South African Passports

South African Passports

South African Passports

Have you ever wondered why our South African passports are in both English and French?


So I’m taking a little holiday to Indonesia this August and one of the many things on my to-do list is to apply for a Visa. While waiting at the consulate I noticed for the first time that my South African passport was in both English and French. I decided to look into it further and came up with the below very interesting answer.

Your passport allows you to pass through a port, and thus leave or enter a country. Originally the Pope was in charge of all such documents, but with the rise of Diplomacy and Kingdoms during the Reformation, French became the official language of Diplomacy.

When the United Kingdom defeated the French in 1818, the initial attempt to police the world was established by the British, thus in all former areas of British rule, the official documents are in English as well as French.

Most of you will know that South Africa was originally an English/British controlled area and even if your descendants are actually Afrikaners, you will still be given the English/French passport.


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