The early 20th century witnessed a trickle of emigrants from Madeira whose numbers greatly increased in the decades following World War II. Madeiran immigrants, who are traditionally associated with horticulture and commerce, form the largest group within South Africa's Portuguese community.
The largest single event of Portuguese settlement occurred when two of the former Portuguese colonies, (Angola and Mozambique), became independent in 1975. While most Portuguese from the two Portuguese-speaking African countries went to Portugal and the rest to Brazil, some of them were allowed to enter South Africa. Their entrance made South Africa the home of the largest Portuguese African population, numbering about 49 000, but their number grew to 300,000. One known Portuguese South African creation was Nando's, created in 1987, which incorporated influences from former Portuguese settlers from Mozambique, many of whom had settled on the south-eastern side of Johannesburg after Mozambique's independence in 1975.
The Portuguese South African community is highly active within the South African community, both politically and economically. Notable members include Maria Ramos who was the former director general of South Africa's National Treasury. She is currently the Group CEO of ABSA, one of South Africa's largest financial services companies. Other Portuguese involvement within the business community includes companies like Mercantile Bank. The community is also actively involved in investment activities with other Southern African countries like Angola and Mozambique.
Socially the Portuguese community have held an annual festival called Lusito Land (the second largest festival in South Africa).
The most popular sport with Portuguese South Africans is football. There are many football clubs in South Africa that are of Portuguese origin. One example is the professional football club Vasco Da Gama which currently plays in the National First Division. Football is a favourite pastime for Portuguese youth in South Africa, and many of them tend to join amateur and football clubs in the country.