South Africans are furious with Charlize Theron after she said her mother tongue, Afrikaans, is disappearing. On Monday’s episode of the “Smartless” podcast, the “Monster” and “Tully” star said the language she grew up speaking was fading away. As of 2016, there are roughly 44 people left who speak Afrikaans, according to Charlize Theron, 47, who learned English when she moved to the U.S. when she was 19. The language is definitely dying, and it’s not very helpful, Charlize Theron told hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett.
A social media debate soon erupted in South Africa following Charlize Theron’s remarks. There were some who branded her ill-informed, while others agreed that Afrikaans had died. A legend, Charlize Theron! As one Twitter user put it. There is no doubt that Afrikaans is a dead language. It belongs to the past. In the past, Africans were oppressed with this tool. Charlize Theron made this statement in order to appease Hollywood, according to another Twitter user. My opinion differs from hers. It is important to preserve the Afrikaans language, just as it is with all other languages.
How Many People Speak Afrikaans?
A firestorm has erupted in Charlize Theron’s native South Africa over her suggestion that Afrikaans, a language descended from Dutch settlers, is headed for oblivion. Approximately 44 people still speak it — it’s a dying language that is not very useful, according to the 47-year-old actor on a U.S. podcast, Smartless. One of 11 official languages in South Africa, Afrikaans is commonly used by around 12 per cent of South Africa’s 60 million inhabitants speak Afrikaans, according to World Data Info. In spite of the Bombshell star’s opinion, approximately 8.4 million people speak Afrikaans as their first language: It is one of the most widely spoken languages in South Africa, with a share of around 14%. The Afrikaans language is spoken by 8.4 million people worldwide. In the 2018 Community Survey conducted by Stats South Africa, 12.2% of the country’s population uses Afrikaans during conversations at the home, according to The Independent.
Oscar-winning actor Charlize Theron has sparked a firestorm in her native South Africa for suggesting that Afrikaans, a language descended from Dutch settlers, was heading for oblivion (dying language) 🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/eW68ROyqqj
— Stephen Mutoro (@smutoro) November 17, 2022
Charlize Theron Receives Major Backlash After Saying Her Mother Language ‘Afrikaans’ Is Dying
Recently, Charlize Theron was criticized for claiming that her mother tongue Afrikaans is on the verge of extinction. She talked about growing up in South Africa with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett on the Smartless podcast. As Charlize Theron shared during the conversation, she learned English fluently after moving to the US at the age of 19. According to Charlize Theron, dropping the South African accent was easy for her. A further claim that she made is that Afrikaans is not very popular and that there are only “about 44 people” who speak it: It’s definitely a dying language, and it’s not very useful. Social media users criticized Charlize Theron after her comments went viral online.
In addition, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) criticised the actress’ remarks as disappointing, disturbing, and inaccurate. Additionally, the PanSALB noted that Charlize Theron has a high reputation in the country of her birth, and urged her to use her platform to advocate for the importance of speaking one’s native tongue. Charlize Theron’s comments received immediate backlash, with many taking to Twitter to denounce them: So apparently only 44 people speak Afrikaans…either she is lying or over 7 million people do. Having so many angry Afrikaans on Facebook right now is funny, wrote one user. As another user wrote, Afrikaans is not a language, but rather a culture of trust, honour, and respect…which Charlize Theron does not seem to possess.
@CharlizeAfrica Don’t make statements about Afrikaans.Before you did a simple Google search:- Just to inform you “13.5% of the population of South Africa (7 million people) being native speakers, it is the third most spoken language in the country, after Zulu and Xhosa”
— Ansu Le grange (@AnsuLegrange) November 16, 2022
So apparently Charlize Theron said that only 44 people still speak Afrikaans….either she can’t count or the over 7million people who speak it are all liars. 😂😂
My Facebook is actually a funny place right now with all the very angry Afrikaans people.
Sit haar op haar plek.
— Geeky Thiomargarita 🦠🗿👩🔬💉💉💉 (@ThiomargaritaNA) November 20, 2022
Imagine me speaking Afrikaans to a Zulu man. 🤣
Omg I love my husband.
Thanks Charlize Theron 💓💓💓💓💓 pic.twitter.com/29RaHVxSFJ
— Nic🇿🇦🇺🇲 (@NBruskt) November 18, 2022
Charlize Theron said there are 44 people speaking afrikaans but I teach Afrikaans to 92 grade 7s? 😭😭😭
— svennas and coke 🥃 (@svenmeyerrr) November 18, 2022
Someone changed the language demographics of South Africa for Afrikaans to 44 people, after the Charlize Theron’s comments. pic.twitter.com/J7ww3VGPM5
— Christopher (@ChristopherMpk) November 17, 2022
— Thor 4.0 (@HashThor) November 20, 2022
I feel honoured to be one of the remaining 44 people in South Africa who still speak Afrikaans! 🇿🇦 🤣 https://t.co/COyu9JiB45 pic.twitter.com/Tw821M0Jgd
— The Kiffness (@TheKiffness) November 17, 2022
Me counting the number of people I know who still speak Afrikaans
Charlize Theron pic.twitter.com/Ais5e8I31f
— C-live from Randburg (@clivesibbs) November 17, 2022
When the Afrikaans part of the national anthem comes
Charlize Theron: pic.twitter.com/VrzxscyEEW
— Michael sCULfield (@UncleCul) November 17, 2022