Hinduism in Africa

Mauritius is the only African Union country where Hinduism is the dominant religion, with 56.4% of the population as followers in 2010.[1] Hinduism is the second largest religion in Réunion (6.7%)[2] and Seychelles (2.4%).[3]


Hinduism took root in Africa from the late 19th century onwards through the spread of the British Empire, which colonized huge swaths of land throughout Asia and Africa, including almost the entirety of the Indian subcontinent. Many Indians were recruited as indentured servants throughout the British Empire, settling mainly in the British colonies of Southern and Eastern Africa. The descendants of these settlers often chose to remain in Africa after the end of colonial rule, developing Indo-African communities that remain to this day.

Hinduism is non-proselytizing religion and was usually not propagated to the same lengths or through the same means as Christianity and Islam. As such, it has mostly been confined to practise by the Indo-African communities of these countries. However, in post-colonial Africa, a small-scale movement for Hinduism and its propagation outside the Indo-African community has occurred, spearheaded by such individuals as Swami Ghanananda, the first Hindu swami of Ghana. Today, Lagos, Nigeria, which did not receive an original influx of Indian migrants as did countries such as South Africa and Uganda, is home to over 25,000 Hindus, mostly local converts[4] and more recent, post-independence Indian immigrants. This was primarily the work of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) missionaries.

While Hinduism has been cited as possessing many parallels to traditional African religions,[5][6] it has received opposition from the entrenched Christian elites and Muslim minorities of these countries. The Swaminarayan faith has a sizable following in Africa.[7] Several temples belonging to the faith have been built in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.[8]

West Africa

Hinduism is a recent phenomenon in West Africa most notably Ghana where it is said to be the fastest growing religion. However the Hindu presence in other West African states is limited to South Asian people residing in countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Central Africa

According to the PEW Research Centre, there are more than 100,000 Hindus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

East Africa

Sri Maha Kalakambal Temple in Saint-Denis, Réunion

The Eastern region of Africa is home to many migrant communities from India. This region is home to various Hindu temples mainly in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The country of Mauritius, retaining a Hindu majority is found in Eastern Africa.

About 6.7 % of the population of Réunion follows Hinduism,making it the second largest religion in Réunion.[9]In Seychelles Hindus constitute 2.4 % of the population [10]There is also a small number of Hindus in Madagascar.[11]

Southern Africa

The largest concentration of Hindus in the continent can be found in the Southern region of Africa. South Africa is home to more than 500,000 Hindus.

See also


  1. ^ Pew Research Center (December 18, 2012). Religious Composition by Country 2010
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20071013201658/http://www.religiousintelligence.co.uk/country/?CountryID=151
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-14. Retrieved 2015-04-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-01-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ https://ramanan50.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/african-religion-hinduism-similatities/
  6. ^ http://history-of-hinduism.blogspot.co.nz/2010/07/hinduism-and-ancient-egyptian-religion.html
  7. ^ https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=tPkexi2EhAIC&pg=PA208&lpg=PA208&dq=swaminarayan+africa+population&source=bl&ots=uif6WoiE7W&sig=F8WhSuhapKjUn-GjR_S_OORhCh4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mq37VPmqBYe68gWnnYCgBA&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=swaminarayan%20africa%20population&f=false
  8. ^ "Swaminarayan Mandirs". Archived from the original on 2009-05-06.
  9. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20071013201658/http://www.religiousintelligence.co.uk/country/?CountryID=151
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-14. Retrieved 2015-04-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ United States Department of State

External links

Hinduism by country

Hinduism has over 1.1 billion adherents worldwide (15–16% of world's population). Nepal (81.3%) and India (79.8%) are countries with Hindus being the majority of their respective populations. Along with Christianity (31.5%), Islam (23.2%), Hinduism is one of the three major religions of the world by percentage of population. Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. Presently, India and Nepal are the two Hindu majority countries. Most Hindus are found in Asian countries. The countries with more than 500,000 Hindu residents and citizens include (in decreasing order) – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia (especially in Bali, which is 84% Hindu), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, United States, Myanmar, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Mauritius, and the Caribbean([Hinduism in the Fiji|Fiji (West Indies).

There are significant numbers of Hindu enclaves around the world, with many in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Hinduism is also practised by the non-Indic people like Balinese of Bali island (Indonesia), Tengger of Java (Indonesia) and Balamon Cham of Vietnam.

Hinduism in Botswana

Hinduism is a minority religion practised by 0.3 % of the population of Botswana.The practice of Hinduism in Botswana is concentrated in and around Gaborone and Selebi-Phikwe. The community of Hindus began to form in the early 20th century with the beginning of immigration from India to Botswana. Most Hindus in Botswana are of Indian descent.

Hinduism in Ghana

Hinduism in Ghana was first introduced by Sindhi settlers who migrated to Ghana after India was divided in 1947. It was spread to Ghana actively by Ghana's Hindu Monastery headed by Swami Ghananand Saraswati and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Hinduism in Madagascar

The history of Hinduism in Madagascar began with the arrival of primarily Gujarati from the Saurashtra region of India as far back as 1870. These were predominantly Muslim (Khojas, Ismailis and Daoudi Bohras), but a small number were Hindus.

