Posted on November 17, 2022

Charlize Theron Under Fire Over Afrikaans ‘A Dying Language’ Comments

Agence France-Presse, November 17, 2022

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.

“There’s about 44 people still speaking it — it’s definitely a dying language, it’s not a very helpful language,” the 47-year-old actor said Monday on a US podcast, “Smartless.”

By Thursday South Africans took to Twitter to voice outrage or support.

“Wow what a disrespectful comment to the millions of South Africans of all ages, races…that speak Afrikaans as their first language,” said @Juleanor.

“Thank you Charlize Theron – that…racist language is dying and shouldn’t even be recognized,” said @SaboSizwe, in contrast.


Laws imposing Afrikaans played a role in the oppression of black citizens during the apartheid era, and the language remains controversial in some sectors of society today.

A lawmaker from the opposition radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party tweeted in support of Theron’s remarks, but the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), a small rightwing and predominantly white Afrikaner party, said she was misguided.