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Gábor Búr (Eötvös Loránd University) What happened to them? White settlers in Africa since independence.

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Presentation on theme: "Gábor Búr (Eötvös Loránd University) What happened to them? White settlers in Africa since independence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gábor Búr (Eötvös Loránd University) What happened to them? White settlers in Africa since independence

2 Political controversy at the Cannes Film Festival Outside the Law (Hors la Loi) Director Rachid Bouchareb Protests from former French colonists


4 Population flows between Europe and Africa From slavery to globalization

5 In the half-century before World War I, 55 million emigrants moved from Europe to America. („friends and relatives effect”) very few to Africa


7 European/total population in Africa In 1800 ~ 25 thousand/ ~ 100 million In 1935 ~ 4 million/~180 million In 1960 ~ 5,5 million/~278 million In 2010 ~ 5 million/~1000 million In 2060 ~ ? /~2000 million

8 „Negars” and „Blackamoores” in Europe „to manie” for Elizabeth I.

9 Her Majestie understanding that there are of late divers blackmoores brought into this realme, of which kinde of people there are allready here to manie … Her Majesty's pleasure therefore ys that those kinde of people should be sent forth of the lande

10 highly discontented to understand the great numbers of negars and Blackamoores which are crept into this realm … who are fostered and relieved here to the great annoyance of her own liege people … should be with all speed avoided and discharged out of this Her Majesty's dominions.



13 „Europe's Children” in Africa typologies of colonialism settlers = colonialists? „settler capitalism”? „settler mode of production”?



16 The „settler mode of production” the exclusion of competition (settler control of key economic resources, including land, allocation of infrastructure, banking, and marketing, at the expense of the indigenous people) the predominance of the migrant labor system (which allowed the costs of reproducing labor power to be borne in the rural reserves) generalized repression whereby direct and brutal force was used regularly close intersection of race and class.

17 White Settlers in Africa: Resistance to Decolonization Decolonization: perhaps one of the most important historical processes of the twentieth century

18 Colonisation: „alien rule over „indigenous” population White domination White, European, capitalistic stratum Vision of racial wars on the continent


20 In most European colonies in Africa and Asia, white immigrants took a privileged position. However, the position in Rhodesia was distinguished by the fact that the local white minority entrenched its political, economic and social dominance of the country. Extensive areas of prime farmland were reserved for white people only. Senior positions in the public services were reserved for white people, and white people working in manual occupations enjoyed legal protection against job competition from Africans. As time passed, this situation became increasingly unwelcome to the majority ethnic groups within Zimbabwe and also to wide sections of international opinion.

21 Rhodesia Up to the end of the 1970s, white people were the privileged ethnic group in the country, although their numbers never exceeded 300,000, or about 5.5% of the population.

22 Large-scale white emigration to Rhodesia did not begin until after the Second World War, and at its peak in the late 1960s Rhodesia's white population consisted of as many as 270,000. There were influxes of white immigrants from the 1940s through to the early 1970s. The most conspicuous group were former British servicemen in the immediate post-war period. But many of the new immigrants were refugees from communism in Europe, others were former service personnel from colonial India, others came from Kenya, the Belgian Congo, Zambia, Algeria, and Mozambique. For a time, Rhodesia provided something of a haven for white people who were retreating from decolonisation elsewhere in Africa and Asia.

23 After the country's independence as Zimbabwe in 1980, white people had to adjust to being an ethnic minority in a country with an African government. Many white people emigrated in the early 1980s, but many remained. Political unrest and the illegal seizure of farms resulted in a further exodus commencing in 1999. Some white farmers and an unknown number of African farmworkers were killed while defending their farms from these seizures. The 2002 census recorded 46,743 white people remaining in Zimbabwe. More than 10,000 were elderly and fewer than 9,000 were under the age of 15.

24 Following independence, the country's white people lost their former privileged position. A generous social welfare net (including both education and healthcare) that had supported white people in Rhodesia disappeared almost in an instant. White people in the artisan, skilled worker and supervisory classes began to experience job competition from black people. Indigenisation in the public services displaced many white people. The result was that white emigration gathered pace. In the ten year period from 1980 to 1990 approximately 2/3 of the white population left Zimbabwe.

25 However, many white people resolved to stay in the new Zimbabwe. Only 1/3 of the white farming community left. An even smaller proportion of white urban business owners and members of the professional classes left. This pattern of migration meant that although small in absolute number, Zimbabwe's white people formed a high proportion of the upper strata of society.

26 About 49% of emigrants left to settle in South Africa, many of whom were Afrikaans speakers, 29% in the United Kingdom and most of the remainder going to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Many of these emigrants identify themselves as Rhodesian. A white Rhodesian/Zimbabwean who is nostalgic for the UDI era is known colloquially as a "Rhodie". These nostalgic "Rhodesians" are also sometimes referred to as "Whenwes", because of the nostalgia of "when we were in Rhodesia" A white who remained in Zimbabwe and accepted the situation is known as a "Zimbo".

27 Rhodesian white settlers were considered different in character to white settlers in other British colonies. Settlers in Kenya were perceived to be drawn from 'the officer class' and from the British land owning class. Settlers in Rhodesia were perceived to be drawn from lower social strata and were treated accordingly by the British authorities: Foreign Office mandarins dismissed white Rhodesians as lower middle class, no more than provincial clerks and artisans, the lowly NCOs of empire.


29 The Zimbabwe government and other progressive forces… „The white man is our enemy.” (Robert Mugabe)



32 JG Strijdom prime minister of S.A. in 1954.: “The white man would not be able to retain his superiority by merit alone and owed his dominant position to the fact that he had the vote. It was part of the essence of apartheid, therefore, that the Bantu should never have the vote in white areas.”


34 Terreblanche was well-known for his proposal for a white separatist agenda, championing a separate homeland for the country's white population.

35 „White Country” in Africa? „Black Homelands” „White Homeland”?



38 Two of the main forces driving European emigration in the 19th century were real wage gaps between sending and receiving regions and demographic booms in the low-wage sending regions.








46 White settlers in Africa 1960: privileged ruling class 2010: still part of colonial past 2060: out of Africa?

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