Africa: Can white people be Africans? – Part 1

Can white people be Africans? Sentletse Diakanyo, a South African blogger, does not think so. He says, “Historically, the term “African” never had any ambiguous meaning. To Africans today it still does not have any ambiguous meaning. Africans across the continent and in the diaspora have long understood its meaning to refer to them as black people.”

His post entitled “We are not all Africans, black people are” has generated interesting reactions online with some people agreeing with him while others consider his arguments to be divisive.

He says, “You can be an African in any colour as long as he is black.”:

Henry Ford once said, “You can have any colour as long as it is black”. Similarly, native inhabitants of Africa say, “You can be an African in any colour as long as he is black.” There has been a sudden demand for an African to come in a variety of colours. During days of slavery when an African was a commodity traded over the counter, there was never a demand for him in any colour but black. There is now an attempt in the 21st century to redefine the colour scheme of an African. Whites want to be classified as African.

Sentletse argues that even Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, understood the true meaning of the term “Africa”:

On the occasion of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as the first democratically elected president of the Republic of South Africa, he said: “The South Africa we have struggled for, in which all our people, be they African, coloured, Indian or white, regard themselves as citizens of one nation is at hand.”

In his book, Facing Mount Kenya, the first president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, made it clear that the term “African” meant the native inhabitants of Africa:

“The African is conditioned, by cultural and social institutions of centuries, to a freedom of which Europe has little conception, and it is not in his nature to accept serfdom forever.” These are the words of Jomo Kenyatta, first president of Kenya, from the conclusion to his book Facing Mount Kenya in 1938. Kenyatta, too, does not appear to have suffered from the illusion that the term “African” referred to anybody else other than native inhabitants of Africa — the black people.

Sentletse makes a distinction between national identity and racial identity:

While ancient and recent history confirms that whites are not Africans; the notion that they are persists, primarily born from the lack of distinction between racial and national identity. Europeans who migrated and settled Africa through naturalisation assumed the national identity of countries in which they adopted as their own. Their descendants in later generations through birth assumed the national identity of those countries, not the racial identity as Africans. They remained whites or Europeans, as oppressors of Africans saw themselves. No white person can either through birth or naturalisation assume an identity of African. African is not and has never been a national identity. Nowhere does a country called Africa exist.

Even Arabs in North Africa are not Africans:

Our historical revisionists who want to be reclassified as Africans and no longer as Europeans or white, tend to look north at Arab countries and claim, in their state of bewilderment, that Arabs are Africans, therefore, they too have the right to proclaim themselves African. Perhaps it is the lack of historical knowledge that leads some to conclude that Arabs are Africans. The term “Arab” denote the racial identity of people from the Arabian Peninsula who conquered Egypt (then part of the Byzantine Empire) and Libya in the AD 600s and ended up controlling much of the northern part of Africa, including Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Therefore, Arabs are not Africans.

Afrikaans, a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa and Namibia, is not an African language:

It is puzzling that whites readily accept African languages to be exclusively those commonly known as black languages; yet they cannot accept that the description “African” exclusively refers to Black people. The notion that Afrikaans is an African language is as ridiculous as any claim to Africanism by the progeny of European settlers. Afrikaans by its origin is bastardised Dutch and as some say, “another form of Fanagalo”. It is not an African language in the same manner that Arabic-dialect in Egypt is not an African language.

At the time of writing this post, there were 281 comments on his post. Let's look at a few of them:

Perry Curling-Hope says:

I was born in South Africa and so were my parents and their parents. That makes me African!!! (I’m a so-called coloured by the way, not white).

If you’re gonna use this argument then we might as well go all the way back to the first humans. that makes us all African.

I think this idiotic blog amounts to hate speech and it typical neo-African racism.

wannaknow says:

I’m white. I was born in Africa. So were my parents. And grandparents. I can trace my lineage, both maternally and paternally, back to 7 generations born in Africa before we start finding Europeans. My family has been here longer than most Americans have baan in America, and yet, they have the right to call themselves “American”.

I’ve never been to europe – nevermind have an ancestry there.

You remove my right to call myself an African – yet, I cannot call myself European. Then what am I? Are you so bold as to devoid me of any identity? Am I to live seasonless in this world where neither Africa nor Europe would take me?

