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Fanagalo was established as a lingua franca between between speakers of various languages found in South Africa and was mainly used in mines throughout the country.

It can be viewed as a pidgin and is a simplified version of Zulu (and Xhosa) and other related languages, with adaptations of modern terms from English, Dutch and Afrikaans.

About 70% of the lexicon is from Zulu.

It evolved from contact between European settlers and African people especially in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and later also in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and even Malawi.

It is important to note that it is not a artificially-manufactured language.

The name “Fanagalo” comes from strung-together Nguni forms fana-ga-lo meaning “like + of + that” and has the meaning “do it like this”, reflecting its use as a language of instruction.

Historian Adendorff describes two variants of the language, Mine Fanagalo and Garden Fanagalo. The latter name refers to its use with servants in households. It was previously known as Kitchen Kaffir. The word “Kaffir” is the Arabic word for an unbeliever, i.e. non-Muslim, and was used by Arab slavers to refer to the indigenous black people of Africa.

It thence became a common word used by early European settlers to refer to the same people, and in the 19th century was a term for the Nguni languages, as well as an inclusive term to describe South African shares on the stock-market.

Through time “Kaffir" tended, in Southern Africa, to be used as a derogatory term for black people.

Fanagalo is also known as Fanakalo, Fanekolo, Piki, isiPiki, isiKula, Lololo, isiLololo, Pidgin Bantu, Basic Zulu and Silunguboi

(sources: 1; 2)

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