Norwegian South Africans

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Norwegian South African
Norsk Sør-Afrikanere
Noors Suid-Afrikaners
Total population
651 (1930)
Regions with significant populations
Afrikaans, English, Norwegian
Christianity (Lutheranism)
Related ethnic groups

Norwegian South Africans are South African citizens of Norwegian ancestry. While most Norwegian emigrants moved to America, some people also moved to South Africa, Madagascar, Angola, and Mozambique. The number of Norwegians in the whole of Africa in 1920 was 998. The number rose to 1,107 by 1930; 651 Norwegians lived in South Africa and 147 in Madagascar.[1] Official migration numbers from 1961 to 2005 are available.[2]


In the 1890s added about 90 families, most from Sunnmøre, by boat the long road to South Africa and Kwazulu-Natal. After arrival at Port Shepstone, the families were each awarded a lot (soil patch, parcel) and one could begin to build a house and cultivate the soil. In 1882 a party of 246 Norwegian immigrants settled in nearby Marburg near Port Shepstone[3] and played a large part in the development of the area.[4] Although a few went back home and others went to Australia, most Norwegians remain in this area. After a short time they began to build a church, the Norwegian Settler's Church, which is still in full operation after being extended twice. The church is also a Norwegian museum with things Norwegians brought with them from home, as for example, bunad, tools, kitchen utensils, etc. Norwegians also put their mark on place names in the area with names like Oslo Beach and Fredheim.

Later Norwegians participated in gold-digging in Johannesburg - and the Norwegian missionaries were among the first who established Christianity in Zululand.

Early in the 1900s had the Norwegians already established Norwegian School, Norwegian Lutheran Church and Norwegian newspapers in Durban. In line with the expanding whaling and the growing Norwegian merchant fleet, reached the Norwegian South Africa climax towards the middle of the 1900s. The capital was Durban. Durban's major Norwegian ancestors were Abraham Larsen and Jacob Egeland.

Now there is a thinning in the ranks of the first and second generation immigrants - those who kept their Norwegian identity. A few years ago potetløp was held for costume-clad children at 17 May. Two years ago the Norwegian society in the years after 110 years of activity, and was a Scandinavian club. There are still gathering places such as The Norwegian Hall, the former Norwegian Lutheran Church, St. Olav's Church. There are Norwegian names in the directory, Norwegian houses and street names. And there always will be the occasional immigrant with Norwegian names and language intact, such as Rolf Larsen, the last surviving Norwegian whale hunter in Durban.


  1. ^ Hvor mange utvandret?
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Raper, R.E. Dictionary of Southern African Place Names. Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa).
  4. ^ Bond, John (1956). They were South Africans. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. p. 90.