A language of Namibia

Alternate Names
“Barakwena” (pej.), “Barakwengo” (pej.), Khoe, Khwe-||Ani, Kxoe, Kxoedam, “Mbarakwena” (pej.), “Water Bushmen” (pej.), Xun

4,000 in Namibia (Brenzinger 2013). Total users in all countries: 7,300.


Zambezi and Kavango East regions, between Okavango and Zambezi rivers.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


||Xo-Kxoe, ||Xom-Kxoe, Buma-Kxoe, Buga-Kxoe, ||Ani. Minor dialect differences within Khwe. Related to ||Ani [hnh], Naro [nhr], and Khoekhoe [naq] but is quite distinct from each of these and not mutually intelligible.

Language Use

Vigorous. Many non-Khwe learn Khwe for interaction with Khwe. Positive attitudes. Also use Afrikaans [afr], English [eng], Pidgin Bantu [fng], Tswana [tsn].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 10%–20%. Literacy rate in L2: 10%–20%. Radio programs. Dictionary. Bible portions: 2010.

Latin script [Latn], developed in 2006.

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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