Culture and diversity guide


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Section 2




African People


Introduction To The Community


Covering about 22 per cent of the world’s total land area and having 54 nations, Africa is the world’s second largest continent, with an enormous variety and diversity of languages, cultures, people and religions. This section refers to some of the groups who have migrated from Africa to areas of the UK.


Nigerians and people from Ghana are the two significant groups of people from West Africa. Nigeria has one of the largest populations in Africa, estimated at almost 120 million in 1995 and there are more than 250 ethnic groups. Although English is the official language many Nigerians are not fluent and are likely to speak Hausa, Yoruba, and Ibo. They are likely to be either Muslims or Christian. Almost all Ghanaians belong to one of about 100 black African ethnic groups, each with its own cultural heritage. English is still the official language of Ghana and is used in schools, business, and government. English is also the Language used to communicate between ethnic groups. Twi, an Akan language with many dialects, is spoken by about two-fifths of the population. Mole-Dagbani, Ewe, Ga-Adangbe and Hausa are also spoken. As a result, most Ghanaians are at least bilingual. Traditional African beliefs are held by many and play an important role in the lives of the people of Ghana, whilst the majority of other Ghanaians are either Muslims or Christian.


Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa that has been occupied by the Somali people for over 1,000 years and more than 95 per cent of the Somali population is composed of a single ethnic group. Somali, the official language, is spoken by almost all Somalis and belongs to the Cushitic family of languages. Nearly all Somalis are Sunni Muslim.


There are approximately 60,000 Somalis in the UK, who tend to be either the established Somali community of sailors and their families or the more recent asylum seekers and refugees (many of whom have arrived in Britain from refugee camps).




Africa is a huge continent with many ex-colonial countries. For many people, English may not be the spoken language of their community.



Many Africans are of the Christian faith, although the majority of people from northern Nigeria follow the faith of Islam, as do smaller numbers of people from Morocco and Algeria (North Africa), Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. People from East Africa are predominantly of the Christian faith, however Somalis are Muslims.


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