White people in Zambia

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia
White people in Zambia
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Zambia (Approx. 40,000)[1]
English, Afrikaans
Christianity, Judaism
Related ethnic groups
White people in Botswana, White people in Zimbabwe, White South Africans

White people in Zambia or White Zambians are people from Zambia who are of European descent and who do not regard themselves, or are not regarded as, being part of another racial group.


In 1966, three years after Zambian independence, 70,000 Europeans lived in the country, with 18 percent living in the capital Lusaka. Half of the European population lived in the Copperbelt region to the north near the border with the Congo's Katanga Province.

In the 1960s, White Zambians tended to favor white-minority rule in Rhodesia and the apartheid system in South Africa, although small numbers prevented them from establishing a similar form of government in Zambia. At the Copperbelt mines, 6,500 expatriate workers held South African citizenship. Zambian whites made up the second largest group of immigrants moving to South Africa by 1967, fearful of the changing political climate in Zambia.[2]

The black African-led government of Zambia pursued a non-racial policy that allowed white residents of the country, who were not automatically citizens by birth to register as Zambian citizens within two years of independence. President Kaunda criticized continued racial discrimination in the Copperbelt, in a speech delivered in October, 1966. Following the speech, 23 whites were deported for inspiring 'racial and industrial unrest.' White Zambians remained disproportionately represented in the armed forces until a suitable number of qualified black personnel could be trained to replace them; until 1972 the Zambian Army still answered to a white commander and a predominantly white officer corps.[3]

Many whites decided to emigrate to South Africa following a 1966 riot in which a European woman was killed. The mobs implicated in the attack believed that white saboteurs, supportive of Rhodesia, had caused a serious fire at the Kitwe oil depot.

Modern day

In 2014, Zambia had a European population of approximately 40,000.[1] Since independence the community has never exceeded 1.1% of Zambia's population. Many long term residents have voluntarily retained South African or British nationality. However, an unknown number hold Zambian passports. Guy Scott, a white Zambian citizen and former Vice President, became Acting President of Zambia after the unexpected death of President Michael Sata.

Population chart

White Population of Zambia, 1911-2015
Government Year Whites Change Natives % White
British South

Africa Company


1911 1,497 - n/a n/a
1923 3,750 +2,253 1,753,000[4] 2
1924 4,000 +250 n/a n/a

Protectorate of




1925 4,624 +624 n/a n/a
1931 13,846 +9,222 n/a n/a
1932 10,553 -3,293 n/a n/a
1933 11,278 +725 n/s n/a
1935 10,000 -1,278 n/a n/a
1940 15,188 +5,188 2,099,000[4] 7
1943 18,745 +3,537 n/a n/a
1945 21,371 +2,626 n/a n/a
1946 21,919 +548 n/a n/a
1951 37,221 +15,302 n/a n/a
Federation of

Rhodesia and



1954 60,000 +22,779 n/a n/a
1956 64,800 +4,800 n/a n/a
1960 76,000 +11,200 3,082,627 .2
1961 75,000 -1,000 3,269,151 2
1963 74,000 -1,000 3,368,961 2
Republic of



1964 70,000[5] -4,000 3,472,843 2
1966 70,000 0 3,692,409 2
2005 30,000[6] -40,000 11,470,022 .2
2014 40,000[1] +10,000 14,950,544 .2


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 An African Country That’s 0.3 Percent White Now Has A White President
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  • Tordoff, William, ed. "Politics in Zambia." University of California, 1974.
  • Levinson, David. "Ethnic Groups Worldwide." Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998.