For at least the past century, miners in South Africa have spoken a unique language all their own, called Fanagalo. The mines were multicultural places where workers from different regions needed to learn to communicate with each other quickly. Fanagalo is a pidgin, not really a full-fledged language, that was based on Zulu and was easy for everyone to learn. It has about 2,000 words. Approximately 75% of them are Zulu, and the rest are a mix of English, Portuguese and other African languages like Xhosa.
According to Monocle Magazine, it is the only known pidgin that is based on a non-colonial language.
However, the communication barriers that existed before are not nearly as much of a problem now, and the next generation of miners feels that Fanagalo has outlived its usefulness. According to South African news site iol.co.za, the National Union of Mineworkers is requesting that the language be phased out due to safety concerns, though some older miners would still prefer to use it. Read more