at least 2.7 million
Afrikaners are an ethnic group of Northwestern European ancestry and associated with Southern Africa and the Afrikaans language.
Related ethno-linguistic groups
Afrikaners are descended from northwestern European settlers who first arrived in the Cape of Good Hope during the period of administration (1652–1795) by the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC). While the original settlers came mainly from the Netherlands, their numbers were also swelled later by French and German religious refugees. Their antecendents were primarily Dutch Calvinists and Flemish, together with numbers of Germans, French Huguenots, Frisians and Walloons. They lost their Dutch citizenship when the Prince of Orange acquiesced to British occupation and control of the Cape Colony in 1788.
The original intention by the Dutch who first settled at the Cape in 1652 was to establish a geographically limited refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company. The arrival in 1688 of French Huguenots who had escaped Catholic religious persecution added new blood and increased the settlers' numbers. Some of the colonists from other parts of Europe (e.g. Scandinavia, Portugal, Spain, and Scotland) were later also incorporated into what today comprises Afrikaners.
The first person on record as referring to himself as an "Afrikaner" was Hendrik Biebouw, who, in March 1707, stated that he was an Afrikaner and did not want to leave Africa. Biebouw meant by this claim to resist his expulsion from the Cape Colony, as ordered by the magistrate of Stellenbosch. The term is intended to indicate a first loyalty to South Africa, rather than to a European country. In that regard its usage is similar to the term American when applied to a European descended U.S. citizen.
Some Afrikaners refer to themselves as 'Boers'. 'Boer' literally means 'farmer' in Dutch, but its precise meaning inside South Africa can be ambiguous, and tends to shift depending on the context and the way in which the word is said. Because agriculture is one of South Africa's most technologically advanced and profitable industries, to describe someone as a boer can indicate that he or she is an important member of the community. Before the former white government transferred power to the newly elected black majority government, Anti-apartheid activists within South Africa referred to the police force (who had to enforce apartheid legislation) as "Boere." A political slogan of that era urged "Kill the Boer, kill the farmer." 
Origins of ethnic group
This section considers the impact of various Afrikaner migrations on the formation and contents of Afrikaner ethnicity. The impact of the experiences of colonial migrants from the Cape colony, like those from the Boer Republics after the Anglo-Boer wars, are traced. Seminal events such as the Battle of Blood River were interpreted as demonstrating divine support for Afrikaner identity in relation to indigenous peoples. During the Union era such events were reinterpreted in relation to British rule. Recent controversies about the "Bok van Blerk song" shows how historical events still provide tools for a reconstruction of a post-Afrikaner identity free from the taints of the apartheid era. Post-apartheid migrations should be considered in terms of their implications for Afrikaner identity.