Not many people associate Africa with white people, but much of the continent has a history of European colonization. Economic ties continue today with former colonizers. In most countries, whites are a relatively small minority. Here are 8 African countries with the largest white populations.
The total population of the Ivory Coast is just over 23 million. The majority of whites are of French descent since the country was a French protectorate for over 100 years. Ivory Coast has the third largest population of French-speaking people in the world. The country’s entertainment industry made its mark on the Oscars, winning Best Foreign Language Film for “Black and White in Color.” Abidjan–the Ivory Coast’s economic capital–has a European flair, serving as the fashion capital of the country with Parisian trends often dominating the shops.
The total population of Senegal is around 15.5 million and like the Ivory Coast, the country has a large French-speaking population because of former French rule. Laurence Gavron became the first white woman to stand in parliamentary elections in 2012. In Senegal, white people are referred to as “toubab.” The term doesn’t have negative connotations, but means “wealthy traveler.” Before Gavron, only one white had a seat in Parliament.
Only 3 percent of the 2,304,500 people living in Botswana is white — around 64,000 individuals. In Setswana–one of the country’s main languages–“lekgoa” is slang for a white person. There are several interpretations of the word, including some form of a sea creature. The country was formerly under British rule. Sometimes the word is meant to be derogatory.
Tunisia has nearly 11.5 million people and its white population is mostly of French and Italian descent as a result of a major Italian migration to Northern Africa in the mid 1900s. Tunisia was also part of the French empire and still uses the Berber calendar–a leftover from the Roman period. French, Italian, and English are three of the main languages spoken here.
Madagascar has a total population of about 25 million. Residents do not consider themselves African, but because of former French colonial rule, most economic, political and cultural ties are with French-speaking African countries in Western Africa. Caucasians make up less than 1 percent of the total in Madagascar, and they’re treated like outsiders. Many Madagascar residents resent Europeans who stayed on the island after French colonization.
Namibia has a total population of about 2.5 million and was once under German rule, which is why you find city names like Windhoek and a large number of German descendants. There is still steady German migration to the country. Other caucasians are Portuguese or English immigrants and the official language of Namibia is English. Most whites of English descent moved here from South Africa, while most Portuguese speakers are refugees from the Angolan civil war.
Angola has a total population of 26 million and the caucasian population accounts for slightly over 1 percent. The majority of white Angolans are of Portuguese descent because Portugal colonized the country from the 1500s to the 1800s. Caucasians have faced resentment over the years for having economic privileges. This resentment caused significant white flight to Europe.
South Africa has just under 56 million people and is home to the largest European-descended population in Africa. Of the white population, 61 percent speaks Afrikaans, over 30 percent speaks English, and 3 percent speaks other languages including Portuguese and Dutch. The country was under Dutch and British colonization. South Africa’s white population isn’t all affluent. More than 400,000 white South Africans are thought to live in poverty and the country has around 80 white squatter townships for Afrikaans-speaking whites.
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