YouTube now speaks IsiZulu and Afrikaans

Cross posted from the Google Africa Blog.

For many Africans online, the Internet is something created by other people which we simply consume. We see this with many African languages that have a dominant presence offline (on radio, TV, newspapers), yet are underrepresented on the web today. Seeing your language appear on global services like Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail can help change that. Suddenly, you become part of the conversation.

Last November we launched YouTube in Kiswahili and Amharic with precisely this in mind. We soon began to see many people enjoying the new versions, and also saw an increase in searches, video uploads and comments in both languages.

Today, we are excited to release 2 more African language versions of YouTube - in Afrikaans and isiZulu.

This is important for several reasons. First, the new language versions create awareness among new users who are not fluent in English and have not been able to fully enjoy or understand YouTube. Second, it’s a reminder of the great local content in both languages that is increasingly finding its way to YouTube in South Africa, a country blessed with creative talent - for a taste, sample and subscribe to MduComics, JusGorilla, Die Heuwels Fantasties, and Jack Parow. There’s a lot more out there. Lastly, YouTube in South Africa is already over a year old, and with YouTube views increasing by 175% in the past year, we were eager to introduce these new features on the local domain.

If you are a native Afrikaans or IsiZulu speaker, we invite you to join this celebration, and here’s how:
  • Visit At the bottom of the page, click on language and select Afrikaans or Zulu.
  • Upload a video!
  • Share it on Google+ or Twitter with #YoutubeIsiZulu or #YoutubeAfrikaans.
Ian Parsons & Mthokozisi Dlalisa - Afrikaans & IsiZulu specialists, Google South Africa, recently watched "Nicholis Louw - Baby Baby."

Aid for Africa: YouTube partners rally to provide relief for famine

As a devastating famine continues to spread across the Horn of Africa, news outlets, nonprofits and musicians are turning to YouTube to raise awareness and funds for the more than 12 million people who are in severe need of food and water. We wanted to share with you an overview of the situation as we’re seeing it on YouTube, as well as several ways you can get involved.

News of the famine
According to the AFP, the Horn of Africa is facing the worst drought in over 60 years and tens of thousands of people have already died as a result. This video from the AFP YouTube channel offers a overview of the situation:

Nonprofits are also using video to share the voices of those afflicted with the world. Here’s a video diary from a World Food Program worker who is stationed in Dadaab, an area in Kenya near the Somali border experiencing the brunt of the crisis:

How you can help
The WFP’s videos currently all feature a direct link you can click to donate to relief efforts. Other organizations like UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders are also producing videos that help explain the extent of suffering caused by the famine.

Global nonprofit Save the Children has even teamed up with a host of Universal Music Group artists like Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Coldplay to launch the “I’m Gonna Be Your Friend” campaign to help. The featured video on the Bob Marley YouTube channel supports this campaign, and you can donate to the “I’m Gonna Be Your Friend” campaign here.

To stay updated with the latest news on this crisis, visit our CitizenTube channel where we are watching for all of the latest video from this region.

Ramya Raghavan, News and Politics Manager, recently watched “Dadaab: Get There or Die Trying.”