Cystic fibrosis (CF) is thought to be rare in the black populations of Africa who have minimal white admixture. Only a few cases have been reported but have not been studied at the molecular level. We report the detection of CFTR mutations in three southern African black patients. One was homozygous for the 3120 + 1G-->A mutation, while the other two were compound heterozygotes each with this mutation on one chromosome. The other mutations were G1249E and a previously unreported in frame 54 bp deletion within exon 17a involving nucleotides 3196-3249 (3196del54). The 3120 + 1G-->A mutation was first described in American black patients and has been shown to be a common mutation in this population (9-14% of CF chromosomes). It was also found in a black CF patient whose father, the 3120 + 1G-->A carrier, is from Cameroon. These data suggest that it is an old mutation which accounts for many of the CFTR mutations in African blacks.