A language of Zambia

Alternate Names
Chitonga, Plateau Tonga, Zambezi

990,000 in Zambia (2006), increasing. 427,000 Tonga, 12,000 Toka, 7,900 Leya. Population total all countries: 1,127,000.


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

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, We (Valley Tonga). Related to Ila [ilb].

Language Use

Recognized for educational and administrative purposes. Home, community, market, administration. All ages. Positive attitudes.

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

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

Also spoken in:

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