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i-con2 Ethnic Groups in Namibia : Whites

About 100.000 white people live in Namibia. 20% come from German, 20% from English and 60% from Afrikaans origin. The Afrikaners had immigrated after the First World War from South Africa.

When the apartheid era ended in the year 1989 and SWAPO came into power, many whites harboured pessimistic expectations on the future of Namibia. Quite a few of them, especially from the Afrikaans population, moved to South Africa.

The initial polarisation meanwhile has ebbed off and most of the whites nowadays feel as Namibians and are proud of it. After the Independence the numerous immigrants, mainly from Germany, France and Italy, have also contributed to the normalisation of the social climate.


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Farmer family of German descent
Ethnic groups in Namibia Nama Rehoboth Baster Herero San (Bushmen) Damara Caprivians Kavango Ovambo Himba
Due to their small numbers the white minority is more or less excluded from political decision-making processes. The economic power, however, lies largely in their hands, especially in the key sectors agriculture, trade, mining and tourism.

The whites predominantly live in the cities, Windhoek, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Otjiwarongo, Luederitz and others. And there are some 2000 farms with white owners. Because extensive cattle breeding – traditionally the backbone of Namibian farming – generates little profits nowadays, many farmers changed to tourism and transformed their farms into guestfarms and game lodges.