Template talk:Ethnic groups in South Africa

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WikiProject Ethnic groups (Rated NA-class)
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Any logic in the ordering of the groups? It sure escapes me... Perhaps we can do

  • By estimated number - a bit difficult
  • Alphabetically
  • Geographical roundtrip - also a bit difficult
I sorted it alphabetically. Just the Shangaan/Tsonga issue remain. -- 21:10, 21 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am wondering where the necessity for the use of this template comes from - it smacks so much of apartheid and the kind of teaching South Africans received in school in those times - can we not chooose to not use this template?

German South African[edit]

I have added a like to the template for ethnically german south africans i feel it is appropriate as the article explaind with a possible 1.2million german descendants in south africa and at least 12000 German language speakers i feel that it meets the requirements to be added to the template. See: German_diaspora#South_Africa


Actually, this template is inherently problematic and I can't think of any elegant way of fixing this.

The list of ethnic groups is not exhaustive, although the implication is that it is. For example, Nelson Mandela is a well-known (that's an understatement) native South African, yet his ethnic group is not in the list. He is NOT umXhosa, but rather umThembu -- one of the many ethnic groups which speak isiXhosa.

Unfortunately, far too few people realise that:

  1. There are only 11 OFFICIAL languages in the country -- the number of actual languages is far higher than that
  2. Not every language is spoken by a single ethnic group, and not every group speaks a single language.

No one cannot deny that, although they do speak Afrikaans, "Coloureds" and the Griqua people (among others) are NOT Afrikaners. Additionally, Malay and Indian South Africans speak numerous home languages, is it truly difficult to appreciate that similar complications could be true of the rest of the population of the country?

I'll appreciate any input other editors may have regarding this problem.

Tebello TheWHAT!!?? 21:12, 12 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding Chris' "major rewrite"[edit]

This category is problematic enough. Is categorising the ethnic groups with respect to the thoroughly discredited concept of "race" actually a good idea at all? And what is its purpose? Tebello TheWHAT!!?? 16:24, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's a good idea since:
  1. the current template leaves out a lot of different peoples
  2. race might not be a scientifically accepted term however it is just a more general way of classifying peoples (like Felinae is a subgroup of Felidae)

ChrisDHDR 17:01, 3 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Non-existent and/or insignificant groups[edit]

Who are/were the "Gonagua" and why are "Romanians" listed at all? I would actually be extremely surprised if there are more than a few hundred Romanians in total in SA! The term "Anglo-African" is also problematic. When I see or hear it my first thought is a person of mixed British and Black parentage and not an English speaking white person. Roger (talk) 21:20, 9 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, I agree that we should remove those minor groups, people can see them in the category. My self, being half Franco-Mauritian , a quarter German and a quarter English, would definitely say "English" in a survey. For the Anglo-African issue I guess that most South Africans would use English first, so it would be best to use that to avoid confusion and make navigation easier. ChrisDHDR 15:50, 11 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If Romanians of South Africa are a small group and there's no sources to prove their presence and significance (as it appears from the state of that article), then they don't belong in Wikipedia in the first place, let alone in a navigation template. Otherwise, what's the difficulty with including articles about groups with a well-referenced presence just because their population is small? (Specifically, I'm whinging about my own article, Koreans in South Africa). It's not as though the template is running out of space in the European/Asian columns, and there's clear visual distinction (use of bold font) between major groups and minor groups—a good idea that I'm going to borrow for other similar templates. Cheers, cab (talk) 04:06, 22 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Division of Blacks[edit]

I don't see what's ridiculous about dividing blacks between Sotho-Tswana and Nguni. This is the proper division used in ethnolinguistology; there is nothing that is controversial, it's just like dividing Germanic languages between their Western and Northern varieties. ChrisDHDR 19:22, 14 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are Vhavenda Sotho-Tswana?

Chris, for historical and social reasons, it is frowned upon in this country to divide people into these types of categories and propagate this pseudoscience. You have now taken this game to its ridiculous conclusion.

I know it's POSSIBLE to make these divisions that you started by creating the "race" divisions 5 months ago, but is it NECESSARY? What does it add to the box, apart from making it look complex and pretty? If you want to make problematic changes like this you really need to provide better motivation than "somebody else has done it elsewhere, so it's cool".

Tebello TheWHAT!!?? 20:03, 14 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oh stop being over-politically correct; I agree that I did make a mistake: the Venda should be in their own group and the Bamalete should go in the Nguni group. However apart from this I don't see what the problem is: these subgroups are only made to to further the purpose of this template: facilitate navigation.
On top of that these subgroups are perfectly sensible: they are based on the current (and really the only sensible) consensus in ethnolinguistics concerning South African ethnic groups. If you are not happy with that division then how can you be happy what the division of people into ethnic groups? You yourself say that you are against "dogmas", however if this one is an exception then you can replace the whole page with the grossly-over-politically correct (but perfectly stupid) "There is only one ethnic group is South Africa: we are all a big happy South African familly!! Yeayyyyyy!!!". ChrisDHDR 10:34, 15 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Portuguese and Greeks[edit]

I have added these groups to the list. They are clearly distinct ethnic/cultural groups within the broader white population. Numerically thay are at least as signifant as Jewish South Africans. Their cultural/historical significance can also not be denied. Roger (talk) 14:34, 23 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The reason why they are not there is that we can't put all the ethnic groups on this template; the others can be found at Category:Ethnic groups in South Africa. On top of that these groups would now speak English as their home language, and so are represented by the English (or its long name "English-speaking South Africans" if you prefer):

Anglo-Africans are people of primarily Sub-Saharan Africa whose first language is English. Most are of British descent, although they can be of any ancestry, with Irish, French Huguenot, Jewish, and Italian. Most live in South Africa.

