White people in Zambia

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White people in Zambia
Total population
English, Afrikaans
Christianity, Judaism
Related ethnic groups
White people in Botswana, White people in Zimbabwe, White South Africans

White people in Zambia or White Zambians are people from Zambia who are of European descent and who do not regard themselves, or are not regarded as, being part of another racial group.


In 1966, three years after Zambian independence, 70,000 people of European origin lived in the country, with 18 percent living in the capital Lusaka. Half of the white population lived in the Copperbelt region to the north near the border with the Congo's Katanga Province.

In the 1960s, white Zambians tended to favour white-minority rule in Rhodesia and the apartheid system in South Africa, although small numbers prevented them from establishing a similar form of government in Zambia. At the Copperbelt mines, 6,500 expatriate workers held South African citizenship. Zambian whites made up the second largest group of immigrants moving to South Africa by 1967, fearful of the changing political climate in Zambia.[2]

The black African-led government of Zambia pursued a non-racial policy that allowed white residents of the country, as they were not automatically granted citizenship by birth, to register as Zambian citizens within two years of independence, however this did not guarantee that citizenship would be awarded. President Kaunda criticised continued racial discrimination in the Copperbelt in a speech delivered in October 1966. Following the speech, 23 whites were deported for inspiring "racial and industrial unrest". White Zambians remained disproportionately represented in the armed forces until a suitable number of qualified black personnel could be trained to replace them; until 1972 most of the senior military officers, including the commander of the Zambian Army, were white.[3] For a number of years afterwards, white Zambians were explicitly barred from enlisting in the armed forces; they were also granted a blanket exemption from conscription.[4]

Modern day

In 2014, Zambia had a white population of European origin which numbered approximately 40,000.[1] Since independence, the community has never exceeded 1.1% of Zambia's population. Many long term residents have voluntarily retained South African or British nationality. However, an unknown number hold Zambian passports. Guy Scott, a white Zambian citizen and former Vice President, became Acting President of Zambia after the unexpected death of President Michael Sata.

Population chart

White Population of Zambia, 1911–2015
Government Year Whites Change Natives Percentage of Whites
British South

Africa Company


1911 1,497 - n/a n/a
1923 3,750 +2,253 1,753,000[5] 0.2%
1924 4,000 +250 n/a n/a

Protectorate of




1925 4,624 +624 n/a n/a
1931 13,846 +9,222 n/a n/a
1932 10,553 -3,293 n/a n/a
1933 11,278 +725 n/s n/a
1935 10,000 -1,278 n/a n/a
1940 15,188 +5,188 2,099,000[5] 0.7%
1943 18,745 +3,537 n/a n/a
1945 21,371 +2,626 n/a n/a
1946 21,919 +548 n/a n/a
1951 37,221 +15,302 n/a n/a
Federation of

Rhodesia and



1954 60,000 +22,779 n/a n/a
1956 64,800 +4,800 n/a n/a
1960 76,000 +11,200 3,082,627 0.2%
1961 75,000 -1,000 3,269,151 0.2%
1963 74,000 -1,000 3,368,961 0.2%
Republic of



1964 70,000[6] -4,000 3,472,843 0.2%
1966 70,000 0 3,692,409 0.2%
2005 30,000[7] -40,000 11,470,022 0.2%
2014 40,000[1] +10,000 14,950,544 0.2%


  1. ^ a b c Ahmed, Beenish (29 October 2014). "An African Country That's 0.3 Percent White Now Has A White President". thinkprogress.org. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  2. ^ Kaplan, Irving. South Africa: A Country Study. p. 846.
  3. ^ Fischer & Morris-Jones 2012, pp. 206-207.
  4. ^ Southern Africa Political & Economic Monthly. Southern African Political Economy Series (SAPES) Publications Project. 1994.
  5. ^ a b Morier-Genoud 2012, p. 196.
  6. ^ "1964: President Kaunda takes power in Zambia". BBC. 25 October 1964. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  7. ^ Ethnologue 15 report for Zambia at the Wayback Machine (archived 2016-03-04)
  • Fischer, Georges; Morris-Jones, W. H. (2012). Decolonisation and After: The British French Experience. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-27788-7.
  • Morier-Genoud, Eric (2012). Sure Road? Nationalisms in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-22261-8.

Further reading

  • Molteno, Robert; et al. (1974). Tordoff, William, ed. Politics in Zambia. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-02593-6.
  • Levinson, David (1998). Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook. Oryx Press. ISBN 978-1-57356-019-1.
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