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:
Afro-Asiatic
      Hamitic (Berber, Cushitic) + Semitic (Ethiopian, Arabic)
     Hausa (Chadic)
Niger Congo
     Bantu
     "Guinean" (Volta-Niger, Kru)
     "Western Bantoid" (Senegambian, Bak)
     "Central Bantoid" (Gur)
     "Eastern Bantoid" (Southern Bantoid)
     Mande
Nilo-Saharan (unity doubtful)
     Nilotic
     Central Sudanic+Eastern Sudanic
     Kanuri
     Songhai
other
     Khoi-San (unity doubtful; Khoikhoi, San, Sandawe, Hadza)
     Malayo-Polynesian (Malagasy)
     Indo-European (Afrikaaner)

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

The largest ethnic groups mostly originate from major historic political kingdoms, such as in West Africa with the Sahelian kingdoms of the medieval period, like that of the Akan, deriving from Bonoman (11th century) then the Kingdom of Ashanti (17th century) [1] and in Central Africa with the Kanuri of the Kanem and Bornu Empires.

Overview[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Demographics of Africa.

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, Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo people).[2][3][4] The following ethnic groups number 10 million people or more:

Central Africa[edit]

Horn of Africa[edit]

North Africa[edit]

Southeast Africa[edit]

Southern Africa[edit]

West Africa[edit]

List of African populations[edit]

Central Africa[edit]

Name Family Language Region Country Population (million) Notes
Aka Nilo-Saharan, Pygmy Aka Central/Northern Western Central African Republic, Northwest Congo The Aka are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
Baka Pygmy Baka Central/Northern Western Equatoria in South Sudan 0.25 There is also another ethnic group called Baka living across West Africa.
Banda Niger-Congo, Ubangian Banda language Chad Basin Central African Republic[9] 1.5
Chewa Niger–Congo, Bantu Chichewa Central/Southern Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe 9
Chokwe Niger–Congo, Bantu Chokwe Central Angola, Congo (Kinshasa), Zambia 1.1
Efé Nilo-Saharan, Pygmy Efe Central/Northern Ituri Rainforest of Congo The Efe are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
Gbaya Niger-Congo, Ubangian Gbaya language Chad Basin Central African Republic[9] 1.5
Kongo Niger–Congo, Bantu Kongo Central Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Republic of the Congo 10
Kanuri Nilo-Saharan, Western Saharan Kanuri Chad Basin Nigeria,[5] Niger,[6] Cameroon,[8] Chad[7] 10
Lingala Niger–Congo, Bantu Lingala Central Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Angola, Central African Republic
Luba Niger–Congo, Bantu Luba-Kasai, Luba-Katanga Central Democratic Republic of the Congo 13
Kotoko Afro-Asiatic, Chadic Lagwan Chad Basin Cameroon, Chad < 1
Mbunda Niger–Congo, Bantu Mbúùnda, Chimbúùnda, Mpuun Central Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Zambia 0.5
Mbundu Niger–Congo, Bantu Kimbundu Central Angola 2.4
Moghamo Niger-Congo, Southern Bantoid Moghamo Central/West Cameroon, Southern Cameroons 0.018
Mongo Niger–Congo, Bantu Mongo Central Democratic Republic of the Congo 12
Ngamambo Niger-Congo, Southern Bantoid Ngamambo Central/West Cameroon, Southern Cameroons 0.011
Ovimbundu Niger–Congo, Bantu Umbundu Central Angola 4.6
Sara Nilo-Saharan, Central Sudanic Sara Chad Basin Chad,[7] Cameroon,[10] Central African Republic[11] 3.5
Sua Nilo-Saharan, Pygmy Sua Central/Northern Ituri Rainforest of Congo The Sua are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
Zande Niger–Congo, Ubangian Zande Chad Basin South Sudan,[12] Central African Republic[9] 1-4
Zaghawa Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Saharan Zaghawa Chad Basin Chad, Sudan < 1

Horn of Africa[edit]

Name Family Language Region Country Population (million) Notes
Afar Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Afar Horn of Africa Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea 1.5
Agaw Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Agaw Horn of Africa Ethiopia, Eritrea 1
Amhara Afro-Asiatic, Semitic Amharic Horn of Africa Ethiopia 24
Beja Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Beja Horn of Africa Sudan, Eritrea 2
Bilen Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Bilen Horn of Africa Eritrea 0.2
Gurage Afro-Asiatic, Semitic Gurage Horn of Africa Ethiopia 1.9
Oromo Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Oromo Horn of Africa Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya 30
Saho Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Saho Horn of Africa Eritrea, Ethiopia 0.2
Sidama Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Af Sidama Horn of Africa Ethiopia 3
Somali Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic Somali Horn of Africa Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya 16-19
Tigray-Tigrinya Afro-Asiatic, Semitic Tigrinya Horn of Africa Ethiopia, Eritrea 9
Tigre Afro-Asiatic, Semitic Tigre Horn of Africa Eritrea, Sudan 1.5

North Africa[edit]

