A language of Zambia

Alternate Names
Chitonga, Plateau Tonga, Zambezi

1,330,000 in Zambia (2010 census), increasing. 55,600 Toka-Leya, 1,270,000 Tonga (2010 census). Population total all countries: 1,467,000.


Southern and Western provinces. With Ila [ilb] it predominates the south.

Language Maps
Language Status

2 (Provincial). De facto provincial language in Southern and Western provinces.


Chitonga, Leya, Mala, Shanjo (Sanjo), Toka (Southern Tonga), Twa of Kafwe (Kafue Twa), We (Valley Tonga).

Language Use

Recognized for educational and administrative purposes. Home, community, market, administration. All ages. Positive attitudes. Used as L2 by Lenje [leh].

Language Development
Taught in primary and secondary schools. Newspapers. Radio programs. TV. Bible: 1963–1996.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Different from Tonga [tog] of Malawi, Tonga [toh] of Mozambique, or Tsonga (Tonga) [tso] of Mozambique.

Also spoken in:

Expand All Collapse All