Afrikaans is a Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia and, to a lesser extent, Botswana and Zimbabwe. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th-century dialects, and was historically referred to as "Cape Dutch" or "kitchen Dutch". Although Afrikaans has adopted words from other languages, including Malay, Khoisan languages and Bantu languages, an estimated 90 to 95% of the vocabulary of Afrikaans is of Dutch origin.
Afrikaans is the first language of about 6.9 million people in South Africa, or 13.1% of the population. It is the second-most widely spoken language in the country after English, and is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. It is also spoken as a second language by about 1.2 million people in Namibia.
The Afrikaans language originated in the Dutch vernacular of South Holland, a province of the Netherlands. The earliest known form of Afrikaans was spoken by the people of the Cape Colony, the southernmost tip of Africa, from 1652 to 1795. The Dutch East India Company established the colony as a refreshment and provisioning station for ships travelling to and from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).
The Dutch settlers in the Cape were from a wide variety of backgrounds, including German, French, Indonesian, Malay, and other European nations. As a result, the Afrikaans language developed as a pidgin, or simplified form of communication, between these different groups.
In the early 1800s, the Dutch government began to promote the Afrikaans language as a way to unify the different cultures in the Cape Colony. They did this by establishing Afrikaans-language schools and publishing Afrikaans-language books.
In 1875, the Afrikaans Language Monument was erected in Paarl, the first town in South Africa to have Afrikaans as its primary language.
Today, Afrikaans is spoken by millions of people in South Africa and Namibia, and is also used as a second language in Botswana and Zimbabwe. It is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is used in education, government, media, and literature.