natural wastage


Anglo-Africans are people of primarily Sub-Saharan Africa whose first language is English. Most are of British descent, although they can be of any ancestry, with Irish, French Huguenot, Jewish, and Italian being rather prevalent minority ones. Most live in Southern Africa.


Ethnicity is a politically loaded and historically painful topic in South Africa, and therefore many South Africans do not speak of it. While some conservative English speakers still cherish the nametag "British", others view it as an obsolete when speaking of ethnicity. The phrase Anglo African is today used, somewhat loosely, to refer English speakers in Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. The largest number live in South Africa and other countries in Southern Africa - Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Lesotho, and Swaziland. A sizeable number also come from Kenya in East Africa. A few are from Nigeria in West Africa.

Unlike the Afrikaners, they have not constituted a coherent political or cultural entity in South Africa, hence the absence of a commonly accepted term, although 'English South African' or 'English-speaking South African' are much used.

An Afrikaans term for Anglo African is rooinek, meaning "red neck" (derogatory depending on context ). It arose as a nickname in the early days of settlement, as a reference to the then red collars of British military uniforms, from the red markings the British farmers put on their imported Merino breed of sheep, or to the fact they were sunburnt easily, because unlike the Afrikaners, they were new to Africa, and so dressed inappropriately, i.e. wore inadequate hats, e.g. pith helmets, or no hat at all. This term is not related to the American term redneck (a derogatory term for certain segments of rural North Americans); the former probably refers to a sunburnt neck, while the latter North American term is derived from American history.


Although there were small temporary British settlements along the West African coast from the 1700s onwards, British settlement in Africa began in earnest only at the end of the eighteenth century, in the Cape of Good Hope.

British settlement in the Cape gained momentum following the success of the second British attempt to annex the Cape from the Dutch East India Company, and the subsequent encouragement of settlers in "Settler Country" in the Eastern Cape in an effort to consolidate the colony's eastern border following the Cape Frontier Wars against the Xhosa.

Britain expanded the Cape Colony northwards into Khoikhoi and San lands. Many Britons settled in the region, but developed a culture distinct from that in Britain; a culture which had similarities to developing Australian and Afrikaner cultures. Livingstone famously explored southern Africa, and was the first European to set eyes on Victoria Falls. He is a key character in Anglo African history, being one of the first well-known Britons to believe his heart was in Africa.

In the late nineteenth century, the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand and diamonds in Kimberley further encouraged colonisation by Britons, Australians, Americans and Canadians. Following the defeat of the Afrikaners after the First and Second Boer Wars, Britain annexed the Boer Republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State.

Cecil John Rhodes dreamt of a British Africa from Cape Town to Cairo, and the BSAC conquered Mashonaland, Matabeleland and some settlements further north, which became known as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia). The search for gold drove expansion north into the Rhodesias (now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi). Simultaneously, British settlers began expansion into the fertile uplands (often called the "White Highlands") of British East Africa (now Kenya and Tanzania). Black Nationalist guerrilla forces aided by Soviet expertise and weapons soon drove the colonists into a fortress mentality which led to the break-off of ties with perceived collaborationist governments in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations. The result was a series of conflicts which eventually led to a reduced presence of British Africans due to emigration and natural wastage. Many were murdered, tens of thousands driven off their lands and property, with many of those remaining being intimidated and threatened by the government and political and paramilitary organizations. As a result, over 2,000,000 British Africans were killed, pushed out, deported or went into exile from the original British colonies and few thousands of British settlers left during and after independence. In spite of it, in all of these colonies, a number of well connected extremely wealthy settlers remained to live following independence and the introduction of black rule in the second half of the twentieth century as the birth rate of Anglo-Africans increased.

Modern history

Following the ideological rise of anti-colonialism throughout the Empire, many British protectorates and colonies were granted independence.


Resistance to the British government’s adopted policy of No Independence Before Majority Rule (NIBMAR), resulted in the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) of the Rhodesian government on 11 November 1965. The NIBMAR policy was perceived as irresponsible by supporters of the governing Rhodesian Front party, led by Ian Smith. Not long after UDI a protracted Bush War was fought in Rhodesia until 1979.

