European People of Sub-Saharan Africa
European People of Sub-Saharan Africa
written by A. L. Hart Havens on September 1, 2022
In 2013, South Africa’s world-famous double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius (a.k.a. Blade Runner) fatally shot his supermodel girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and was convicted of murder following years of legal theatrics. Two years later in 2015, Minnesota dentist Robert J. Palmer infamously killed Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion on a hunting excursion that earned him the status of the world’s most despised individual. These two tragic incidents mark rare examples of the international media electing to highlight issues pertaining to white people and violent crime in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For example, the white South African heavyweight boxer Corrie Sanders, who became world champion after scoring an impressive second-round knockout of the Ukrainian zelenskyyite Wladimir Klitschko in 2003, was shot to death in a 2012 armed robbery of his nephew’s birthday party in an appalling ambush that should have aroused a protracted international media frenzy — but was instead quickly swept under the rug.
Unfortunately, Sanders’ murder was no isolated incident. And although the extremely high rates of murder and violent crime in both South Africa and Zimbabwe certainly affect all segments of society, it is undeniable that people of European descent are frequently singled out as targets by criminals and governments alike. Additionally, the South African government has resorted to underhanded tactics such expropriation and citizenship-based taxation in a way that disproportionately affects their fairer-skinned citizens.
In view of the outrageous media silence on this serious problem, today’s article will shed some light on the situation surrounding people of European descent who are citizens of Sub-Saharan African countries. The article focuses especially on South Africa, as it the African country with the longest and most complex history of European settlers and descendants.
For the sake of clarity, this article does not promote the placement of white Africans’ interests over the interests of other African ethnicities. Rather, it aims to provide interesting insight into a largely forgotten demographic anomaly, and in doing so will showcase the South African town of Orania, a unique project based on the principles of localism, economic self-sufficiency, and cultural preservation.
The Scramble for Africa
While settlements of European peoples have existed in North Africa at various times dating back to the ancient world (such as Greeks and Romans), it was not until the era of European exploration and expansion beginning around 350 years ago that white European settlers began appearing south of the Sahara Desert.
By the late 1800s, a phenomenon known as the scramble for Africa had begun, which placed the entire continent under the control of eight separate Western European powers, with each claiming its stake of African territory and sending its own fair-skinned settlers into the lands of the scorching sun.
England and France dominated the African colonial landscape at the peaks of their expansion, with the British controlling most of northeastern Africa including Egypt, a large chunk of the central part of the continent’s south, and a few smaller regions in the west. The French controlled an enormous swathe of land covering nearly the entire bulge of western Africa (including Algeria, Nigeria, and dozens of other countries) as well as Madagascar.
Italy controlled Libya, Somalia, and Ethiopia and Portugal held Mozambique and Angola. Germany’s main colonies were Namibia, Tanzania, and Cameroon, although all German holdings in Africa were forfeited following its defeat in World War 1. Belgium held a large section of central Africa (the Congo), and the Spanish were never a major player in Africa, holding only parts of Morocco, the Canary Islands, and Equatorial Guinea.
The Dutch controlled the southwestern part of today’s South Africa, although this colony was lost more than a century prior to World War 1. However, of the eight colonial powers mentioned, it is the tiny Netherlands that left one of the deepest cultural, linguistic, and demographic marks on Africa despite having controlled only a small territory for a relatively brief period of time. This influence will be discussed further below.
With regard to African resistance to European colonization efforts, Ethiopia stands out as the only sizeable territory in Africa to have remained independent throughout the vast majority of the colonial era. In fact, it was only a few decades prior to the post-WW2 decolonization period that Ethiopia was finally conquered. This occurred in 1937 at the hands of fascist Italy, which employed mustard gas attacks to ultimately subdue the fierce Ethiopian resistance. Curiously, the only country to provide any material support to the Ethiopians was Nazi Germany, which did so temporarily as a stark warning to Benito Mussolini in the face of a German-Italian dispute over Austria.
It certainly goes without saying that Europeans didn’t arrive to Africa with the interests of the native Africans at heart, although it is undeniable that colonization introduced vastly superior technology, infrastructure, and amenities that generally raised the standard of living across the continent, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It is estimated that Africa was home to over six million people of European descent at the peak of European colonial rule, with the heaviest concentrations located at the geographic extremes — far-northern Algeria and far-southern South Africa. In fact, white people once accounted for over 20% of South Africa’s population, marking the most significant presence in any African country in both absolute and proportionate terms.
