12. Zimbabwe 30,000 (English according to 2010 estimates
In contrast to the rest of British-ruled Central Africa, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) was once intended to become a “white man’s country” – to be settled and ruled by permanent European colonists. Until Zimbabwean independence in 1980, white Rhodesians prevailed over the nation politically, socially, and economically. They numbered some 240,000 by late 1979; citizens of British origin comprised at least three-fourths of this figure and those from England or Wales predominated, while Scots were an almost overlooked minority. Most were fairly recent immigrants, particularly blue collar workers attracted by the promise Rhodesia’s economic opportunities offered in contrast to their own war-damaged homeland. Throughout the 1960s they were joined by South Africans and colonials from British dependencies elsewhere.
The white population in Zimbabwe dropped from a peak of around 300,000 in 1975 to 170,000 in 1982 and was estimated at no more than 50,000 in 2002, possibly much lower.
With the ensuing Rhodesian Bush War and Zimbabwean independence under Prime Minister Robert Mugabe in 1980, over one-fifth of white Rhodesians, including most resident Afrikaners, emigrated abroad.
11. Kenya 32,000 (English according to 2011 Census)
There were 60,000 white settlers living in Kenya in 1965. Today, they are estimated to be around 30,000. Well known Britons born in Kenya include road racing cyclist Chris Froome and evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins.
10. Zambia 40,000 (English, some Afrikaans)
At the brink of the country’s independence in 1964, there were roughly 70,000 Europeans (mostly British) in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia before independence), making up roughly 2.3% of the 3 million inhabitants at the time. Zambia had a different situation compared to other African countries. It included segregation, similar to South Africa,Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South-West Africa (Namibia); but as the Europeans constituted a smaller fraction of the population they did not dominate politics. There were a few cities in Northern Rhodesia that had British place names, but all except one (Livingstone) were changed when the country became independent or soon after. These included:
- Abercorn → Mbala (1964)
- Bancroft → Chililabombwe
- Broken Hill → Kabwe (1966)
- Feira → Luangwa (1964)
- Fort Jameson → Chipata
- Fort Rosebery → Mansa
Guy Scott served as acting president of Zambia after the death of Michael Sata.
9. Mozambique 45,000(Portuguese according to 2013 estimates)
The first Portuguese settlements in Africa were built in the 15th century. The descendants of the soldiers who accompanied Christopher da Gama expedition to support theEthiopian throne in the 16th century continued to exert a significant influence in that country’s history over the next two centuries; for example, the Empress Mentewab was extremely proud of her Portuguese ancestry. In the late 17th century, much of Portuguese Mozambique was divided into prazos, or agricultural estates, which were settled by Portuguese families. In Portuguese Angola, namely in the areas of Luanda and Benguela, there was a significant Portuguese population. In the islands of Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe, besides Portuguese settlers, most of the population was of mixed Portuguese and African origin. The descendants of the Portuguese settlers who were born and “raised” locally since Portuguese colonial time were called crioulos.
In the early 20th century, the Portuguese government encouraged white migration to the Portuguese territories of Angola and Mozambique, and by the 1960s, at the beginning of the Portuguese Colonial War, there were around 650,000 Portuguese settlers living in their overseas African provinces, and a substantial Portuguese population living in other African countries. In 1974, there were up to 1,000,000 Portuguese settlers living in their overseas African provinces. In 1975, Angola had a community of approximately 400,000 Portuguese, while Mozambique had approximately more than 350,000 settlers from Portugal.
Most Portuguese settlers were forced to return to Portugal (the retornados) as the country’s African possessions gained independence in the mid-1970s, while others moved south to South Africa, which now has the largest Portuguese-African population (who between 50-80% came from Madeira), and to Brazil. When Mozambican Civil War (1977–1992) began suddenly, large numbers of both Portuguese-born settlers and Mozambican-born settlers of Portuguese blood went out again.
However, after the war in Mozambique, more Portuguese settlers returned and the newer ones settled Mozambique while White Brazilians, especially those of Portuguese descent, moved to Mozambique to work as aid workers and investors and have adopted Mozambique as their home. It is estimated the population of Portuguese people in Mozambique has increased to over 20,000 since the peace settlement of Mozambique in 1992. Notable demographics of Portuguese Mozambicans could be found in cities likeMaputo, Beira, and Nampula with Maputo accumulating the highest percentage. In recent years, some Portuguese have migrated to Angola for economic reasons, mainly the country’s recent economic boom. In 2008, Angola was the preferred destination for Portuguese migrants in Africa.
In Mozambique, the British population numbers 1,500. When Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975, most British people left for either Rhodesia or South Africa, while others resettled in Portugal and Brazil. However, just like Angola, the British population in Mozambique is/was tiny compared to both their share of the nation’s population and in comparison to the Portuguese.
8. Ivory Coast 50,000 (French)
There is still a comparatively large European population living in the former West African colony of the Ivory Coast, which had the largest French population of France’s former colonies of sub-Saharan Africa, numbering 60,000 in 1980, though its numbers are believed to have declined since then. There are also important white minorities in Gabon, Senegal, and Togo. As of December 31, 2011 there were 83,276 French citizens in West and Central Africa altogether.
7. Senegal 50,000 (French)
As a concept, “racism” in Senegal is different from racism in the U.S., which is about power imbalances within our society. In Senegal, this is a foreign concept. People here are very much interested in looking beyond color lines. Many Senegalese people asked me, with a tone of sad fascination, about the racism that goes on in the U.S..