South Africa

Most English-speaking whites in South Africa supported the United Party of Jan Smuts, which favoured close relations with the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, rather than the Afrikaner Nationalists, many of whom, like John Vorster, supported Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Many opposed moves to make the country a republic, voting "no" in the 1960 referendum, but following the establishment of a republic in 1961 (and South Africa's consequent withdrawal) from the Commonwealth, other English-speaking whites began to support the National Party.

In spite of being perceived as more politically liberal than Afrikaners, in the 1992 referendum in which whites were asked whether or not they supported the negotiated reforms begun by State President F.W. de Klerk two years earlier, election analysts reported that support to dismantle apartheid among the Afrikaners was actually slightly higher than among English speakers. South Africa became fully democratic in 1994.

Efforts are being made by a few Anglo-Africans to secure minority rights. However, the vast majority of are supporting South Africa's official opposition, the Democratic Alliance.

In South Africa, Anglo-African is a term which is commonly replaced by English-speaking White South African.

Global presence

Fearful of crime and the possibility of South Africa's adopting a policy like that in Zimbabwe, a significant number of Anglo-Africans have emigrated to countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, where many teach ESL. Many Anglo-Africans from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania have even settled Mozambique after the time it became a member of Commonwealth in 1992 and Namibia which came under South African rule after the First World War.

A large number of young Anglo-Africans are taking advantage of working holiday visas made available by the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries to gain work experience. The favourable exchange rate with the South African Rand (ZAR) also increases the attractiveness of international experience.


Anglo Africans generally enjoy an outdoor lifestyle and fondness for sport. The braai , although originally Afrikaans, is a popular way to gather friends. Another pastime is that of visiting game reserves, hiking and camping. There is a particular appreciation of country life and farms are often bought as weekend retreats. Farmers themselves generally prefer holiday houses at the coast. In other ways the culture of Anglo-Africans is more Anglo than African; afternoon tea - in fact, tea at any time of day - is still widespread as are pastimes such as gardening and reading. Families who live in the country are usually familiar with previously practical pastimes such as riding and shooting. Riding is popular in town and country alike and drag-hunting is carried out by the Cape Hunt and the Rand Hunt. Polo is more accesible in South Africa than in the United Kingdom and very popular amongst farmers. The most avidly followed (and participated in) sports are rugby, cricket and tennis. Many Anglo-Africans will follow South African as well as British news and watch BBC and Sky News rather than CNN, and prefer British humor as expressed by Fawlty Towers and the Blackadder series. There is a widespread appreciation for british things and a certain cachet attached to British books, paints, clothes, fabric, magazines, stationary, china and toys; most Anglo-Africans travel to Britain at least once in their lives where they are likely to have many relatives and friends. Most, having been brought up on British nursery rhymes, history, and literature, are more conversant with Britain and its ways than is usually natural for people who have never lived there. An idiosyncracy of Anglo-Africans is that should you ask them where their family is from, they will generally answer "Norfolk" or "Hampshire" or "Aberdeen" as the case may be, rather than "Mombasa" or "the Eastern Cape" where they grew up, even if their families came to Africa a century ago.


Many Anglo Africans speak a unique dialect of English. However even in South Africa there are geographical differences in the English that Anglo-Africans speak; most can clearly tell the difference between the heavier accent of Durban, Cape Town's stereotypically disdainful drawl and the near-Received Pronunciation of Johannesburg and the Natal Midlands. Although the South African slang listed below is true of many young South Africans it would be unusual to hear it used amongst older Anglo-Africans or people who went to private schools where it would be thought charmingly provincial and only used in jest. Anglo-Africans who use Received Pronunciation will generally have an aversion to excessive South Africanisms in their speech as well as for regional British accents.

There are influences from Cape Malays, Afrikaners and the Bantu languages, as well as Europe and Asia. The common greeting 'Howzit!' comes from 'How is it?' and can be likened to the US 'Howdy', the Australian 'G'Day', the Irish 'Howya?' or the recent British 'All right?'. The considerable Afrikaans influence can be seen from words such as braai, trek, lekker and ja having become common usage centuries ago. In South Africa many Zulu and Xhosa words (such as shongololo, muti, ubuntu etc.) are used.

