I cannot give an absolute answer.
There is one absolute thing we know
and that's Saint Augustine was African.
Having said that however, we need
to look at the history of the area
of North Africa, extending from the
Atlantic to Egypt; especially of
the specific Roman province of North
As you may or may not know, the general
population (pre-Arabic) of Northern
Africa was a variation of "Caucasian" that
used to be called "Hamite" [from
Noah's third son, Ham]. While certainly
Negroids from south of the Sahara
were known and interspersed among
the population, the general population
would have been "Hamite" Caucasian.
At the time of Augustine, these people
would have been in the southern areas
of North Africa, in the outback portions
of the Roman Provinces, although
certainly intermarried with the later
more "civilized" settlers of North
Africa. These people are still in
North Africa today. We call them
the Berbers of North Africa.
Hundreds of years B.C. (Before Christ)
Phoenecians, a Semitic People from
Tyre and Sidon, in what is now
Lebanon and mentioned many times
in the Old Bible, closely related
to the Lebanese of today, set up
an empire in North Africa centered
on the City of Carthage, in what
is now Tunis. The empire extended
from the borders of Cyrene (Libya)
all the way to what is now Morocco
and included all of Spain and Portugal.
They were great navigators and tradesmen,
and for a good period of time, their
empire rivaled the rising Roman power.
You might remember the story of Hannibal.
He was a Carthaginian general who
led an invasionary force against
Rome bringing elephants and his army
over the Alps into Italy and almost
succeeded in conquering Rome!
Rome destroyed the Carthaginian Empire,
burning Carthage to the ground and
making all "her" lands
Concerning your question my point
is, a good portion of the native
population of northern Africa had
Phoenecian blood in them and spoke
what was known as Punic. They were
Semitic and looked a great deal like
the Lebanese of today.
Finally, we come to the Latin-speaking
Romans. Not only did Rome conquer
Carthage, but the Romans loved what
became their province of North Africa.
As part of their pensions, Roman
soldiers were given lands in North
Africa and all along the southern
coastline of the Mediterranean. What
is not well known is, that for a
period of about a century and a half,
Greek, not Latin, became the common
language of the Roman Empire, including
being the main language of the capital
— Rome (roughly from 50 A.D. to
200 A.D.). It was the Roman Province
of North Africa that kept Latin going
and, known in that location, to show
political superiority over the Punic
people and language.
Now to bring some conclusion to the
answer to your question.
From Augustine's own writings, we
know that his father was a Roman
official of some level meaning. He
had at least some Latin (Italian)
blood in him. His mother seems to
have been perhaps part Latin and
part Punic. They definitely were
not from the "Hamite" peoples
of the "outback" because
Augustine, coming in contact with
them, could not understand them or
identify with them.
Terry, I have attempted to give you
the best answer to your question
from my reading of and about Augustine,
however I don't believe there is
anyone who can give you a definite
Yes or No. He was African—North
African, which even today is distinct
from the sub-Saharan African. This
does not limit us to wondering about
an African Church even from sub-Sahara.
The Church was already thriving in
what is now Ethiopia and Eritrea
by the time of Saint Augustine. Greatly
influenced by and under the tutelage
of the Church in Alexandria Egypt,
founded by Saint Mark, the Church
still thrives in these lands.
The Gospel, Terry, is meant for all
peoples and languages. The Church
is truly Catholic: universal, and
"One Lord, One Faith, One
Baptism, with one Father of us
all Who is over all and in all." (Ephesians)
and united at one Altar-table of
— we though many, are made