Why does the SA driver's license have Portuguese text?
August 6, 2009 6:05 AM   Subscribe

Why does the South African driver's license have Portuguese writing on it?

As you can almost read in this picture, just below the words "Driver's license" are the words "Carta de conduçao". What is the history of this? The only thing I could think of was that this had something to do with the border war/occupation of Namibia and Angola, but I was unable to find any information about it.
posted by louigi to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
There's a huge Portuguese immigrant community in SA...
posted by lucia__is__dada at 6:06 AM on August 6, 2009

If you drive up to Mozambique, as a lot of South Africans like to do these days, they speak Portugese there too.
posted by Flashman at 6:14 AM on August 6, 2009

Yeah, I'd say it is because of Mozambique.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 7:02 AM on August 6, 2009

Well, in addition to the country's eleven (sic) official languages, many others are also given special endorsement and support in the recent Constitution, including Arabic, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Portuguese, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu, Urdu and sign language.

In a twist of cosmic irony, Za is in some ways one of the most inclusive nations on the planet today.
posted by rokusan at 7:20 AM on August 6, 2009

Rokusan, what do you mean by "one of the most inclusive nations"?
posted by bluedaisy at 8:17 AM on August 6, 2009

The thing is, Portuguese is the only language other than English on the license, and it seems like a strange choice. Maybe it's for Mozambique tourism, like Flashman and TheyCallItPeace suggest.
posted by louigi at 9:17 AM on August 6, 2009

Lived in ZA for almost a year. Its definitely because of Mozambique - the 2 countries have huge ties and there's a massive amount of Portuguese in ZA. Its also where many of the leaders of the revolution were based out of originally, for safety reasons (ironically).
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:11 AM on August 6, 2009

*massive amount of Portuguese speakers
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:12 AM on August 6, 2009

I don't know how old the licenses you link to are but I found this on a mozambican blog and there's another language in there I can't identify.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 3:13 PM on August 6, 2009

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