— Wikipedia, Anglo-African
As for why the Jews are there and not the Greeks or Portuguese, is that they have never fully integrated [1], and are greatly superieur in numbers, 100 000 to 49 000 and 13 000.ChrisDHDR 09:51, 27 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This template makes me cringe[edit]

I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something just a little... wrong about it. It smacks a little of outdated thinking.

For instance, to quote from the Capoid race article:

The Capoid race is a historical racial category proposed in 1962 by anthropologist Carleton S. Coon and named after the Cape of Good Hope; these people had formerly been regarded as a sub-type of the historical racial category Negroid.[1][2]
This new division was proposed because of the very different appearance of those of the Capoid race from others of what was formerly called the Negroid race (golden brown rather than sepia colored skin, peppercorn hair rather than wooly hair, and epicanthic eye folds). Coon argued that the term Negroid race should be abandoned, and the people of that race who are not Capoids should be termed the Congoid race[1].
More recent research in population genetics refers to these two populations within sub-Saharan Africa as "Khoisanid" and "Black African".[3]

Clearly the term is as outdated as "Negroid" is.

Also, "Bushmen" can be problematic - see Bushman#Naming. Yes, I know that the fact that articles are filed under these names is rather ironic.

Suggestions (although I'm not quite sure why I'm trying to salvage this template):

  • Avoid "Blacks", "Whites", "Coloureds" etc. and stick to "Black People", "White People", "Coloured People". I know there are different opinions on this, but I find sticking to using these terms as adjectives instead of nouns instantly decreases the possibility of sounding biased. Alternatively, since all the "sub-groups" are adjectives already, just drop the "s"es from the end.
  • Change "All Bantu" to "aBantu" or "Bantu People". (I know it's a noun in Xhosa/Zulu etc. but using it as a noun in English can easily be considered pejorative. In any case, you couldn't use it for this purpose in Xhosa/Zulu at all, since it simply means "people".)
  • Change "Capoid" to "Khoisan", for goodness' sake. Change Bushmen to San, but link to the Bushmen article. That article clearly states that San is usually preferred in South Africa, and the template is called "Ethnic Groups in South Africa".
  • Reconsider the "Cape Coloureds" link? It seems there's a whole article there, but that does not change the fact that most coloured people don't see the "Cape Coloured"/"Other Coloured" distinction of the apartheid years as one that is still valid or relevant today. Gk sa (talk) 14:56, 5 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's something ridiculous about this template[edit]

It lists Ndwandwe, doesn't list Shangaan, lists all of Tsonga as if they all of South Africa. Untrammeled (talk) 11:46, 15 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Asian groups: should it just be "Others"[edit]

I am not entirely comfortable with the "Asian groups" grouping (which I renamed from the even more misleading "Asians", since Asian almost always means Indian or South Asian) The groups listed here are not in any way coherent culturally, nor were they classified the same way under Apartheid. Grouping them together feels like WP:SYNTH. There are two options: splitting the Indians out to a separate row (but the only subarticles would be Tamil South Africans and possibly Memon South Africans) which feels like a waste.

The other option is to rename the "Asian groups" to "Others" and to include other big groups, like African migrants (such as Zimbabweans in South Africa) and to dump the "Asian" category altogether Park3r (talk) 13:32, 10 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ethnic groups of Black People[edit]

It is worth noting that according to the current scholarship on South African ethnic groups, speaks about groups (with kings) and groups with chiefs. The former are ethnic group and the latter are clans. When it comes to the list of ethnic groups among Black people, a good guide is to look at the officially recognised kingdoms and chieftaincies in South Africa. It can be used as a guide to establish which groups are semi-autonomous (have chiefs) or autonomous (have kings) from others. Despite Black people sometimes sharing a common language, they may be of different ethnic groups. For example, the Mpondo, Thembu (from which Nelson Mandela comes) and Mpondomise among others speak "officially" IsiXhosa and they select this on official documents as their language. However, they are not Xhosa people ethnically. The Nhlapo Commission resolved some disputes about which group is a autonomous and which groups is semi-autonomous. Of course, these categories are contested and sometimes they are successfully challenged. For example, the Mpondomise royal family contested that they have a kingdom and not a chieftaincy. Recently a court ruled in favour of the Mpondomise and against the government. This has resulted in the official recognition of the Mpondomise kingdom. I have thus added the Mpondomise as an ethnic group. Lukhanyo 19:20, 19 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]