Name Family Language Region Country Population (million) Notes
Arabized Afro-Asiatic, Semitic Arabic languages Maghreb, Nile Valley Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan 5
Berbers Afro-Asiatic, Berber Berber, Arabic languages Maghreb Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia 150
Copts Afro-Asiatic, Egyptian Coptic Nile Valley Egypt, Sudan 40
Nubians Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic Nobiin Nile Valley Sudan, Egypt 1.0[13]
Fur[13] Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic Fur language Nile Valley Sudan 1.0
Zaghawa Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Saharan Zaghawa Chad Basin Chad, Sudan < 1

Southeast Africa[edit]

Name Family Language Region Country Population (million) Notes
Alur Nilo-Saharan, Nilotic, Luo Alur East/Central Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Anuak Nilo-Saharan, Nilotic, Luo Anuak Southeast/Horn South Sudan, Ethiopia
Acholi Nilo-Saharan, Nilotic, Luo Acholi East Uganda, South Sudan
Chagga Niger-Congo, Bantu Bantu Kilimanjaro Tanzania 8
Dinka Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic Dinka language Nile Valley South Sudan[12] 5
Ganda Niger–Congo, Bantu Ganda East Uganda 3
Langi Nilo-Saharan, Nilotic, Luo Lango East Uganda
Hutu Niger–Congo, Bantu Rwanda-Rundi East, Central Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo 16
Kamba Niger–Congo, Bantu Kamba East Kenya
Kalenjin Nilo-Saharan, Nilotic, Highland Kalenjin East Kenya 3
Kikuyu Niger–Congo, Bantu Gikuyu East Kenya 5.3
Kwama Nilo-Saharan Kwama East/Horn South Sudan, Ethiopia
Lugbara people Nilo-Saharan, Central Sudanic Lugbara East Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo 11
Luo Nilo-Saharan, Luo, River-Lake Luo East Kenya
Luhya Niger–Congo, Bantu Luhya East Kenya 5.4
Maasai Nilo-Saharan, Nilotic, Plains Maasai East Kenya, Tanzania 0.9
Makonde Niger–Congo, Bantu Makonde Southeast Tanzania, Mozambique 1.3
Ameru Niger–Congo, Bantu Meru East Kenya
Nuer Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic Nuer language Nile Valley South Sudan[12] 3
Samburu Nilo-Saharan, Nilotic, Plains Samburu East Kenya 0.1
Shilluk Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Luo Shilluk language Nile Valley South Sudan[12] 1.5
Swahili Niger-Congo, Bantu Swahili East Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique 0.1
Tutsi Niger–Congo, Bantu Rwanda-Rundi East, Central Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo 3
Great Lakes Twa (Batwa) Pygmy Rundi, Kiga East, Central Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo 0.8

Southern Africa[edit]

Name Family Language Region Country Population (million) Notes
Afrikaner Indo-European Afrikaans South South Africa, Namibia 3.0
San (Bushmen) Khoisan Khoisan South South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Angola 0.09
Ambo (Ovambo, Owambo) Niger–Congo, Bantu Ovambo South Namibia 0.9
Bemba Niger–Congo, Bantu Bemba language South Zambia 5.0
Cape Coloured Indo-European Cape Coloured Afrikaans South South Africa 0.03
Herero Niger–Congo, Bantu Herero South Namibia, Botswana, Angola 0.2
Wayeyi Niger–Congo, Bantu Shiyeyi South Namibia, Botswana, Angola 0.3
Himba Niger–Congo, Bantu Otjihimbo (Herero dialect) South Namibia 0.05
Goffal Indo-European Goffal English South Zimbabwe 0.03
Kalanga Niger–Congo, Bantu Shona South Zimbabwe 0.1
Khoikhoi Khoisan Khoekhoegowab South -
Makua Niger–Congo, Bantu Makua South/East Mozambique, Tanzania 1.1
Nambya Niger–Congo, Bantu Shona South Zimbabwe 0.1
North Ndebele Niger-Congo, Bantu, Nguni Sindebele South

Zimbabwe || 1.5 ||

Rhodesian Indo-European Zimbabwean English South Zimbabwe 0.12
South Ndebele Niger–Congo, Bantu Southern Ndebele South South Africa 0.7
Shona Niger–Congo, Bantu Shona South Mozambique, Zimbabwe 10.6
Sotho Niger–Congo, Bantu Sotho South Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe (Gwanda District) 5.3
Swazi Niger-Congo, Bantu, Nguni Swazi South Swaziland, South Africa, Mozambique 3.5
Tonga Niger–Congo, Bantu Shona South Zimbabwe, Zambia 2
Tsonga Niger-Congo, Bantu, Nguni Swazi South Swaziland, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe (Chiredzi and Mwenezi Districts) 5.5
Tswana Niger–Congo, Bantu Tswana South Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe 4.5
Venda Niger–Congo, Bantu Venda South South Africa, Zimbabwe 1
Xhosa Niger-Congo, Bantu, Nguni Xhosa South South Africa 7.9
Zulu Niger-Congo, Bantu, Nguni Zulu South South Africa 10.6

West Africa[edit]