Two Boer Wars, Diamonds, and Gold
The establishment of a Dutch colony in 1652 at the Cape of Good Hope as a resupply station en route to the Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia) marked a major milestone in the European colonization of the African continent. This colony brought the first Europeans settlers to Sub-Saharan Africa, and these original Dutch colonists alongside smaller numbers of German, French, and Scandinavian settlers (mostly Protestant refugees) would quickly coalesce to create an entirely new cultural and ethnic identity — the Afrikaners, who were historically known as the Boers (literally the farmers).
The Dutch spoken by the Boers eventually evolved into its own language — Afrikaans, which is now considered one of the easiest languages for a monolingual English speaker to master due to its highly simplified system of grammar. And as a result of the German and French influence, it is not uncommon for Afrikaners to have a German first name and French last name, a French first name with a Dutch last name, etc. However, this newly born yet extremely resilient and cohesive ethnic group would soon become embroiled in permanent struggles and conflict that have endured to present day — at times as victims and at times as oppressors.
The Dutch controlled the Cape Colony around today’s Cape Town for around 150 years before the British began to encroach into southern Africa, and this eventually brought about the annexation of the Dutch colony to the British Empire in 1806 and the declaration of English as the official language. British immigration to southern Africa then began en masse in 1820.
Rather than remain under hostile British colonial rule, the Afrikaners elected to move away from the coast and deep into the interior where they would be permitted by the British to govern themselves. During the long and grueling trek over difficult terrain (the Great Trek), the Boer Voortrekkers came into conflict with the Zulu Kingdom, leading to an 1838 war in which the Boers emerged victorious in the Battle of Blood River.
After this victory, the Boers settled in the far northwest of today’s South Africa beyond the Vaal River a thousand miles (1,600 kilometers) from the Cape Colony, where they established the independent Transvaal Republic. There were a handful of smaller Boer republics, the largest of which was the Orange Free State located on the Orange River (named after the House of Orange-Nassau, ruling family of the Netherlands).
However, the discovery of large diamond deposits in Transvaal in 1867 triggered a massive diamond rush to the region and the British suddenly became interested in annexing the Boer republics. The British eventually proclaimed the annexation of the diamond-rich territories in 1877, reneging on their promise to permit Afrikaner self-governance in the region.
In the midst of rising tensions with the Boers resulting from these territorial annexations, an unrelated conflict erupted in 1879 between the British and the Zulus, in which the Zulu warriors fought valiantly albeit unsuccessfully in a war that was depicted in the 1964 classic movie entitled Zulu. In 1880, the Boers revolted against the new British colonial administration, and this marked the start of the First Boer War (also known as the First Anglo-Boer War).
The British entered the war massively underestimating the marksmanship, unconventional tactics, and resilience of the Boer armies as well as their immunity to African diseases and knowledge of the local terrain. This combined with a number of British strategic blunders resulting from clumsy intelligence-gathering severely hampered the British war effort. After only three months of fighting, the victorious Boers were celebrating their renewed independence.
However, when the discovery of massive gold deposits in 1886 triggered a gold rush to the region, it reignited British interest in annexing the independent Boer territories. And after a failed attempt to depose the Transvaal president Paul Kruger, which was organized by the extremely influential mining magnate and high-level politician Cecil Rhodes (whose endeavors in the diamond-mining business were financed by none other than the Rothschild family), the stage was set for the Second Boer War to commence in 1899. As a quick aside, the renowned Rhodes Scholarship and the country of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) were named after Cecil Rhodes, who also served as chairman of the monopolistic De Beers diamond-mining company.
This time around, the British were much better prepared and showed up with a massive army that outnumbered the combined Boer forces by more than 10 to 1. When the tide of the war turned in favor of the British, Paul Kruger fled to Europe in order to seek aid from European powers, most notably from the German Empire’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. He was unsuccessful.
The British began placing Boer women and children in concentration camps in an effort to eliminate the remaining resistance, which was making use of guerilla warfare in a struggle that was clearly lost. The 1902 surrender marked the end of the Transvaal Republic, Orange Free State, and other Boer republics as independent territories. These became British colonies and were incorporated into the British Empire’s Union of South Africa.
It was during the Second Boer War that future UK prime minister Winston Churchill served as a war correspondent for a British newspaper and Mahatma Ghandi, who would later lead India’s independence struggle against Britain, was involved in organizing medical aid for British troops.
