Ethnic groups in Africa

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Ethnic groups in Africa
1996 map of the major ethnolinguistic groups of Africa, by the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division (substantially based on G.P. Murdock, Africa, its peoples and their cultural history, 1959). Color-coded are major 15 ethnolinguistic super-groups, as follows:
      Hamitic (Berber, Cushitic) + Semitic (Ethiopian, Arabic)
     Hausa (Chadic)
Niger Congo
     "Guinean" (Volta-Niger, Kru)
     "Western Bantoid" (Senegambian, Bak)
     "Central Bantoid" (Gur)
     "Eastern Bantoid" (Southern Bantoid)
Nilo-Saharan (unity doubtful)
     Central Sudanic+Eastern Sudanic
     Khoi-San (unity doubtful; Khoikhoi, Bushmen, Sandawe, Hadza)
     Malayo-Polynesian (Malagasy)
     Indo-European (Afrikaaner)

Ethnic groups in Africa number in the hundreds, each generally having its own language (or dialect of a language) and culture.

Many ethnic groups and nations of Sub-Saharan Africa qualify, although some groups are of a size larger than a tribal society. These mostly originate with the Sahelian kingdoms of the medieval period, such as that of the Akan, deriving from Bonoman (11th century) then the Kingdom of Ashanti (17th century).[1]

Overview[edit source | edit]

The official population count of the various ethnic groups in Africa has in some instances been controversial because certain groups believe populations are fixed to give other ethnicities numerical superiority (as in the case of Nigeria's Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo people).[2][3][4] The following ethnic groups number 10 million people or more:

Northern Africa[edit source | edit]

Horn of Africa[edit source | edit]

Western Africa[edit source | edit]

Central Africa[edit source | edit]

Eastern Africa[edit source | edit]

Southern Africa[edit source | edit]

List of African peoples[edit source | edit]

North Africa[edit source | edit]

NamePhylumLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
EgyptiansAfro-Asiatic, SemiticEgyptian Arabic (Masri)Nile ValleyEgypt83
BerbersAfro-Asiatic, BerberBerber, Arabic languagesMaghrebMorocco, Algeria, Libya75
DinkaNilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicDinka languageNile ValleySouth Sudan5
NubiansNilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicNobiinNile ValleySudan, Egypt0.5
NuerNilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicNuer languageNile Valley, Horn of AfricaSouth Sudan, southwestern Ethiopia5
ShillukNilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicShilluk languageNile ValleySouth Sudan1.5

Horn of Africa[edit source | edit]

NamePhylumLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AfarAfro-Asiatic, CushiticAfarHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea1.5
AgawAfro-Asiatic, CushiticAgawHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Eritrea1
AmharaAfro-Asiatic, SemiticAmharicHorn of AfricaEthiopia20
BejaAfro-Asiatic, CushiticBejaHorn of AfricaSudan, Eritrea2
BilenAfro-Asiatic, CushiticBilenHorn of AfricaEritrea0,2
GurageAfro-Asiatic, SemiticGurageHorn of AfricaEthiopia1.9
OromoAfro-Asiatic, CushiticAfan OromoHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya30
SahoAfro-Asiatic, CushiticSahoHorn of AfricaEritrea, Ethiopia0.2
SidamaAfro-Asiatic, CushiticAf SidamaHorn of AfricaEthiopia3
SomaliAfro-Asiatic, CushiticSomaliHorn of AfricaSomalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya20
Tigray-TigrinyaAfro-Asiatic, SemiticTigrinyaHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Eritrea6.7
TigreAfro-Asiatic, SemiticTigreHorn of AfricaSudan, Eritrea1.5

West Africa[edit source | edit]

NamePhylumLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AkanNiger–Congo, KwaAkanWestSouth Ghana, Ivory Coast20a group of related sub-ethnicities. The largest subgroups are the Ashanti and the Fante (both themselves consisting of numerous subgroups)
BakaUbangiBakaWest/CentralSoutheastern Cameroon, Northern Congo, Northern Gabon0.3-0.4The Baka are also known as Bebayaka, Bebayaga, or Bibaya, or (along with the other Mbenga peoples) the derogatory Babinga.
BambaraNiger–Congo, MandeBambaraWestMali3
BasaaNiger–Congo, BantuBasaaWestCameroon0.2
BassaNiger–Congo, KruBassaWestLiberia0.3
BiafadaNiger–CongoBiafadaWestSenegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau
Edo (also called Bini or Benin)Niger–Congo, EdoEdoWestNigeria
EfikNiger–Congo, Cross RiverIbibio-EfikWestNigeria, Cameroon, Southern Cameroons
EketNiger–Congo, Cross RiverEket (Ibibio dialect)West AfricaNigeria, Cameroon, Southern Cameroons
EweNiger–Congo, GbeEweWestTogo, Benin, Nigeria, Volta Region (British Togoland), Togoland4.8[5]
Beti-PahuinNiger–Congo, BantuEwondo, Fang, BuluWestCameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe3.3group of 20 sub-ethnicities
BiafadaNiger–CongoBiafadaWestSenegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau
FonNiger–CongoFonWestBenin, Nigeria
FulaniNiger–Congo, SenegambianFulaWestGuinea, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Chad, Mauritania, Sudan, Togo, Ivory Coast27
GaNiger–Congo, KwaGa, Ga-AdangmeWestTogo, Greater Accra2
HausaAfro-Asiatic, ChadicHausaWest/NorthernNigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sudan30-35
Igbo (Ibo)Niger–Congo, Volta–NigerIgboWestNigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea15-30[6]Includes various subgroups.
EsanNiger–Congo, KwaEsanWestNigeria
IjawNiger–Congo, IjoidIjawWestNigeria14 [7]Sub-groups include Andoni, Ibani, Kalabari, Nembe, Ogbia and Okrika.
JolaNiger–Congo, SenegambianJola, KriolWestSenegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau0.5
MandinkaNiger–Congo, MandeMandingoWest/CentralThe Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Mauritania, Chad13
MarkaNiger–Congo, MandeMarkaWest/NorthernMali
Meta also MettaWidikum, Bantu, Semi-Bantu, BantoidMetaWest, CentralCameroon, Southern Cameroons
MendeNiger–Congo, MandeMendeWestSierra-Leone2
PapelNiger–CongoPapelWestSenegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau
SererNiger–Congo, SenegambianSerer, CanginWestFound mostly in Senegal and The Gambia. Small number Mauritania. Also found in the West.1.9[8][9][10]The Serer people include: Serer-Sine, Serer-Safene, Serer-Ndut, Serer-Palor, Serer-Niominka, Serer-Laalaa, Serer-Noon. Apart from the Serer-Sine, they speak Cangin languages rather than Serer.
TivNiger–Congo, BantuTivWestNigeria, Cameroon2
UrhoboNiger–Congo, Volta–NigerUrhoboWestNigeria1-1.5
WolofNiger–Congo, SenegambianWolofWestSenegal, The Gambia, Mauritania4
YorubaNiger–Congo, Volta–NigerYorubaWestNigeria, Benin, Togo38

Central Africa[edit source | edit]

NameCarloLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AkaNilo-Saharan, PygmyAkaCentral/NorthernWestern Central African Republic, Northwest CongoThe Aka are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
BakaPygmyBakaCentral/NorthernWestern Equatoria in South Sudan0.25There is also another ethnic group called Baka living across West Africa.
ChewaNiger–Congo, BantuChichewaCentral/SouthernBotswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe9
ChokweNiger–Congo, BantuChokweCentralAngola, Congo (Kinshasa), Zambia1.1
EféNilo-Saharan, PygmyEfeCentral/NorthernIturi Rainforest of CongoThe Efe are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
KongoNiger–Congo, BantuKongoCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Republic of the Congo10
LingalaNiger–Congo, BantuLingalaCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Angola, Central African Republic
LubaNiger–Congo, BantuLuba-Kasai, Luba-KatangaCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo13
MbundaNiger–Congo, BantuMbúùnda, Chimbúùnda, MpuunCentralAngola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Zambia.5
MbunduNiger–Congo, BantuKimbunduCentralAngola2.4
MongoNiger–Congo, BantuMongoCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo12
OvimbunduNiger–Congo, BantuUmbunduCentralAngola4.6
SuaNilo-Saharan, PygmySuaCentral/NorthernIturi Rainforest of CongoThe Sua are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
ZandeNiger–Congo, UbangianZandeCentral/NorthernDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Central African Republic1-4

East Africa[edit source | edit]

NamePhylumLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AlurNilotic, LuoAlurEast/CentralUganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
GandaNiger–Congo, BantuGandaEast, Great LakesUganda3
HutuNiger–Congo, BantuRwanda-RundiEast, Great LakesRwanda, Burundi, DR Congo16
JabiyanUnknownJabiyanEast, Great LakesRwanda, DR Congo, Uganda0.1
KambaNiger–Congo, BantuKambaEastKenya
KalenjinHighland NilotesKalenjinEastKenya3
KikuyuNiger–Congo, BantuGikuyuEastKenya5.3
KwamaNilo-SaharanKwamaEast/NorthernEthiopia, Sudan
Lugbara peopleSudanicLugbaraNorth-WestUganda, Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon11
LuoRiver-Lake NilotesLuoEastKenya
LuhyaNiger–Congo, BantuLuhyaEastKenya5.4
MaasaiPlains NilotesMaasaiEastKenya, Tanzania0.9
MakondeNiger–Congo, BantuMakondeEast/SouthernTanzania, Mozambique1.3
AmeruNiger–Congo, BantuMeruEastKenya
SamburuPlains NilotesSamburuNorth/CentralKenya0.1
SwahiliNiger-Congo, BantuSwahiliEastTanzania, Kenya, Mozambique0.1
TutsiNiger–Congo, BantuRwanda-RundiEast Africa, Great LakesRwanda, Burundi, Congo3
Great Lakes Twa (Batwa)PygmyRundi, KigaGreat LakesRwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Eastern Congo0.8

Southern Africa[edit source | edit]

NamePhylumLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AfrikanerIndo-EuropeanAfrikaansSouthSouth Africa, Namibia3.0
San (Bushmen)KhoisanKhoisanSouthSouth Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Angola0.09
Ambo (Ovambo, Owambo)Niger–Congo, BantuOvamboSouthNamibia0.9
BembaNiger–Congo, BantuBemba languageSouthZambia0.2
HereroNiger–Congo, BantuHereroSouthNamibia, Botswana, Angola0.2
WayeyiNiger–Congo, BantuShiyeyiSouthNamibia, Botswana, Angola0.3
HimbaNiger–Congo, BantuOtjihimbo (Herero dialect)SouthNamibia0.05
MakuaNiger–Congo, BantuMakuaSouth/EastMozambique, Tanzania1.1
North NdebeleBantu, NguniSindebeleSouthZimbabwe1.5
South NdebeleNiger–Congo, BantuSouthern NdebeleSouthSouth Africa.7
ShonaNiger–Congo, BantuShonaSouth/EastMozambique, Zimbabwe10.6
SwaziBantu, NguniSwaziSouthSwaziland, South Africa, Mozambique3.5
TsongaBantu, NguniSwaziSouthSwaziland, South Africa, Mozambique5.5
TswanaNiger–Congo, BantuTswanaSouthBotswana, South Africa4.5
VendaNiger–Congo, BantuVendaSouthSouth Africa, Zimbabwe1
XhosaBantu, NguniXhosaSouthSouth Africa7.9
ZuluBantu, NguniZuluSouthSouth Africa10.6

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ Cohen, Robin (1995). The Cambridge Survey of World Migration. Cambridge University Press. p. 197. ISBN 052-1-4440-55.  Wickens, Gerald E; Lowe, Pat (2008). The Baobabs: Pachycauls of Africa, Madagascar and Australia. Springer Science+Business Media. 2008. p. 360. ISBN 978-1-4020-6431-9. 
  2. ^ Onuah, Felix (29 December 2006). "Nigeria gives census result, avoids risky details". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Peter (2007). Growing Apart: Oil, Politics, and Economic Change in Indonesia and Nigeria. University of Michigan Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-472-06980-2. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  4. ^ Suberu, Rotimi T. (2001). Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria. US Institute of Peace Press. p. 154. ISBN 1-929223-28-5. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  5. ^ "Ewe". 
  6. ^ Sources vary widely about the population. Mushanga, p. 166, says "over 20 million"; Nzewi (quoted in Agawu), p. 31, says "about 15 million"; Okafor, p. 86, says "about twenty-five million"; Okpala, p. 21, says "around 30 million"; and Smith, p. 508, says "approximately 20 million".
  7. ^
  8. ^ Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie. In Senegal alone, estimated figure for 2007 is 1,840,712.1
  9. ^ Gambia keep poor records of its ethnic minorities. Estimated Gambian figure is 31,900 (2006)
  10. ^ Mauritania (2006 estimate) 3500. Joshua Project