Name Family Language Region Country Population (million) Notes
Akan Niger–Congo, Kwa Akan West South Ghana, Ivory Coast 20 An ethnic group of related sub-groups. The largest subgroups are the Ashanti and the Fante
Aku (Creole) Aku West Gambia 0.01
Baka Niger Congo, Ubangian Baka West/Central Southeastern Cameroon, Northern Congo, Northern Gabon 0.3-0.4 The Baka are also known as Bebayaka, Bebayaga, or Bibaya, or (along with the other Mbenga peoples) the derogatory Babinga.
Bambara Niger–Congo, Mande Bambara West Mali 3
Basaa Niger–Congo, Bantu Basaa West Cameroon 0.2
Bassa Niger–Congo, Kru Bassa West Liberia 0.3
Beti-Pahuin Niger–Congo, Bantu Ewondo, Fang, Bulu West Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe 3.3 group of 20 sub-ethnicities
Biafada Niger–Congo Biafada West Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau 0.04
Mole-Dagbani Niger–Congo, Gur Dagbani West Ghana, Burkina Faso 8.6 Dagomba, Mamprusi, Nanumba, Mossi, Gurma
Dendi Niger–Congo Dendi West Benin 0.1
Edo (also called Bini or Benin) Niger–Congo, Edo Edo West Nigeria 1.6
Efik Niger–Congo, Cross River Ibibio-Efik West Nigeria, Cameroon, Southern Cameroons 0.5
Eket Niger–Congo, Cross River Eket (Ibibio dialect) West Nigeria, Cameroon, Southern Cameroons 0.3
Esan Niger–Congo, Kwa Esan West Nigeria 0.5
Ewe Niger–Congo, Gbe Ewe West Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Volta Region (British Togoland), Togoland 4.8
Fon Niger–Congo Fon West Benin, Nigeria 3.5
Fulani Niger–Congo, Senegambian Fula West Guinea, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Chad, Mauritania, Sudan, Togo, Ivory Coast 27
Ga Niger–Congo, Kwa Ga, Ga-Adangme West Togo, Greater Accra 2
Gwari West Nigeria 1
Hausa Afro-Asiatic, Chadic Hausa West/Northern Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, Sudan 30-35
Igbo (Ibo) Niger–Congo, Volta–Niger Igbo West Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea 15-30[14] Includes various subgroups.
Ijaw Niger–Congo, Ijoid Ijaw West Nigeria 14[5] Sub-groups include Andoni, Ibani, Kalabari, Nembe, Ogbia and Okrika.
Jola Niger–Congo, Senegambian Jola, Kriol West Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau 0.5
Kanuri Nilo-Saharan, Western Saharan Kanuri Chad Basin Nigeria,[5] Niger,[6] Cameroon,[8] Chad[7] 10
Mandé Niger–Congo, Mande Mandingo West/Central The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritania, Chad 13
Marka Niger–Congo, Mande Marka West/Northern Mali 0.4
Mende Niger–Congo, Mande Mende West Sierra-Leone 2
Papel Niger–Congo Papel West Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau 0.1
Serer Niger–Congo, Senegambian Serer, Cangin West Found mostly in Senegal and The Gambia. Small number Mauritania. Also found in the West. 1.9[15][16] 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.
Songhai[6] Nilo-Saharan Songhai West Mali 5
Tiv Niger–Congo, Bantu Tiv West Nigeria, Cameroon 2
Urhobo Niger–Congo, Volta–Niger Urhobo West Nigeria 1-1.5
Wolof Niger–Congo, Senegambian Wolof West Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania 4
Yoruba Niger–Congo, Volta–Niger Yoruba West Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast[17] Sierra Leone[18] 38
Zarma[6][19] Nilo-Saharan Zarma West Niger 5

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook: Nigeria". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "The World Factbook: Niger". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  7. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook: Chad". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  8. ^ a b c Peter Austin, One Thousand Languages (2008), p. 75, books.google.com/books?isbn=0520255607:"Kanuri is a major Saharan language spoken in the Lake Chad Basin in the Borno area of northeastern Nigeria, as well as in Niger, Cameroon, and Chad (where the variety is known as Kanembul[)]."
  9. ^ a b c "The World Factbook: Central African Republic". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  10. ^ Stefan Goodwin, Africas Legacies Of Urbanization (2006),p. 191, books.google.com/books?isbn=0739133489:"...and further west the even more numerous Sara [western Central African Republic, southern Chad, and northern Cameroon."
  11. ^ Peoples of Africa: Burkina Faso-Comoros - Volume 2 (2001), p. 86, books.google.com/books?isbn=076147160X:"The Central African Republic is a land of many different peoples... The Sara (SAHR) live in the grain-growing lands of the north as well as across the border in Chad."
  12. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook: South Sudan". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  13. ^ a b "The World Factbook: Sudan". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  14. ^ 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".
  15. ^ Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie. In Senegal alone, estimated figure for 2007 is 1,840,712.1
  16. ^ Gambia keep poor records of its ethnic minorities. Estimated Gambian figure is 31,900 (2006) Ethnologue.com
  17. ^ Joshua Project. "Yoruba". United States Center for World Mission. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ National African Language Resource Center. "Yoruba" (pdf). Indiana University. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  19. ^ "The World Factbook: Sudan". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31.