Africans in London

This post is part of a series of blog posts introducing multiple migrant communities living in London.

The colours, cultures and vibes of London’s trendy African communities can be found at every corner. It is especially true for Nigerian, Ghanaian and South African migrants for which London has continuously been considered a recreation playground. Find out more about London’s lively African community below – or meet them on Migreat at ‘Africans in London’.

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A Culturally Diverse and Lively Community

It is estimated that there are over 2,000,000 ‘British-African’ and people of African descent living in the UK with over 600,000 African migrants living in London. Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, Twi, Lingala, Somali and Afrikaans are the main African languages spoken in the capital with the inevitable French and Portuguese representing the Francophone and Lusophone brothers and sisters. From the stylish occasional wear outfits to the afrobeat dancing and eating jollof rice; the lively African vibes have been established in Peckham, Thamesmead and Harlesden. To hear voiceful Nigerian and Ghanaians, get up early and go to churches on Sundays in Camberwell or around Stoke Newington. At nights and in restaurants in Brixton or Elephant and Castle, it is easy to see how African ‘interminglings’ with British culture has made the UK capital a nice playground for the community.

Old and New Migration Paths

Migrants from the fascinating African continent have settled in London decades ago; however a new wave of African migrants are being well received into the capital. Numerous Somali migrants have come from Somalia with others moving away from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Netherlands. Many are refugee and asylum seekers along with those who are naturalised citizens. A similar story can be said of Congolese and Côte d’Ivoire migrants who are coming to London from France, Belgium and Portugal. Many represent the second and third generation of Africans who settled in Europe over half a century earlier.

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Though they represent a fraction; EU migrants of African origin are regarded in statistics as EU migrants. For example; there has been a gradual increase in the number Ghanaian migrants coming to the UK from Germany (who represent the largest migrant group from sub-Saharan Africa in Germany). Likewise Angolan, Cape Verde and Guinean communities coming from Portugal (Angolans in Portugal form the country’s second-largest group of African migrants, after Cape Verdeans) and can be found in Harlseden, Lambeth, Westminster. There are over 20,000 Portuguese speaking African migrants in London alone with Cape Verde and Angola being the main represented nationalities. Today’s Modern African Londoners Times have changed for London’s African communities since the ‘commonwealth’ migration era of the 1970s and 1980s. African and Caribbean communities have continued to grow even under the current conservative immigration rules. With established second and third generation black communities; the British habits that once took many Africans by surprise are diminishing as Africans are finally getting their cultures recognised and celebrated as part of London’s identity.

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Who are the African migrants in London and how can you get to know them better? For for the latest gist and tips surrounding the growth of African fashion in London; checkout the famous Mariam Bashorun.  To get an understanding of what an African ‘Londoner’ looks like and is challenged by; checkout HausaFulani, (an innovative Fulani Nigerian woman who moved to Nigeria and then moved back to the UK). To get to know more about the local communities and if you want to move to London yourself, you surely want to read the 10 things Africans need to know before coming to London and what are the stereotypes to expect, if any!

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Migreat’s African Communities Manager Tholani has written about where to find a good Nigerian tailor, the best community centres and event decorators for those special occasions and many more tips for African migrants in London. Check all this out on Migreat for Africans and don’t hesitate to say hello on @MigreatAF

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