german speaking african countries

What Are The German-Speaking Countries In Africa?

(Last Updated On: November 1, 2022)

African Countries

When you think of African countries, what usually comes to mind? A few popular countries comes to your mind but you might be surprised to learn that there are actually quite a few German-speaking African countries that you probably didn’t even know existed.

While German isn’t spoken as much in modern Africa as it used to be, it’s still important to know these 10 German-speaking African countries.

Read on as we take a closer look together.

1) Gambia

Gambia is a small country in West Africa with a population of 2.3 million people.

The Gambian language is the most common language spoken, though English and Mandinka are also widely spoken.

German diaspora came to Gambia from Southwest Africa in the 18th century, but most Germans left after World War I for political reasons.

The strongest presence of Germans was in South Tyrol where they were forced to leave after World War II because Italy lost the territory to Austria.

2) Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the ten German-speaking African countries that you may not have known about.

The country is located on the eastern coast of Africa and has a population of over 55 million people.

In Tanzania, there are approximately 100,000 native German speakers and they are primarily found in the capital city of Dar Es Salaam.

When Europeans first arrived in Tanzania in the 18th century, they encountered a diverse collection of tribes who spoke many different languages which was why they chose to introduce their language as standard.

speaking german language
speaking german

3) Burundi

Burundi is a small country in the Great Lakes region of Africa. It’s home to about 10.4 million people and has an area of 27,830 square miles.

A German diaspora that dates back to the 18th century lives there, and they make up around 5% of the population.

Interestingly, Burundi’s standard language is French and its other official languages are Kirundi, English, and Swahili.

The language spoken by this diaspora is a dialect of German called Kirundi-Ruthenian or Ruthenian-Kirundi which shares origins with Ukrainian or Russian and was brought over by settlers from those areas at the end of the eighteenth century.

4) Rwanda

Named after the river, Rwanda is a beautiful country with rolling hills and incredible mountain views.

The country is also home to many natural hot springs and lakes, including Nyiragongo which has an active volcano and is one of the largest in the world.

The people of Rwanda are mainly Hutus and Tutsis, but there are also some Twa (Pygmies) who live in the forests.

Historically, Rwanda was colonized by Germany during the 19th century and remained under their rule until World War I.

In 1994, genocide erupted in Rwanda when ethnic tensions between Hutu and Tutsi led to mass killings of over 500,000 people.

5) Namibia

Namibia is a country in Africa. It was formerly a colony of Germany, which is reflected in its name, meaning land of the Namibians.

It’s also called the American country because it was one of the first countries to adopt English as its official language, after gaining independence from Germany.

Namibia became an independent nation on March 21, 1990.

From 1884 to 1915, the Germans set up a system of education for native Africans there, but then stopped teaching in their own language and imposed English as the official language.

Many Africans still speak indigenous languages like Otjiherero or Khoekhoegowab as well as English.

6) Djibouti

Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa. The official languages are Arabic and French, but Djibouti also has its own dialect called Afar. This is because it borders Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

There is evidence that the people of Djibouti have been speaking Afar for centuries. Read about Djibouti Language.

It is estimated that around 40% of the population speaks Afar, while more than 60% speak Arabic as their first language.

how many countries speak german
countries that speak german

7) Cameroon

Cameroon is a German-speaking country in central Africa.

Cameroon was colonized by Germany in 1884 with English and French occupying parts of Cameroon as well.

The country gained its independence from France in 1960 and from England in 1961.

8) Guinea

Guinea is a german-speaking country in Africa, with a population of 10.4 million.

It is ranked as the 9th largest country in Africa by area. The capital city of Guinea is Conakry.

With French being the official language and spoken by over 80% of its population, it would seem that Guinea’s linguistic ties lie with France instead of Germany but this is not the case.

In fact, most of its diaspora left to France during colonial times and not to Germany or other parts of Europe like many other African countries that speak languages from the germanic family tree such as Cameroon and Rwanda.

9) Somalia

A surprising fact about this country is that it has a significant population of Somali people who speak German.

One reason for this is because in the early 20th century Germany colonized this region as part of their empire.

This led to a large number of Germans settling there and bringing their language with them.

In fact, it is estimated that around 15% of Somalians speak some form of German today.

10) Mozambique

Mozambique is a Portuguese and a german speaking country in Africa. It was colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

Mozambique was later declared as an independent state in 1975 and became a republic in 1986.

This country has three national languages which include Portuguese, English and chiNyarandu. The most spoken language among these languages is ChiNyarandu at 37%.

FAQ’S

Which country has the most German speakers in Africa?

German is especially dominant in Namibia, where it is used as the official language.

Is German an easy language to learn?

German is a difficult language to learn for English speakers because it is one of the few languages that does not use an alphabet.

Is there a german town in Namibia?

No, However, the majority of Germans living in Namibia live in Windhoek and surrounding towns such as Luderitz, Swakopmund, Tsumeb and Karibib.

Which is more difficult French or German?

It is difficult to compare the two languages because they are so different.

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