What Indian dialects are spoken in Durban?

Durban, located in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, is home to one of the largest Indian populations outside of India. The Indian community in Durban primarily traces its origins back to the indentured laborers who were brought to work on sugar cane plantations in the 19th century.

Given this historical context, the predominant Indian dialects and languages spoken in Durban include:

  1. Tamil: This is one of the major languages spoken by the Indian community in Durban, as many of the indentured laborers were from Tamil Nadu in India.
  2. Telugu: Another significant number of indentured laborers hailed from the Andhra region, so Telugu is also commonly spoken.
  3. Hindi: While Hindi may not have been the original language of many of Durban’s Indian community members, it has gained popularity over the years due to cultural exchanges, Bollywood’s influence, and its status as one of India’s official languages.
  4. Gujarati: There’s also a sizable Gujarati community in Durban, mainly consisting of traders and entrepreneurs who migrated after the initial wave of indentured laborers.
  5. Urdu: Some members of the Muslim community in Durban, of Indian origin, speak Urdu.

In addition to these languages, English is widely spoken by the Indian community in Durban, often as a first language. The intermingling of cultures has also led to a unique fusion of languages locally known as “Durban Hindi” or “Kitchen Hindi,” which incorporates elements of Hindi, English, and other local languages.

While these are the predominant Indian languages in Durban, the city’s rich tapestry of cultures ensures a myriad of dialects and languages coexist.