Xhosa booklet launched with newest gender and sexuality terminologies

The Xhosa booklet contains hundreds of gender translated terminologies.

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) on Tuesday launched the isiXhosa gender terminology booklet with the newest gender and sexuality terminologies translated to the Xhosa language.

Gender translated terms

The isiXhosa booklet is a comprehensive list containing hundreds of translated gender-related terms. It is part of a national programme by the CGE to include English gender terminologies in all 11 official languages.

“The terminologies contained in the booklet are a result of a consultative process with isiXhosa language experts, gender advocacy groups and all relevant stakeholders in the gender rights sector. This is because as the CGE we are not language experts,” said CGE’s Acting Head of Public Education and Information, Rabbuh Raletsemo, at the launch in Bisho, Eastern Cape.

Through this project, the commission hopes to improve gender equality through “indigenising gender sensitive terminology in all 11 South African official languages”. 

It has already released the Sesotho and Afrikaans booklets, and is currently working on the remaining languages. The booklets will be rolled out in all nine provinces.

Need for gender and sexuality terms in indigenous languages

The Commission for Gender Equality hopes the booklets will make it easy for people to engage in conversations relating to all sexuality groups, using the correct terminologies in their mother tongue.


Terms such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, sexual harassment, gender equality, abortion, gender parity, gender mainstreaming and gender stereotypes, as well as sexual orientation are only commonly known in the English vocabulary.

“This language development project is in line with our mandate to educate, inform and empower the public with gender terminologies that uphold human dignity and protect human rights,” added Raletsemo.

The booklet will be made available on the commission’s website.