It is said that Paul Kruger, while fleeing Africa for Europe toward the end of the war, ordered the burial of a massive treasure of gold and diamonds worth over 500 million US dollars in today’s money near the border of Portuguese East Africa (today Mozambique) in an attempt to keep it out of British hands. The whereabouts of the treasure, which have been the subject of much speculation for over a century, remain to unknown to this day.
By the way, the Krugerrand, which features Paul Kruger on the front and an antelope-like springbok on the flip side, has been the world’s most popular gold bullion coin since the 1960s. Interestingly, South Africa’s post-apartheid government has continued to mint gold Krugerrand and even began minting silver Krugerrand in 2017.
Worthy of mention in the context of this story is Niklaas “Siener” van Rensburg, a Boer prophet who served as a confidante and advisor to high-ranking officials in the Transvaal government and military. The mystique surrounding van Rensburg and the visionary, clairvoyant abilities ascribed to him are on par with those of Rasputin. Siener van Rensburg’s obscurity outside of South Africa in combination with the importance attributed to his prophecies as pertains to past, present, and future international events have aroused much interest and debate among historians over the past century.
Apartheid Government and Nuclear Weapons
In the wake of Britain’s extremely costly World War 1 victory, the 1926 Imperial Conference and 1931 Statute of Westminster sought to grant de facto sovereignty to its overseas dominions, effectively marking the beginning of the end of the British Empire and the rise of the British Commonwealth of Nations. South Africa’s membership in the Commonwealth formally obligated it to support Britain when the British government declared war on Germany in 1939 (following the joint German-Soviet invasion of Poland). Many Afrikaners were severely unhappy about this arrangement, with some seeking to maintain neutrality and others preferring an alliance with Germany.
Upon South Africa becoming a self-governing country within the British Commonwealth, the once-marginalized Afrikaners soon gained political power through a series of election victories. And it was under this government that South Africa infamously instituted a system known as apartheid in 1948 that formally established white minority rule and granted rights to citizens according to their racial affiliation.
The four main racial groups were White, Black, Coloured, and Indian. It is worth pointing out here — in view of the antiquated manner of referring to African-Americans as colored in the United States — that Black and Coloured are distinctly different racial groups in South Africa. South Africans allocated to the Indian racial group are heavily concentrated in the eastern coastal city of Durban and are the descendants of indentured servants who arrived around 1900 from India (then a British colony). Some people of East Asian descent or nationality, particularly Japanese, were considered honorary whites and granted largely the same privileges as white South Africans. Jews were also granted full rights under the law.
Displeased with British prime minister Harold Macmillan’s famous 1960 anti-apartheid Wind of Change speech delivered in front of the South African Parliament, the Afrikaner-dominated government promptly held a (white-only) referendum on withdrawing from the British Commonwealth in an effort to sever the country’s remaining ties to British imperialism. With 52% voting in favor, South Africa became a fully independent republic in 1961 and swiftly began abolishing Commonwealth holidays like the Queen’s Birthday. However, in a conciliatory gesture toward Anglo South African whites, the government declared both Afrikaans and English as official languages and retained the British Union Jack flag as a small feature of the South African national flag.
In the late 1960s, fearing that it would have no allies to rely on in the event of a war, the South African government began pursuing the construction of nuclear bombs and eventually completed seven of them. However, when it became evident in the early 1990s that the apartheid system would soon be coming to an end, South African president F.W. de Klerk decided to scrap the nuclear program and pursue a policy of nuclear disarmament in order to prevent the new majority-rule government from obtaining access to the weapons.
The little-known fact that South Africa formerly possessed nuclear weapons is particularly fascinating given that there are officially no nuclear weapons today positioned in the Southern Hemisphere. South Africa is the only country to have possessed nuclear weapons and then later relinquished them.
It is also interesting that South Africa and Israel, two countries that were not permitted to possess nuclear weapons under the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, are widely believed to have secretly undertaken large-scale joint efforts aimed at building nuclear weapons, including a 1979 nuclear test in the southern Indian Ocean known as the Vela Incident. Israel is regarded to have been South Africa’s closest military ally during the apartheid era, and the cooperation is viewed to stem from the fact that both countries were heavily boycotted.
While South Africa had become politically isolated in the 1970s, the US government had a vested foreign policy interest in keeping the anti-communist apartheid government in power, as African allies committed to fighting communism were few and far between. This was particularly apparent in view of direct Cuban military support for communist insurgencies in nearby Angola and Namibia.
The main internal opposition to apartheid at the time, the African National Congress (ANC), was highly sympathetic to socialism and would have likely sought good relations with the Soviet Union once in power. With South Africa taking an active role in combatting Cuban and Soviet influence, the United States was content to wait out the end of the Cold War before pressuring the country to transition to black majority rule.
