Charlize Theron faces backlash after saying Afrikaans, her mom tongue, is dying out.


Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron is going through fierce criticism in South Africa after saying her mom tongue, Afrikaans, is “a dying language.”

The “Monster” and “Tully” star made the feedback on Monday’s episode of the “Smartless” podcast, saying that the language that she grew up talking was fading out.

Theron, 47, who revealed she solely discovered to talk English fluently when she moved to the USA at 19, stated there’s “about 44 people still speaking” Afrikaans.

“It’s definitely a dying language, it’s not a very helpful language,” she informed hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett.

Theron’s remarks quickly sparked a social media debate in South Africa. Whereas some branded her ill-informed, others agreed that Afrikaans was a “dead language.”

“Charlize Theron is a legend!” one Twitter commentator wrote. “Indeed Afrikaans is a dead language. It belongs in the past. It’s a tool once used to oppress Africans.”

One other Twitter person stated: “This statement was made by Charlize Theron to appease Hollywood. I do not concur with her. As with all other languages, the Afrikaans language must be preserved.”

Tim Theron, a South African actor and director of no relation to Theron, commented below a clip of the podcast shared on Instagram: “We’re extraordinarily happy with Charlize and every part she has achieved … however we’re additionally very happy with our range and our wonderful and exquisite official languages, of which Afrikaans is one.

“It’s not a ‘dying language’, and it’s not only spoken by 44 people. It’s spoken by millions of people, there are new songs and poems being written every day, movies made etc.”

CNN has contacted Theron’s representatives for additional remark.

On Thursday, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), which was set as much as promote multilingualism within the nation, responded with an announcement calling Theron’s feedback “disturbing,” including that stats present Afrikaans is the third most spoken language within the nation.

“These comments made by Ms Theron perpetuate the persistent misconception that Afrikaans is only spoken by white ‘boere’ South Africans, which could not be farther from the truth as 60% of the people that speak the language are black,” the assertion stated.

The PanSALB went on so as to add that Theron was held in excessive regard by South Africa and wanted to “continue the commendable work of using her platform to highlight some of the critical socioeconomic issues that affect the continent including the importance of participating in public life using one’s mother tongue.”

Afrikaans, a language first launched by Dutch colonial settlers and imposed on non-whites by the apartheid regime, is considered one of 11 official languages acknowledged in South Africa. It contains phrases from Asian Malay, Malagasy, Khoi, San, Xhosa, French and Portuguese.