Asian Africans

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There is a large Asian presence in Africa. Most arriving following European settlement in the late 19th and early 20th century but there is continued immigration to the continent to pursue economic opportunities.

Chinese in Africa

The African continent is seeing a growing number of Chinese immigrants coming to the continent for economic opportunities. Many of the first Chinese on the continent were brought as slaves or contract labourers, similarly to the Indian community.

National Geographic also published an article by Frank Viviano; in July 2005, he visited Pate Island. During the time he stayed on Lamu, ceramic fragments had been found around Lamu which the administrative officer of the local Swahili history museum claimed were of Chinese origin, specifically from Zheng He's voyage to east Africa. The eyes of the Pate people resembled Chinese and Famao and Wei were some of the names among them which were speculated to be of Chinese origin. Their ancestors were said to be from indigenous women who intermarried with Chinese Ming sailors when they were shipwrecked. Two places on Pate were called "Old Shanga", and "New Shanga", which the Chinese sailors had named. A local guide who claimed descent from the Chinese showed Frank a graveyard made out of coral on the island, indicating that they were the graves of the Chinese sailors, which the author described as "virtually identical", to Chinese Ming dynasty tombs, complete with "half-moon domes" and "terraced entries".[1]

Indians in Africa

The Indian community in Africa is found throughout the continent with large communities existing in South Africa, Mauritius, Réunion, and other parts of the continent. The arrival of Indians on the continent often coincides with the expanding European presence on the continent. There continues to be a notable Indian presence with numbers currently estimating roughly 2,750,000 Indians on the continent. There have historically been and continue to be tensions between Indians and black communities throughout the continent. The most notable example being the expulsion of Indians by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Other Indians came more recently to Africa as traders and professional workers especially in Mozambique with its huge group of Indians. Indians in Mozambique have had a long history with their origins in Mozambique.

South Africa

The first Indians in South Africa arrived on the Cape of Good Hope as slaves brought by the Dutch East Indies Company in 1654.[2] The slaves were bought from Muslim ruled regions on the Indian subcontinent.[3] However the most significant migrations of Indians came when the Natal become a British colony and large numbers were brought as Indian indenture system.Often serving as labourers on sugar plantations, but also in coal mines. More than 150,000 Indians were brought to the Natal over the course of 5 decades. The long term result was that by 1904 the Indian presence in the Natal outnumbered the white presence.[4] The Indian community has faced legal discrimination, and such discrimination was considered a justification for the Second Boer War.[5]

East Africa

Indians arrived in East Africa as workers to build the rail links in the region while it was under British rule. Originally arriving to build the rail line between Mombasa and Nairobi and laying the foundations for the colony of Kenya, many stayed in the region after the end of their labour contracts. Nearly 32,000 labourers were brought for the construction of this rail line.[6] Following the end of these contracts many brought family from the Indian subcontinent to the region as the new link allowed for significant commercial opportunity. Relations between Asians and the black majority have not always been easy; most notably, Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda, expelled all Indians in 1972.


The Merina people of Madagascar along with the Betsileo tribe are likely of Polynesian descent. Together, they represent about 35% of the population of the island of Madagascar. These two dominant ethnic groups are commonly accepted as indigenous to Madagascar, though they are likely descendants of Malay and Polynesian immigrations. For example, the Malagasy language is unrelated to nearby African languages, instead being the westernmost member of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family.

See also


  1. ^ Frank Viviano (July 2005). "China's Great Armada, Admiral Zheng He". NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. p. 6. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "From bondage to freedom – The 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indian workers in South Africa". Archived from the original on 1 August 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Kenya's Asian heritage on display". BBC News. 2000-05-24. Retrieved 2017-09-02. 

External links

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