Only about 16% of South Africa’s total population was White. They were divided into two groups. The most numerous (60%) were the Afrikaners who descended from Dutch settlers. The Dutch had settled in 1647. They spoke a Creole language derived from Dutch. This language was known as Afrikaans. The descendants of British settlers formed the other group and had settled in 1797. There was a lot of friction between the two White populations

English and Afrikaans are South Africa’s two official languages. Traditionally, the Afrikaners had lived in rural areas, and still in 1980, the vast majority were farmers. However, difficulties related to agriculture forced the poorest of them to migrate to cities where they became workers. Since 1960, more than half of Afrikaners have lived in urban areas. The English became a well-to-do urban population, involved in mining, industry and trade. However, they gradually lost their place to Afrikaners.

Author:  Marianne Giguère

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