Original South African English coinages

"bru" male friend (shortening of brother, see also bru above)
"cozzie" a swimsuit, short for swimming costume
"no" at the beginning of a sentence is not negation. It's just one of those meaningless words people say while they are thinking, like "well, now!", "um..." or "Indeed!" in other dialects of English
"sarmie" a sandwich
"scheme" to think that (e.g. "I scheme we should go home now"; usage evolved from the hyperbole "What are you scheming?" asked of a person deep in thought.)
"tune" to talk, especially to talk nonsense ("Are you tuning me?")
"higher grade" a bit too complicated (from the South African matric division of exams into standard *grade and higher grade)
"now now"/"just now" An amount of time, could be anything from 5 seconds to 24 hours, could be past or future tense. i.e.: "I'll be done with it now now." or "He went out just now."

Rhodes University situated in Grahamstown houses the Dictionary Unit for South African English The fourth edition of the Dictionary of South African English was released in 1991, and the Oxford Dictionary released its South African English dictionary in 2002. The English Academy of Southern Africa was founded in 1961. It is an association dedicated to promoting the effective use of English as a dynamic language in Southern Africa.


Anglo Africans have a long literary tradition, and have produced a number of notable novelists and poets, including Doris Lessing, J.M. Coetzee, Guy Butler, Olive Schreiner, (Ignatius) Roy(ston) Dunnachie Campbell and Denis Vincent Brutus. A traditional Anglo-African storybook is Sir Percy Fitzpatrick's Jock of the Bushveld, which describes his journey as a wagondriver with his dog Jock in the Bush. Other significant writers are Nadine Gordimer, Alan Paton, Peter Godwin and Cathy Buckle.


Theatre is probably the art form most influenced by Anglo Africans. (Harold) Athol (Lannigan) Fugard is a significant playwright. He was born of an Irish Catholic father and an Afrikaner mother and has always described himself as an Afrikaner, but he wrote in English to reach a larger audience. As for music it is typically Anglo. There is Dave Matthews, who emigrated to the United States, and is therefore more generally identified as American. Johnny Clegg is an influential musician, though his music is more Zulu than Anglo. Wrex Tarr performed the distinctly Rhodesian comedy song Cocky Robin based on Chilapalapa. John Edmond was a very popular singer, songwriter, entertainer and storyteller during the Rhodesian Bush War. Clem Tholet was an inspiring Rhodesian folk singer, guitarist & songwriter during the Bush War.


Rugby union, cricket and golf are generally considered to be the most popular sports among Anglo Africans. The contribution of Anglo-Africans to South African rugby has continued to the present; other notables include both coaches to lead the Springboks to victory in the Rugby World Cup, Kitch Christie (1995) and Jake White (2007), as well as Percy Montgomery, the Springboks' all-time leader in appearances and points. Champion golfers include Nick Price and Gary Player, while top cricket players include (Robert) Graeme Pollock and his nephew Shaun Pollock. Regards swimming, there is Olympic winner Kirsty Coventry and world-record holder Jonty Skinner. Anglo-Africans have also had an influence on motorsport: Rory Byrne and Gordon Murray are famous Formula 1 car designers and some of the most successful designers of all time. Additionally Jody Scheckter won the F1 world championship, and his son Tomas Scheckter (born 21 September 1980) is a South African racing driver, born in Monte Carlo, currently competing in the Indy Racing League and the A1 Grand Prix series. Anglo-Africans have also had notable success in African rallying, while former Rhodesia in particular has produced several world champion motorcycle road racers including Jim Redman and Kork Ballington.

Cricket in Africa and particularly Zimbabwe (which has a relatively small proportion of Anglo-Africans) has been dominated by White Zimbabweans. Many of their best players include Andy Flower, his brother Grant, Heath Streak, Brendan Taylor and Ray Price. Cricket is also heavily dominated by Anglo-Africans in South Africa. Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher and Neil Mckenzie currently play for South Africa alongside many other White players in domestic competition.


(Alphabetically by surname)

See also


External links

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