I am white. I am an African. If this bothers you, then its your mind that is narrow, not mine.

Christopher says he is not an African but he belongs in Africa:

Being a person of no colour, I LOVE this! makes absolute sense… the facts are ’spot on’… it’s logical and well thought through. I’m not an African but know for sure that I *belong* in Africa…

X Cepting says no one can claim ownership over the term “African”:

I am Indian and African. Period. I was born on this continent, and have never been to India. You have no ownership over the term, and I am comfortable using it to describe me.

yeahboet says:

I was born in Zambia (only lived there for 2 years), of white South African parents, I consider myself a South African. If asked by foreigners for my nationality, I am a South African and if necessary to qualify further – a white South African.

I don’t classify myself as a European though, as I don’t belong in Europe. However, I also don’t classify myself as an African as I agree with Sentletse, there may not be a universal definition but we all know what we understand by African. Ask any citizen of America to classify themselves and they will say “American” but we all know they actually mean USA American not all America in the geographic sense.

I don’t understand the problem I am happy to be a South African – hela!

A true South African is a descendant of the Khoi-San:

With your logic, it is equally true that no African has the right to call himself South African unless he is descended from the Khoi-San. They were the only tribes in this area until they were invaded and dispossessed of their land.

MoBear says:

Fine you’re an African and I am an European – now what?

To be born in China does not make one a Chinese:

I am with you on this one Sentletse,to be born in China does not make one a Chineese. And besides,if the forms at Home Affairs classify blacks as Africans,then we are not all African,Black people are.


  • […] A number of South Africans have responded to Sentletse Diakanyo's post entitled “We are not all Africans, black people are!” We wrote a roundup of his post here. […]

  • Tryingtolearnsomething

    I dont understand why people are purposefully choosing to mix up talking about race and nationality. I think non-whites like to make it ambiguous because of the stigma attached to saying the name of the race such as negro, mongoloian,etc. The truth is because most countries in this world are not as racially diverse especially like America we have linked the actual country or continents to races but we cannot go in that directiion anymore. This is now a global community it is moving that way and different people are emigrating to different countries. Therefore it is imperative for sociologists and geneticists to label and determine the different races properly. If you were born in China then you are a Chinese citizen are you not. Even if you are caucasian. you should be termed a caucasian chinese person. Period. Hopefully this world will have to come to the experience of ebeing so mixed that we dont need anyof these distinctiions because we have so much mixing between the people.

  • annomous

    black people where the first to enharit the land called africa, so we are rightfull AFRICANS!the white man did’nt come to Africa untill 1860, after AFRICANS have already been there for 6,000 years.

    • muzungu

      Actually the white man came from Africa, left, and then came back. The truth is, your identity is shaped by your experiences. My experience is African, my identity is African, irrespective as to what others think, or I am allowed or not allowed to say.

      • Umm

        You can go even further back, really depends on where you consider history starts. Africans migrated North into Europe, got cut of from Africa, became white does to environmental conditions and eventually many 1000s of years later returned to Africa.

    • Zabanu

      Black people were tge first human and have been in afrika for for about a million year. We were also the only humans on earth since leaving afrika.
      Non afrikans hav been around for short tine only tens thousands of years at most.
      We africans were tge first world wide

  • Sashagirl1

    This subject never fails to amaze me – recently, I visited a beauty store owned by Africans (I am African-American) and I was interested in buying a pair of gold heart shaped hoop earrings. I asked the owner if I may see them & she obliged & informed me that the earrings were made in Africa with African gold as the owner further explained that African gold was gold that did not turn colors or fade (in other words – the earrings were not real gold). I told the owner that I did not have a problem purchasing anything made in Africa or made with “African gold”. I went on to profess my love for the Motherland – Africa & that I myself, just as she, was of the African heritage & that the only reason I’m not fully African is because back during slavery, the slave masters either raped the slave women or had love affairs, or consentual sex with the slave women & as a result, the off-spring became African American because of the mother being African & the father being American & also, because I was born on American soil. To my great surprise, the African owner seemed to not like the fact that I considered myself any part of the African hertiage & she blatanly disagreed with me being any part of the African heritage. I wondered to myself that if the African owner’s opinion was correct, than what heritage does the African American race descend from?
    At least now I fully understand why when African Americans are in the presence of Africans in public, why they stare at us as if they are disgusted by even looking at us – they don’t even consider African Amnericans as a people descended from the African heritage! I think that Africans only consider “Black Africans” who were born & raised on African soil as the true African people which if that is the case, I strongly disagree!

