The study investigated the linguistic challenges faced by Setswana-speaking Grade 7 learners when writing Science examinations in English. Learners from rural and township schools are only introduced to English as a language of learning and teaching in Grade 4, which creates problems for the learners because English is foreign to them. Teachers help by translating words or code-switching but it become a problem in the examinations because teachers cannot help the learners during the examination session. Since starting as a Grade 7 Mathematics and Science teacher almost three years ago, I have noticed that Grade 7 Setswana-speaking learners are struggling to understand the language used in formal assessments, which is English. I decided to investigate the linguistic challenges these learners face when writing Science examinations in rural and township schools. The purpose of conducting this research is to help policymakers to meet the linguistic needs of non-native English speakers. The study will also make curriculum development specialists and those who set provincial question papers aware of the linguistic challenges faced by non-native speakers of English in primary schools. Lastly, the study will help readers gain a better understanding of why some teachers prefer to use indigenous languages when they teach over English and why some prefer to use English over indigenous languages. Many literature sources state that non-native English-speaking learners underachieve academically because of learning in a language that is not their first language (O’Connor & Geiger, 2009; Dawber & Jordan, 1999; Ortiz, 1997; Statham, 1997). The participants comprised of four purposively selected Grade7 Natural Science teachers, two SGBs and Grade 7 learners from two primary schools in Hammanskraal, Gauteng. This study followed a qualitative research approach and falls under the interpretive research paradigm. It is a phenomenological study and focuses on the lived experiences of teachers and learners. Methods of data collection used were classroom observations, interviews, questionnaires, and document analysis. Data gathered indicated that Setswana-speaking learners made basic errors such as spelling, sentence construction, grammar, incomplete sentences, mixed languages, using words that do not exist, tenses and understanding instructions. Recommendation to the SGBs is that they should consider these linguistic challenges when they draft language policies for rural and township schools.