Botswana’s 3 most spoken local languages

With a mere population of Two point three million (2 300 000), there are over thirty languages spoken in Botswana. Actually there are Thirty-two (32) known languages that are spoken in Botswana.

With the exclusion of English, we are going to explore which of the Thirty-two (32) are the Three (3) most spoken languages in the country. We are excluding English as it is a language that was adopted from the colonial masters. Moreover, there is no local tribe that speak English as their native language.

The top Three (3) local languages most spoken in Botswana are as follows;


Setswana is an official language spoken by One million, eight hundred and thirty thousand people (1.83 million). That makes close to eighty percent (80%) of the entire population. The language is mainly popular among the ei

ght major tribes in Botswana being; Bakwena, Bangwato, Bangwaketse, Bakgatla, Barolong, Batawana, Balete and Batlokwa. By major tribes we mean in terms of population density. Other tribes speaking Setswana include Bahurutshe, Batswapong, Bakhurutse and others. Most of these tribes are located in the southern part of the country except for Bangwato, Batawana and Batswapong.


Kalanga is the second most spoken language in Botswana. It is spoken by the Kalanga tribe situated mostly in the northeastern part of Botswana and some parts of central. The Kalanga make approximately eleven percent (11%) of the population of Botswana. A significant population of Seven hundred thousand (700 000) Kalanga speakers are found in the neighboring Zimbabwe. In Botswana there are One hundred and eighteen thousand (118 000) Kalanga speakers. That makes roughly Ten percent (10%) of the population of Botswana.


Sekgalagadi is spoken by Seventy-one thousand people in the country. The tribe associated with this language is called Bakgalagadi. The tribe resides mostly in the Kalahari desert in the Kgalagadi District. A few can be found in the Kweneng District, Southern District, and Ghanzi District.

English, which is learned mostly in schools, is spoken by Six hundred and eleven thousand (611 000) people in Botswana. This number cuts across the country, and across all the tribes.

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