    • waswa

      An African , by definition, is some one who is a descendant from Africans and who can trace more than 97% of their DNA to an African source. Having a father who is half Italian, for example , would make no difference so long as 97% or more (the average person can differ from their neighbour by just 6% or less ) of the persons DNA is akin to an African source . I ,for example,am related to the Zulu of Uganda through my mother. African-American isn’t a race , it’s an oxymoron . The reason (some) Africans don’t like African-Americans , is because they try to adopt the ever-present ”White man” life style , while blaming their African heritage for any ill will or prejudice they receive, yet they still wander from the traditions and the overall love of Africa .African-Americans and Afro-Europeans had ancestors who went through all the hardships , but now their just trying to get away from their skin as much as possible . White people , as always are trying to get more and more involved . they do this in order to rob them ”legally ”. This is where they give the appearance of consideration , but go and do something stupid . E.g they come to Uganda and try to spark up a conflict that was ended two decades ago, then instead of sending soldiers , they send mineral experts to see if thy could take anything else from them .shocking really.

  • Island Gerl

    White people will NEVER be Africans. EVER.

    • muzungu

      By this logic gender is static as well. Fortunately more reasonable viewpoints are trending towards recognizing that your identity is shaped by BOTH your genetics and your experiences.

      • Zambanu

        White did came from europe not afrika. You ugly kind only want land in afrika.
        You will never get it.
        Afrika belongs to black people and only us.
        By black we mean afrikans, not whites indians from india not arabs not asians.

        You white people have no right to any white pride or supremacy putside europe.
        Australia, the americas afrika, none of those lands are your to have any white pride.
        You whites are all colonist, go back europe

  • Olayinka Kazeem

    White South Africans made themselves the enemy by harassing and oppressing Black South Africans for centuries. Don’t be surprised when Black South Africans turn around and have absolutely no love for you whatsoever.

    • Fólkvarð

      I’m a white Norwegian. I agree fully. Whites will never be African. Africans have a right to be nationalists and racist. Whites and Arabs came to Africa, ruined their culture, dissolved the tribes mass transported slaves and ruined a lot of the language. It was the same here in Norway 1000 years ago, when the Roman Christians arrived. Our culture died, language slowly dissolved into what it is today.

      This whole notion of “one human race” is nothing but globalist cult propaganda. White “Africans” have not a single drop of African blood, they have no roots, they have no ancestral binding to the lands of Africa and their genetic variation does not abide by such a warm climate.

      Real Africans however, have roots, ancestral binding and they are bound to the land by blood and soil. Here we have an Ideologi known as Odalism. It comes from the old word Othala, meaning heritage.

      Ancestral worship was once extremely important here in the north. Out gods were great and many, our culture was our own.

      Odalism is by many globalists, internationalists and cultural marxists referred to as neo-nazism. Mainly because Odalists wishes that all natives belong and have full control over their own lands. Blood and soil is what binds our soul to our ancestral lands. We can feel our ancestors walk with us, watch over us, drink and eat with us.

      The neo-hippie propaganda of “all belong everywhere in peace and harmony” seeks to unite all under one single banner, thus removing these identities and cutting the bonds from our ancestors. It is our duty to protect our home and our ancestors from this plague that seeks to destroy everything our ancestors were.

      • PointBlankZA

        My GEO mapping shows I have 3% African DNA… From the East African region, which means my ancestors migrated North from Africa into Europe… I was born in Africa, by virtue of birth right I am an African. This is something that may be hard for Indigenous Africans to accept because it challenges their exclusive identity, but there you have it…

      • Zambanu

        Same gpes for whites world wide.

        You white do not belong on any country outside europe.

        When aborigonals in australia, blacks in africa, indigenous americans throughout the world gets anti white it is NEVER RACIST.

        You whites have no right to any pride outside europe.
        White pride is always racist outside europe.

  • John

    Sure I agree with that. And no black people can call themselves European.

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