With harsh sanctions imposed on South Africa by the majority of the world, the country didn’t have the luxury of being selective about its friends and allies, and the country found itself in a similar position to the post-WW2 fascist world — consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and later Chile. Spain and Portugal were the only two fascist governments to survive the war, and like South Africa they quickly aligned themselves with the US-led noncommunist bloc in the Cold War (in spite of the ostracism).
South African relations with fascist Portugal were particularly close in view of the bordering Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique and the common goal of combatting Soviet and Cuban subversive action in the region, and South African and Portuguese intelligence officers met frequently for this purpose. It was not until the deaths of the long-time fascist rulers Antonio Salazar and Francisco Franco that Portugal and Spain abandoned their colonies, which primarily took place across the years 1975 and 1976.
The transition of the Portuguese and Spanish governments to pacifist parliamentary democracies led to a rapid cooling of relations with South Africa, which however had already found a new ally in fascist Chile ruled by Augusto Pinochet, who seized power in 1973. The South African and Chilean governments had a shared interest in fighting communists in southern Africa and Latin America, and this gave rise to close military ties including joint projects involving advanced naval equipment. Additionally, members of the Chilean armed forces assisted the South African war effort in Angola by intercepting and translating Cuban radio signals.
The 1980s saw a defiant South African government under P.W. Botha refusing to abandon the policy of white minority rule in the face of mounting international pressure to do so. However, by the early 1990s it had become clear that there was too much internal and external resistance to apartheid, and South African president F.W. de Klerk paved the way for majority representation and for Nelson Mandela assuming the South African presidency in 1994.
The German colony of South West Africa — today the country of Namibia — was placed under South African administration after Germany’s defeat in World War 1 and following World War 2, political control over South West Africa was deepened to the extent that the territory was effectively (although not officially) integrated into the Republic of South Africa. As a result of this, the country’s total land area during the apartheid era was significantly larger than it is today. Apartheid laws were applied to South West Africa as well until the independence of Namibia in the year 1990.
The Afrikaner Homeland of Orania and Chinese Aspirations in Africa
After witnessing the turmoil that resulted from neighboring Zimbabwe’s transfer from white minority rule under Ian Smith to black majority rule in 1980 and the rise to power of Robert Mugabe, large numbers of white South Africans of both British and Afrikaner descent fled the country in the mid-1990s in what is pejoratively referred to by those who stayed behind as the chicken run. The emigration from South Africa continued over the years (mainly to western Australia and the UK) and has its roots in surging crime, violent attacks targeting white South Africans, the expropriation of their property, and a general decline in the standard of living resulting from government corruption, economic mismanagement, and malinvestment.
This trend has continued to present day and the white population of South Africa has declined to a mere 8% from its peak of 20%. This continued emigration of white South Africans, who constitute an essential component of the country’s educated workforce, has been widely described as a massive brain drain that has adversely affected many South African industries.
Presumably in a punitive attempt to stem the tide of this outward emigration, the South African government introduced a form of citizenship-based taxation in 2021 that will make it difficult for South African citizens living abroad to remain outside of the South African tax net. And while the specifics of this policy and the potential enforcement methods are still unclear, it is widely believed to specifically target white South Africans. This in turn has led to a sharp rise in the number of South African expatriates electing to renounce their citizenship and hand in their olive-green passports. The 2022 rankings of the world’s 199 passports from most powerful (#1) to least powerful (#199) show South Africa at #96, the highest of all mainland African countries but behind the island nations of Seychelles (#57) and Mauritius (#62).
Various ideas have been suggested since the early 1990s that would establish small self-governing or breakaway territories serving as homelands for white South Africans. However, given the distribution of white people across South Africa, a country larger than the UK, France, and Germany combined, determining a specific location has always proven difficult, and the South African government is unlikely to approve of any such proposal.
However, one movement in this direction that actually came to fruition is an ethnic Afrikaner enclave founded in 1991 that has seen a steady influx of new residents in recent years. This is the Afrikaner-only town of Orania, located on the Orange River in South Africa’s desert center with a current estimated population of around 2,500. Prospective residents must obtain approval from the local government through a series of in-person interviews and background checks before being permitted to establish residence.
Among the most important requirements are demonstrating a strong commitment to the Orania movement and the ability to speak fluent Afrikaans (which today is one of South Africa’s eleven official languages alongside English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sepedi, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Tsonga, Swazi, TshiVenda, and Southern Ndebele).
