Namibia’s population of European descent is spread through central and southern Namibia and concentrates in the urban centres. Numbering about 100 000 the whites work in commerce, manufacturing, professional services and farming. A large part of the white population descends from South African farmers trekking north in 19th century. Others are offsprings of German settler and have lived in the country for 7 or 8 generation. A smaller group of Portuguese migrated south from Angola during the civil war. Although English is the official language and is widely spoken, there are few people of British descent in Namibia. About two-thirds of the European population speak Afrikaans, a quarter speaks German, a small portion speaks Portuguese and the remainder has English as a first language. During South African rule Namibia had three official languages: Afrikaans, English and German. Since independence in 1990 English is the only official language.
The first missionaries and farmers settled in Namibia in the 1800s. Many of them were South Africans of Dutch descent. In 1884 Namibia was declared a German protectorate and the German influence is still strong in Namibian culture. Today about 25 000 Namibians trace their ancestry back to Germany and many buildings, restaurants and names are traces of the short German rule. During the First World War South Africa gained control of its northern neighbour and kept this grip until Namibian independence in 1990. Today white Namibians make up about 7% of the population, which is the second largest percentage in Africa after South Africa.