4,620,000 in South Africa (2013 UNSD), increasing. L2 users: 9,100,000 in South Africa (Webb 2002). Total users in all countries: 13,731,000 (as L1: 4,631,000; as L2: 9,100,000).
Northern province; Mpumalanga province: Nkangala and Ehlanzeni districts; Gauteng province: Pretoria area; North-West province: Mortele municipality.
1 (National). Statutory national language (2004, Constitution, Article 6(1)).
Masemola (Masemula, Tau), Kgaga (Khaga, Kxaxa), Koni (Kone), Tswene (Tsweni), Gananwa (Hananwa, Xananwa), Pulana, Phalaborwa (Phalaburwa, Thephalaborwa), Khutswe (Khutswi, Kutswe), Lobedu (Khelobedu, Lovedu, Lubedu), Tlokwa (Dogwa, Tlokoa, Tokwa), Pai, Dzwabo (Thabine-Roka-Nareng), Kopa (Ndebele-Sotho), Matlala-Moletshi. Dialects Pai, Kutswe, and Pulana are more divergent and sometimes called ‘Eastern Sotho’.
Christian, traditional religion.