Nonetheless, skin color is definitely engrained in the minds of people in Senegalese society. There is “the Negritude movement,” started by Senegal’s first president Leopold Senghor, and people here are truly “fier d’être noir” (proud to be black). Yet “race” is also obviously tied to a history of foreign oppression that has led some people to develop what I heard one Senegalese friend-of-a-friend refer to as “la mentalité nègre”—the instinct to see white skin and see an opportunity for profit.
6. Botswana 64,000 (English, Afrikaans)
White people in Botswana are Botswana people whose ancestry lies within the continent of Europe, most notably the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Currently, White Africans are a minority ethnic group in Botswana, accounting for 3% of the country’s population. The White population usually speak Afrikaans as well as other European languages, most notably English.
5. Tunisia 103,000 (French, Arabic, and Italian)
Large numbers of French people settled in French North Africa from the 1840s onward. By the end of French rule in the early 1960s there were over one million European Algerians, mostly of French origin (known as pieds noirs, or “black feet”) living in Algeria, consisting about 16% of the population in 1962. There were 255,000 Europeans in Tunisia in 1956. Morocco was home to half a million Europeans. French law made it easy for thousands of colons, ethnic or national French from former colonies of Africa,French India and French Indochina, to live in mainland France. 1.6 million European colons migrated from Algeria, Tunisia, andMorocco. As of December 31, 2011 there were 94,382 French citizens in all three countries, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
The Italians had a significantly large, but very quickly diminished population in Africa. In 1926, there were 90,000 Italians in Tunisia, compared to 70,000 Frenchmen (unusual since Tunisia was a French protectorate). Former Italian communities also once thrived in the Horn of Africa, with about 50,000 Italian settlers living in Eritrea in 1935.
4. Madagascar 120,000 (French)
A sizeable number of French people reside in Madagascar, many of whom trace their ties to Madagascar back to the colonial period. An estimated 20,000 French citizens live and work in Madagascar in 2011. Currently, approximately 120,000 people, or 0.6% of the total population, are of French heritage. This community is descended from French settlers who arrived in Madagascar during the 19th century. A further 80,000 people are classified as Réunionese Creole, therefore bringing the total number of people with French ancestry to approximately 1%. The numbers make Madagascar the home of the largest ethnic French population in terms of absolute numbers in sub-Saharan Africa, other than the French département Réunion.
3. Namibia 154,000 (Afrikaans, German, English according to 2013 estimates
In the mid to late 19th century and beforehand, South African trekboers found their way into Namibia (then South-West Africa) during separate quests to avoid aggressive British imperialism at home. A significant number even penetrated as far north as Angola during theDorsland Trek. Others established an independent republic at Upingtonia in 1885, although this proved to be short-lived.
The South-West became a German colony during the late 19th century, and with the onset of the First World War a number of local Boers volunteered to serve with the imperial authorities against invading Allied troops. After that conflict left the territory under South African occupation, thousands of fresh Afrikaner migrants poured into the region to occupy available plots of prime stock-farming land and exploituntapped resources. Their government further encouraged new settlement by offering easy loans, necessary infrastructure, and more expropriated land to white newcomers. This policy was generally considered a success, as South-West Africa’s white population more than doubled between 1913 and 1936.
Current estimates for the Afrikaner population in Namibia range from 60,000 to 120,000; they continue to make up the majority of the country’s white citizens. 45% of the best ranging and agricultural land is presently owned by Namibians of European background, mostly Afrikaner ranchers.
2. Angola 200,000 (Portuguese citizens of any ethnicity according to 2012 estimates)
There were originally around 2,000 Boers in Angola, descendants of those who had survived Namibia’s unforgiving Dorsland Trek. For fifty years they formed a distinct enclave in the underdeveloped Portuguese territory, joined by new Afrikaner migrants in 1893 and 1905. By 1928, however, the South African authorities arranged to have 300 such households repatriated to Outjo, where they settled comfortably into farming. The few Afrikaners who remained fled their homes during Angola’s subsequent colonial and civil wars.
1. South Africa 4,602,000 (Afrikaans, English according to 2013 estimates)
Dutch settlement, under the United East India Company, began in the Cape of Good Hope (present-day Cape Town) in 1652, making it the oldest Western-based culture in Sub-Saharan Africa. The first Hollanders to set foot on this shoreline had neither the initial desire nor the intention to subjugate the native inhabitants, preferring instead to focus on establishing a refreshment station for ships carrying goods from the Orient to Europe’s busy ports via the Cape of Good Hope.
Some of these early Afrikaners, however, became “free burghers”, and set about clearing and cultivating the almost uninhabited country. Joined by French Huguenots, they permanently settled an area of 170,000 square kilometers; about six times the area of the Netherlands. As the Cape colony expanded, Dutch farmers (Boers) pushed outward, carving more homesteads from the vast wilderness. By the late 19th century, some had even crossed the Limpopo river into Mashonaland, now part of Zimbabwe.
In subsequent decades, South Africa’s Afrikaner population (the largest white minority on the continent) increased dramatically. During apartheid, their numbers were bolstered by immigrants from Germany, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. According to a 1992 study, the number of Afrikaners was increasing at a modest rate, yet one that is fairly high compared to Europe.
Afrikaners are represented in every province of South Africa, although relatively few reside in the southeastern regions. The greatest concentration of white South Africans appear in Gauteng (which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria) and the Western Cape (which includes Cape Town).