Here’s a quick primer:
Afrikaans is derived from Dutch and is the majority language of the western one-third of South Africa. Hallo! Hoe gaan dit? means ‘Hello! How are you?’ in Afrikaans.
isiZulu is the most popular home language in South Africa. If you wanted to text hello to someone via MXit, you’d write Sawubona and if you wanted to enquire if they spoke English, you’d write Ukhuluma isiNgisi na?.
Xhosa is South Africa’s second most popular common home language after Zulu.
I’m willing to bet that you were unaware Nelson Mandela is a famous Xhosa-speaker? Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know this.
5.4 million MXit users can now converse in these languages — Paul Stemmet, the General Manager of MXit Lifestyle reckons this will boost traffic and subscriptions even more. Quoting from the press release:
He believes that the new languages, coupled with the inexpensive nature of chatting via MXit (the cost of a MXit instant-message is less than 1cent, as opposed to approximately 80c for an SMS) will ensure that the current trend of some 10 000 to 12 000 new registrations signing up daily will continue.
That’s quite a substantial cost saving 1 cent vs 80 cents.
10-12k new registrations a day? Geez!