English | français

Skip to content Skip to menu Skip to search

Logo du site

Home > Secteur-English > General > Black Jews in South Africa

Black Jews in South Africa

This group lives in a region in the north of S.A. known as Venda. Apparently early Jewish traders in S.A. found that certain Africans in Venda practised kashrut and other Jewish practises, and historical records of the Boer republics mention black Jews.
There are supposedly 300,000 such Jews in S.A. ; they claim to be descendants of a group of Yemenite Jews who migrated south and intermarried with the locals. Supposedly, there are similar groups all along the east coast of Africa. Of particular interest are 40000 members of the black Lemba people. Like the Abayudaya, these people are keen to learn more about Jewish laws and practices.
On the other hand, there is a book about this group (called the Lemba’) called Voyage to the Invisible City. The author, Tudor Parfitt lives with them, studies them and sifts through the early records of the area. They appear to him to be a mixture of locals, Hindus from India (they have lots of ancestor worship mixed in too). He originally concluded that there is little likelihood that they have any real Jewish ancestry.
Recently, Kohen Gadol Haplotype testing has been performed among the Lemba ; these tests have proven the Lemba to have the highest concentration of the gene marker than any known halakhic Jewish group. This is reported in an article titled "Decoding the Priesthood" by Peter Hirshberg and Jane Logan, in Jerusalem Report (May 10, 1999 issue). According to this article, the Lemba have the same proportion of the gene as "Western" Jews and a remarkably high frequency among their Buba clan, a senior clan parallel to our Cohens.

SPIP 3.0.16 [21266] | Template BeeSpip v.3.1.0