To sketch some background, English and Afrikaans were the official languages spoken in South Africa  until the change of political dispensation in 1994.  At that point another 9 languages were added to the official list, to give representation to the many languages spoken by black population groups.

These languages of South Africa fall into two main language families, Nguni and Sotho.  But good news is that most South Africans are conversant in English, particularly in urban areas, so the tourist need not fear insurmountable language barriers.

The Nguni languages include isiZulu, isiXhosa, siSwati and isiNdebele, while the Sotho languages encompass Setswana, Sepedi and Sesotho.

Here is a brief South African language guide to some common phrases:

Hello
How are you?
I am fine, thank you
Yes
No
Please
Thank You