This Is the Only African Country That Recognizes Spanish As Its Official Language
Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country in central Africa. Named for its proximity to the equator, it is bordered by Cameroon and Gabon and spans about 28,000 square kilometers.
The coastal nation comprises Río Muni, a land mass on the continent, and five islands in the Gulf of Guinea.
Originally colonized by the Spanish, Equatorial Guinea is the only African country that recognizes Spanish as its official language. It also recognizes French and, most recently, Portuguese. However, Spanish remains the most widely spoken language, with its motto being “Unidad, Paz, Justicia.”
Would you recognize the Equatorial Guinean accent? Neither do these TikTok users
Native Equatoguinean Cathy Afrorizada shed some light on this vibrant yet elusive African country. She did so after being asked about her unique accent on TikTok. In her answer, she illuminated us — and perhaps much of the world — on the language, culture, and people of Equatorial Guinea.
She explains that her light complexion is because her grandfather was Spanish, informing us of the country’s long history of colonization. She goes on to share that Equatorial Guinea only very recently gained independence from Spain in 1968 and that, as of 2021, the population was around 1.5 million.
“Somos muy pequeños,” she laughs.
A small but very diverse country
The country’s capital is Malabo, located on the island of Bioko, where the nation’s main international airport is. Afrorizada notes that there are many tribes in her homeland and that aside from Spanish, each tribe speaks its own native tongue.
However, the prevalence of Spanish is undeniable, as she reiterates that Spanish is spoken in school, in casual conversation on the street — everywhere. French is a secondary language, as French-speaking countries surround them and essentially need it to communicate with their neighbors.
She concludes by answering the original question posed about her accent, which we learn is significantly influenced and defined by the language her specific tribe speaks.
This information is essential for everyone to learn, but even more so in the Latinx community, which is mainly Spanish-speaking. It’s so comforting to know that we can travel across the world to Equatorial Guinea and still feel at home. It’s a small world, after all.
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