Venda - Tshivenda

1.  Classification / Classification

Venda belongs to the Venda Group of Bantu (Guthrie S21). (Webbook?)

It is also known as Tshivenda or Tsivenda.

Ethnologue? lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Venda (S.20)

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

It is spoken in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue:

  • 876,409 in South Africa (1996 census)
  • 84,000 in Zimbabwe (1989)
  • Population total all countries: 960,409

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

According to Ethnologue:

  • Phani
  • Tavha-Tsindi
  • Ilafuri
  • Manda
  • Guvhu
  • Mbedzi
  • Lembetu
  • Tavhatsindi

5.  Usage / Utilisation

Venda is an official language in South Africa.

Venda is used in government notices in South Africa. It is also an important regional language and used on internal radio broadcasts by the South African Broadcasting Company. (Webbook)

Literacy rate in South Africa (according to Ethnologue):

  • L1: ?
  • L2: Fairly low

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

Venda has a Latin-based orthography that includes five diacritic characters (each in upper and lower case). See the detailed discussion at Venda orthography.

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

The diacritic characters are: Ṅ ṅ Ḓ ḓ Ḽ ḽ Ṋ ṋ Ṱ ṱ
See for more information.

See also:

A sample text is shown on the "Language Museum" site:

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

A Unicode font should suffice (need info on ranges).

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

A South African multilingual keyboard for different operating systems is available at

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

The South African language site "Batho Portal" has a section on & in TshiVenda. has three short stories by Mbodi Khorombi online:

Wikipedia in Venda at (about 70-80 articles as of 5-2007)

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés has facilitated localisation of the following into Venda (list not necessarily complete):

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

  • ISO 639-1: ve
  • ISO 639-2: ven
  • ISO 639-3: ven

7.6  Locales / Paramètres régionaux

7.7  Other / Autre

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile supports Venda:

9.  Comments / Remarques

10.  References / Références, "Tshivenda (Venda),"

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Venda," )

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Venda,"

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "TshiVenḓa,"ḓa

______, "Venda language,"

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Categories: Languages, South Africa, Southern Zimbabwe