One of the founding principles of Orania is a strict policy of Afrikaner economic self-sufficiency, meaning that the town refrains completely from utilizing cheap black labor. Furthermore, Orania does not receive any municipal services or public utilities from the South African government.
Residents of Orania are typically very religious and belong to either the Afrikaans Protestant Church or the Dutch Reformed Church. The town proudly displays busts of Paul Kruger and other former Afrikaner leaders who are today largely unpopular across South Africa. Rather than using the South African rand, Orania issues its own currency, the Ora (and well as the digital currency dOra and the cryptocurrency eOra). Visitors to Orania can look forward to tasting some Afrikaner delicacies such as Biltong jerky and Koeksisters braided donuts.
Orania has received mostly negative attention in international media and is often accused of attempting to create a white-only ethnostate, however the town claims that it merely seeks to provide a safe haven for the preservation of Afrikaner culture. South Africa’s post-apartheid government has largely disregarded Orania as too insignificant to worry about, although Nelson Mandela made a point of paying a conciliatory visit to the town in 1995.
While people of European descent once controlled the governments of the entire continent, the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994 effectively removed the last remnants of white political rule on the continent, although F.W. de Klerk served as Nelson Mandela’s vice president until 1996. There has not been a white president of any mainland Sub-Saharan African country since 1994 — with the sole exception of Guy Scott, who briefly held the Zambian presidency in 2014 and 2015. During British colonial rule, Zambia was known as Northern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe was known as Southern Rhodesia and later simply as Rhodesia.
Outside of South Africa, there are no longer any significant populations of European people in Sub-Saharan Africa, although small communities can still be found in most countries. A notable exception here is Burundi, which immediately expelled people of European descent upon gaining independence. The white populations of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, which were among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and had reached 300,000 and 200,000 at their peaks in the mid-1970s, today number in the mere tens of thousands.
With white people increasingly leaving South Africa, the country has unfortunately seen a concurrent wave of inward legal and illegal migration that has reportedly resulted in numerous violent crimes committed by black Zimbabweans against black South Africans, which in turn has given rise to angry protests and several cases of vigilante justice.
This is an extremely contentious issue at the moment in South Africa and has prompted western governments, mainstream media, and NGOs to pressure South African president Cyril Ramaphosa to condemn the protests and emphasize the protection of immigrant rights. Ramaphosa assumed the South African presidency in 2018 after his predecessor Jacob Zuma resigned in disgrace in the wake of leaks detailing massive corruption involving preferential treatment afforded to the influential Indian-South African Gupta family. Of all presidential-caliber politicians in South Africa, Ramaphosa is widely viewed as the most sympathetic to the Orania project.
The topic of South Africa’s current geopolitical alignment is certainly an interesting one, as the country is undoubtedly less beholden to the US and NATO now than it was during the apartheid era and it seems to be gravitating toward closer ties with China. South Africa is a member of BRICS, an economic organization seeking to increase economic cooperation among its member countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and may eventually aim to challenge the US dollar’s global reserve currency status.
From today’s perspective, the future of Africa could be a very turbulent one in view of Chinese economic, political, and military expansionism by way of the Belt and Road Initiative. Information came to light around a decade ago suggesting Chinese government plans to resettle over 300 million Han Chinese people to Africa in the near future with the aim of securing Chinese influence across the continent and easing the burden of mainland China’s extremely high population density.
It is speculated that while the Chinese move in to Africa, many millions of Africans seeking a better standard of living via higher wages or government welfare will relocate to the open-border EU and NATO countries in an unrelenting wave of immigration never seen before in modern history. A massive demographic shift threatens to irreversibly transform the face of both continents.
It remains to be seen whether European people of Sub-Saharan Africa will prefer to continue living under the current African governments, will welcome the rise of a Chinese-dominated Africa, or will consider returning to their now socialist and ultra-woke ancestral European homelands.
In any case, those who wish to have the ability to quickly respond to unexpected political developments in Africa should understand the value of a second passport. In fact, a diversified repertoire of citizenships and residency permits in different parts of the world could serve as a much-needed insurance policy for African citizens of European descent, including those who have already moved abroad.
In spite of the aforementioned difficulties associated with holding solely an African citizenship, people from western countries should not dismiss the prospect of obtaining a second or third citizenship in one of Africa’s 55 countries. With the protection of one or more passports from other continents, obtaining an African citizenship could facilitate lucrative investment opportunities and serve as a solid backup option especially in view of the upcoming rollout of a common-design African Union passport across the entire continent.