Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition


Letters/Discussion Forums

Are there still Afrikaans-speaking Jews left in SA?



Jonathan Ossher

What stands out most in my memory is that it included letters written in Afrikaans by the rabbi to Afrikaans-speaking Jewish children, presumably in the (then) Orange Free State. I don’t know whether they were more comfortable in Afrikaans, having grown up in that environment, or whether they were descendants of the Boerejode from Anglo-Boer War days.

What I would be interested to know is what happened to those children. While, I presume, most of them would have migrated away during the general Jewish (and non-Jewish) depopulation of the platteland, some of them may well have remained. I think they would be between 50 and 70 years old now.

Can anyone supply any information about this modern-day lost tribe? Are there any Jews that still speak Afrikaans as a first language?



Continue Reading


  1. Izak Mentz

    Mar 4, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    ‘Good question. I’m from Humansdorp (which you’ll know well given where you’re from and for context); I now reside in Johannesburg. Here I was confronted with Jewish culture, which I did not even know of growing up (regte platteland). I often ask the same question as you have. I live in Norwood (historically a suburb with a very strong Jewish presence) and one day randomly came across an old Afrikaans couple in Woolies who converted to Judaism. Apparently there are about 7/8 of these families. I haven’t seen them since.’

  2. Rita Boshoff

    Oct 27, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    ‘I am looking for a Afrikaans Shul in Johannesburg? I heard there is one in Genesis Centre but could not find it on google. ‘

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.