Who is an Afrikaner

'Afrikaners' are an ethnic group created by the inter mixture of the first people of Southern Africa with those from other continents who committed themselves to Southern Africa and its unique challenges.  It also designates those who have by their association adopted the Afrikaner culture and values.

Most Afrikaners can trace their DNA back to one or more of the following main groups:

  • Khoi and San, the aboriginal peoples of Southern Africa;
  • People from Continental Europe, the British Isles and even North America who settled in Southern Africa from as early as 1652; and
  • Slaves and indentured individuals brought to Southern Africa centuries ago primarily from India, Indonesia and the West and East Africa.

The vast majority of Afrikaners are bilingual, speaking both Afrikaans and English, with Afrikaans being the mother tongue of most. Afrikaners are predominantly Christian, but there are also many Muslims, Jews and individuals of further faiths or no particular faith.

Origins and Division of the Afrikaner

People at the Cape of Good Hope who no longer identified with the ruling Dutch officials used the term 'Afrikaner' to describe themselves as early as the late 1600s.

On 6 March 1707, Hendrik Biebauw made history by yelling, “I am an Afrikaner!” at Magistrate Starrenburg. His insubordination got him thrashed in front of the Cape Fort and banished from the settlement. Around this time, some Afrikaner groups (like the Oorlams Afrikaners) even started using 'Afrikaner' as a surname. One of their descendants, Jonker Afrikaner, later founded the City of Windhoek (Namibia).

Afrikaners spoke a partially creolized version of Dutch that gradually evolved into Afrikaans.

In 1819 the British Government, who had taken control of the Cape in 1814, introduced a formal program to settle some of its excess population and to form a buffer between the Cape (which was, by then, a colony) and the amaXhosa people from beyond the Fish River. But for their language, these settlers, who engaged in agriculture and stock farming, were soon indistinguishable from their existing Afrikaner neighbors.

In the years to follow, various migrations away from the Cape Colony resulted in the formation of different sub groups such as Basters, Boere, Cape Afrikaners, Griqua, Kaaplanders, Oorlams, and others.

The Society for Real Afrikaners was formed in 1875 as the driving force behind the first Afrikaans language movement. Sadly, they also hijacked the term 'Afrikaner' to designate only 'White' Afrikaans speaking individuals, and in the 1920s and 1930s various attempts were made to write the roles of Coloured and English speaking Afrikaners out of our collective history.

This not only drove a wedge between English and Afrikaans speaking Afrikaners, it also laid the foundation for the unfortunate split between 'Coloureds' and 'Whites' during the Apartheid years.


The history of mistrust, betrayal, and fractiousness among the different Afrikaner groups has led to the current identity crisis among Afrikaners.  Our mission is to address this by uniting all Afrikaners, regardless of skin color and different groupings, under the 'Afrikaner' umbrella.

We see no merit whatsoever in subdividing people who are already under threat in their own country. The differences among Afrikaners are negligible compared to the forces that currently threaten to destroy them.

Afrikaners are the majority in this region

Afrikaners  are officially considered a minority in South Africa and Namibia, this is because official statistics only consider the total population of these countries. When looking at population by region the picture tells a very different story.

Global Presence

Afrikaners started leaving South Africa in small waves from 1890 onwards to modern day Zimbabwe, Namibia, Argentina, Kenya, Northern Mexico and the Southern United States. However since 1994, more than one million Afrikaners left South Africa, citing violet crime, racial polarization and economic exclusion as the main reasons.

Countries with Significant Populations (Estimates)

South Africa 9 326 000
United Kingdom 550 000
Namibia 365 000
Australia 45 000
United Arab Emirates 100 000
United States of America 85 000
New Zealand 55 000
Zambia 41 000
Canada 40 000
Botswana 20 000

Be Counted

The population estimates above were derived from official census and other reportable information. The International Afrikaner Society is currently working on a project to determine the number of Afrikaners in various parts of the world more accurately. If you are an Afrikaner we would like to include you and your family. Sign up today as an associate member, it only takes a couple of minutes and no financial commitment is expected.

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