Country located in the southern tip of the African continent , bathed by the Indian and Atlantic oceans. In addition to Pretoria, the administrative capital where government departments are located, South Africa has two other capitals: Cape Town, the seat of the Legislature and the largest city in the country, where the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces are located; and Bloemfontein, where the Judiciary is located.
According to Youremailverifier, the landscape of South Africa is very varied. It consists of extensive plateaus, high mountains and deep valleys. Many beaches follow the coastline. The climate is mild, with long periods of sunshine.
South African History
The first ancestors of man lived 2 million years ago in what is now South Africa. At least 2,000 years ago, human beings lived throughout this region. Around the year 1500, major changes occurred in the western and eastern parts of the country.
The western part was sparsely occupied by two groups: the san , who lived on hunting, and the khoikhoi , who raised cattle and sheep. When the Europeans arrived, in the century. XVII, they called the sans the bushmen and called the khoikhois of Hottentots .
The eastern region of South Africa became more densely populated by a black-skinned people who spoke Bantu languages. These people came from the north around 900 and started to live, under the authority of chiefs, the raising of cattle and sheep and agriculture.
Portuguese navigators were the first Europeans to see the country, in 1488. The first European settlers settled in 1652. They were employees of the Dutch East India Company, which imported slaves from tropical Africa to work on their farms. In 1657, the company began to allow some employees to settle on its own farms. These became known as Boers .
Around 1700, Europeans occupied most of the fertile land around Cape Town.
As the territory conquered by the Europeans expanded, the Khoikhoi and San populations declined. For the most part, those who survived had to serve Europeans.
In 1795, France conquered the Netherlands. English troops then occupied the Cape Colony to keep it out of French reach. In 1803, the British returned the colony to the Dutch, but reoccupied it in 1806. In 1814, the Netherlands ceded the Cape to the British. The Boers soon rose up against British rule.
The government made English the only official language in 1828. In 1834, the United Kingdom abolished slavery throughout its Empire, which led to the ruin of a number of Boer farmers. Many of them decided to leave Cape Colony to escape British rule. From 1836, thousands of Boers went inland. Facing the Bantu, the Europeans massacred them and established themselves where Kwazulu / Natal, the Orange Free State and Transvaal are now located.
In 1870, a huge diamond vein was discovered where Kimberley is currently located. The British and the Boers claimed this area. In 1871, the United Kingdom annexed it, doing the same with the Transvaal in 1877. Three years later, the Boers of the Transvaal started a rebellion that degenerated in the First Anglo-Boer War, in which they managed to defeat the English in 1881.
In 1886, a rich gold vein was discovered, where Johannesburg is currently located, on the Transvaal. There was a rush to the site. To retain control of the country, the Boers began to limit the political rights of uitlanders (foreigners), the majority of whom were British. As a result, the state of tension between the United Kingdom and Transvaal has increased.
In 1895, Cecil Rhodes, the prime minister of the Cape Colony, began to organize the overthrow of the Transvaal government. He then designated an expedition to invade the territory. But the Boers captured the invaders. In 1899, Transvaal and the Orange Free State declared war on the United Kingdom. The Boers were defeated and surrendered in 1902. The Boer republics became English colonies. Meanwhile, all African peoples had fallen under European domination.
South African Union
The United Kingdom granted autonomy to Transvaal in 1906 and to the Free State of Orange in 1907. Colony of Cape and Natal already enjoyed this privilege. In 1910, the four colonies formed the South African Union, an autonomous country within the British Empire. During the First World War , two Boer generals – Louis Botha and Jan Christiaan Smuts – led South Africa’s troops against Germany. These generals later became prime ministers.
Botha and Smuts sought to unify the Afrikaans (as the Boers came to be called) and the descendants of Europeans who spoke English. Many Afrikaans writers and religious, however, encouraged their people to believe that they constituted a nation in itself.
In 1913, JBM Hertzog founded the National Party to promote these ideas, and in 1924 he became prime minister. Over the next 15 years, he achieved many Afrikaans goals. Afrikaans has become an official language, and new industries have developed. In 1931, the United Kingdom gave the country complete independence as a member of the Commonwealth .
Afrikaans nationalism suffered a setback at the start of World War II . Hertzog wanted South Africa to remain neutral, as he sympathized with the racist ideas of the Nazi ideology, but Smuts defended the alliance with the United Kingdom against Germany. Parliament ended up giving Smuts a win, and he again became prime minister in 1939.
In the course of the war, DF Malan organized a new National Party (NP), which gained power in 1948. It was the nationalists who started the apartheid program , which removed the rights of blacks. In 1949, the Prohibition Act on Interracial Marriages made marriage between whites and non-whites illegal. In 1950, the Group Areas Act determined the designation of separate residential areas.
Opposition to Apartheid
The South African government began to face opposition from the moment it adopted apartheid. The main opposition group was, at first, the African National Congress (CNA), founded by blacks in 1912. But the CNA was unsuccessful. In the 1950s, it allied with other sectors to get reforms approved, using boycotts and strikes. The government crushed all campaigns, and the movement failed. In 1959, a CNA dissent left the party and formed the Pan-African Congress (CPA). In 1960, during a demonstration in Sharpeville, the police killed 69 blacks. The government then banned the CNA and CPA. In 1962, Nelson Mandela , leader of the CNA, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
On May 31, 1961, South Africa became a republic and abandoned the Commonwealth. Abroad, several countries have taken a stand against apartheid. Despite this, the South African government has kept its policy unchanged.
In 1971, the Law on the Constitution of the Bantas Homelands was enacted, which determined the creation of autonomous tribal states for Africans, later known as Bantustans. This law provided for the confinement of the main African ethnic groups in a reserved territory.
Throughout the 1970s, the government remained steadfast in its determination to maintain apartheid. But due to changes in the geopolitics of the African continent (the end of Portugal’s colonial domination in Africa in 1975, and the fall of the European minority government in Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] in 1980) and the growing external opposition to apartheid, the racial segregation policy went into crisis in the 1980s.
In 1984, a rebellion against apartheid caused the government to enact Martial Law and was severely criticized abroad. In addition, to increase pressure, the UN enacted a series of economic sanctions on South Africa. At that time, the movement for Mandela’s release gained momentum.
In 1989, Frederik de Klerk was elected president. The first measures to signal that his reform program was really aimed at ending apartheid were the release of Mandela and the legalization of the ANC in 1990. De Klerk then repealed the racial laws. In order to legitimize his program, he called a referendum for the Afrikaans minority, in which 69% of them approved the end of apartheid.
South Africa is the richest and most developed nation in Africa, although a large part of the population, especially the black, lives in conditions of extreme poverty.
The country is the largest producer of gold in the world and one of the largest in diamonds. Almost all the food products necessary for its population are planted on its farms. Likewise, the country removes almost all the raw materials that supply its industry from its mines and farms.
South Africa’s greatest contribution to art concerns literature. Much of it reflects the country’s political and social tensions. After the Boer War, Afrikaans writers like Jan Celliers, CL Leipoldt and CJ Langenhoven expressed their sorrow for the British conquest of their territory.
Since the 1920s, several South African writers have dealt with racial themes, such as Nadine Gordimer, Alan Paton, William Plomer, Peter Abrahams, Ezekiel Mphahlele and Benedict Vilakazi. During the period in which apartheid was in force, the government censored artists so that they would not criticize the racial segregation policy adopted in the country.