People from, or with roots from, Asia live throughout Africa. Some came in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as indentured labour or coolies. For example, workers from the Indian subcontinent moved within the British Empire to build the railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi, thus laying the foundations for the colony of Kenya; many stayed at the end of their terms of contract, and form the basis of the Sikh and Ismaeli communities. Relations between Asians and the black majority have not always been easy; most notably, Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda, expelled all Indians in 1972. Other Asians came more recently to Africa as traders and professional workers especially in Mozambique with its huge group of Indians. Indians in Mozambique have had a long history with their origins in Mozambique.
One possible exception is the Merina people of Madagascar along with the Betsileo tribe. Together, they represent about 35% of the population of the island of Madagascar. These two dominant ethnic groups are commonly accepted as indigenous to Madagascar, though they are likely descendants of Malay and Polynesian immigrations. For example, the Malagasy language is unrelated to nearby African languages, instead being the westernmost member of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family.
Kenya National Geographic also published an article by Frank Viviano; in July 2005, he visited Pate Island. During the time he stayed on Lamu, ceramic fragments had been found around Lamu which the administrative officer of the local Swahili history museum claimed were of Chinese origin, specifically from Zheng He's voyage to east Africa. The eyes of the Pate people resembled Chinese and Famao and Wei were some of the names among them which were speculated to be of Chinese origin. Their ancestors were said to be from indigenous women who intermarried with Chinese Ming sailors when they were shipwrecked. Two places on Pate were called "Old Shanga", and "New Shanga", which the Chinese sailors had named. A local guide who claimed descent from the Chinese showed Frank a graveyard made out of coral on the island, indicating that they were the graves of the Chinese sailors, which the author described as "virtually identical", to Chinese Ming dynasty tombs, complete with "half-moon domes" and "terraced entries".
- Frank Viviano (July 2005). "China's Great Armada, Admiral Zheng He". NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. p. 6. Retrieved September 29, 2011.