Zambian Languages

The indigenous Zambian languages spoken are: Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, Lozi, Lunda, Kaonde and Luvale. In fact, about 90 percent of Zambians belong to these groups.


There are also other small language groups such as Ila, Mambwe, Namwanga, Tumbuka, Aushi, Lenje, Lala and Lamba, and so many others!

Just imagine, 73 different languages have been identified in Zambia! One wouldn’t be faulted to think that because of this diversity of languages the country would be plunged into conflicts. But far from it! Strangely enough the country has been a haven of peace since independence in 1964!

Contributing to the peace which Zambia has enjoyed is the “One Zambia One Nation” slogan coined by the first Zambian president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda .

Zambian Languages

Another contributing factor is the Zambian Official language, which happens to be English. With this selection, no particular tribe feels superior to others.

The coming together of different people from different tribal backgrounds to urban centers and the mines on the copperbelt has contributed to the developing of a gregarious and friendly atmosphere. This has led to people marrying across tribal lines, which was not common before.

Copperbelt Province Language

Bemba or Ichi Bemba as popularly known is mostly used by non-native speakers as a lingua franca in urban areas.

Lusaka Province Language

Nyanja, commonly called Ici Nyanja, is spoken in the capital city of Lusaka. The same language is also known as Ici Chewa in Eastern province.

It is worth noting here that all languages are spoken in almost all provinces, but they are specifically prominent in certain areas…. However, Bemba is now getting an upper-hand!

And the following are Zambian languages spoken in different provinces...

Zambian Languages By Province

North Western Province

  • Lunda - Luvale
  • Luchazi
  • Kaonde

Southern Province

  • Toka - Leya
  • Tonga
  • Baila

Central Province

  • Bisa
  • Swaka
  • Lala
  • Lamba

Western Province

  • Lozi

Luapula Province

  • Aushi

Northen Province

  • Bemba
  • Lungu
  • Namwanga
  • Mambwe
  • Nyika
  • Bisa

Eastern Province

  • Chewa
  • Kunda
  • Ngoni
  • Tumbuka
  • Nsenga
  • Nsenga Luzi
  • Cikunda

Lusaka Province

  • Lenje
  • Soli

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