Hinduism in Malawi

Hinduism in Malawi arrived when Indian colonists and mercantilists were brought by the colonial British administrators in late 19th and early 20th-century in what was then known as British Central Africa and later Nyasaland. They were a part of a global movement of workers to parts of East Africa, to help build infrastructure projects, establish services, retail markets and for administrative support. The immigrants, some educated and skilled but mostly poor and struggling in famine prone areas of Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal, helped construct the first railway line between Malawi and Mozambique.Hinduism has a very small minority presence in predominantly Christian Malawi. The government tracks Christian and Muslim demographics, but does not recognize other religions separately, considers Hindus as well as the traditional African religions as a part of the "Others" category. The "Others" were about 3.1% in 2006.According to the 1994 constitution of Malawi, many seats in its Senate are reserved for "major religious faiths of Malawi", and only Christianity and Islam is recognized as "major faiths". Malawi thus constitutionally bars people with faiths such as Hinduism from political representation in its Senate, allows only Christians and Muslims to hold the set aside seats of political power.After colonialism ended, Hindus (along with Jains and Sikhs) were discriminated against in East Africa, where various East African governments promoted Africanization enacting laws and policies that required commercial and professional sectors of the economy to be owned by non-Europeans, non-Asians, and only indigenous Africans. Many Hindus previously residing in Malawi migrated to other countries during this period, particularly the United Kingdom starting with the 1960s.Gujarati, Sindhi and Bengali are the Main languages of Hindus in Malawi. Sub-traditions of Hinduism such as the Brahma Kumaris have a Raja Yoga Centre at Trikum Mansion in Blantyre.

Hinduism in Mauritius

2018 500,000. -0.4%

Hinduism in Mauritius began when Indians from diverse religious groups were brought as indentured labor to colonial French and later in much larger numbers to British plantations in Mauritius and neighboring islands of the Indian Ocean. The migrants came primarily from what are now the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.Hinduism is the largest religion in Mauritius, with over 670,000 adherents, representing approximately 48.5% of the total 1.3 million population of the country according to the 2011 census made by Statistics Mauritius. This makes the Mauritius islands in the Indian Ocean as the country having highest percentage of Hindus in Africa and third highest percentage of Hindus in the world after Nepal and India.

Hinduism in Mozambique

Mozambique has a historic Hindu community. Some of their ancestors came to Mozambique at least 500 years ago. Predating their economic participation in Mozambique before the arrival of Vasco da Gama, they adapted during the Portuguese colonial rule. An exodus began during the civil wars between 1975–1990. After 1990 political and social reforms in Mozambique, the Hindu community along with the other minority religions, have once again begun to become vibrant.

There is a Hindu temple built in Mozambique. Most of the Mozambican Hindus are Goans who migrated to Mozambique from Goa which was a Portuguese colony until 1961.

Hinduism in Nigeria

Hinduism spread to Nigeria mainly by immigration of Hindus from India and by way of Hare Krishna missionaries. Sindhis were the first to arrive in Nigeria in the early part of the nineteenth century. Initially, they were primarily engaged in trading but gradually, while retaining their interest in trading, they ventured into other fields such as manufacturing and professional services. In succeeding decades, they made substantial investments, aggregating more than US$ 4 billion. In this way, they engaged themselves actively in the textiles sector, as well as in pharmaceuticals, fishing and engineering industries.

Hinduism in Réunion

Hinduism in Réunion constitutes a significant part of the island's population. The island of Réunion is home to approximately 200,000 Indian descendants amongst the roughly 800,000 strong population. .Estimates of practicing Hindus vary from 6.7% to 10.7%. .Yet, uncertainty as to the exact number of Hindus in the country results from the fact that many of the members of the Indian population cross-identify with Roman Catholic, Muslim and Hindu faiths.

There are also Sri lankan tamil Hindus who came as refugees.

Hinduism in Seychelles

Hinduism in the Seychelles is the second largest religion after Christianity, with more than 2.4% of the population. The Hindu following in Seychelles has seen an increase in the community with the organization of the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam and the consecration of the Navasakti Vinayagar Temple. The increase in size and popularity of Hinduism caused the Government to declare Taippoosam Kavadi Festival a holiday.

6% of the population of Seychelles are Ethnic Indians.But only 2.4% are Hindus

Hinduism in Sierra Leone

Hinduism in Sierra Leone is the religion of some South Asian expatriates.Hindus in Sierra Leone are primarily of South Asian descent and are usually traders. Freetown, the capital and principal city of Sierra Leone, has a large Hindu community, including a Hindu association and a priest.Hindus are allowed cremation in Freetown.Following the exodus of expatriates in 1999 during the Sierra Leone civil war, the Indian community numbers dwindled to about 100, mostly businessmen of Sindhi origin.

Hinduism in Tanzania

The earliest evidence of Hinduism in Tanzania is from the 1st millennium AD when there was trade between East Africa and Indian subcontinent. Most of these traders came from Gujarat, Deccan (now Maharashtra) and Tamil Chola empire. Archaeological evidence of small Hindu settlements have been found in Zanzibar and parts of Swahili coast, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.Pew Research Center estimates there were about 50,000 Hindus in Tanzania in 2010.

Hinduism in Togo

Hinduism is a recent phenomenon in Togo. The religion was introduced by indigenous Africans based in Accra, Ghana, and a branch of the Hindu Monastery of Africa has been established in Lomé.

Hinduism in Zimbabwe

Hinduism is a minority faith in Zimbabwe

Outline of Africa

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the continent Africa:

Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. It is famous for its savanna, its jungles, and the Sahara (desert).

Hinduism in Africa
Sovereign states
States with limited
Dependencies and
other territories
Sovereign states
autonomies and
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