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Asian South African

Ethnic group
GroupAsian South African
Population date1 274 867 (2011; estimated)
2.5% of South Africa's population
Significant populationsKwaZulu-Natal

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The majority of the Asian South African population is Indian in origin, most of them descended from indentured workers transported to work in the 19th century on the sugar plantations of the eastern coastal area, then known as Natal. They are largely English speaking, although many also retain the languages of their ancestors. There is also a significant group of Chinese South Africans (approximately 300,000 individuals), of whom the great majority are recent immigrants of the last two decades.

In total the 1.2 million Asians in South Africa represent about two per cent of the nation's population. Most are of Indian or South Asian origin, although there is also a rapidly increasing number of people of Chinese and other East Asian origin (sometimes classified as Coloured (mixed race) or White under Apartheid). Traditionally the group does not include the "Cape Malays", who were descended (at least in part) from South East Asians, who were classified as "Coloured" under apartheid.

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