in each municipality in a percentage.

In order to keep the maps readable, only municipal codes and index numbers are displayed. A reference table is included with the names of the municipalities for ease of reference.

This representation is a useful planning tool not just for the IEC but for a range of other organizations in South Africa who are continuously making an effort to improve the manner in which they interact with South Africans.

The Electoral Commission
July 2013


  • The reporting units on predominant language maps are wards.
  • The reporting units on extent of use of individual languages are municipalities.

  1. Predominant language by ward

  1. Use of language by municipality