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White South African

White South Africans
Total population

2014 Estimate: 4,554,800 (8.4% of South Africa's population)

2011 Census: 4,586,838 (8.9% of South Africa's population)
Regions with significant populations
Throughout South Africa, but concentrated in urban areas
Gauteng 1,920,000
Western Cape 980,000
KwaZulu-Natal 450,000
Eastern Cape 300,000
Free State 270,000
Mpumalanga 250,000
North West 240,000
Limpopo 110,000
Northern Cape 110,000
Afrikaans 61%, South African English 36%, other 3%
Christianity (87%), no religion (9%), Judaism (1%), other (3%)
Related ethnic groups
White Namibians
White Zimbabweans
British diaspora in Africa

2014 Estimate: 4,554,800 (8.4% of South Africa's population)

White South Africans are people from South Africa who are of European descent and who do not regard themselves, or are not regarded as, being part of another racial group (for example, as Coloured). In linguistic, cultural and historical terms, they are generally divided into the Afrikaans-speaking descendants of the Dutch East India Company's original settlers, known as Afrikaners, and the Anglophone descendants of predominantly British colonists. In 2011, 61% were native Afrikaans speakers, 36% were native English speakers, and 3% spoke another language as their mother tongue, such as Portuguese or German. White South Africans are by far the largest European-descended population group in Africa.

White South Africans differ significantly from other white African groups, because they have developed nationhood, as in the case of the Afrikaners, who established a distinct language, culture and faith in Africa.

The history of European settlement in Sub-Saharan Africa started in 1652 with the settlement of the Cape of Storms by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) under Jan van Riebeeck. Despite the preponderance of officials and colonists from the Netherlands, early Europeans also represented a number of other diverse nationalities. Among these were French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution at home and German soldiers or sailors returning from service in Asia. The colony remained under Dutch rule for two more centuries, after which it was annexed by Great Britain. Foundations for a large British diaspora in South Africa were laid with the 1820 Settlers and similar migrations. The discovery of firstly diamonds in Kimberley and then the Gold rush of the Witwatersrand led to an influx of many prospectors, including a large Jewish population, especially from the Baltic. The two world wars led to another influx of Polish orphans and Italian POW's who returned after the war. Finally the decolonization of Africa led to another large influx of settlers from especially former Portuguese and British colonies.


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