In 1652, the Dutch East
India Company set up a resupply station at Cape Town. This outpost was intended
to be a refreshment outpost to supply DEIC ships on their way to Asia and Holland.
Cape Town’s location was perfect for the DEIC to set up a resupply station because
the area had fresh water that was not available in other locations. The DEIC was
not interested in expanding land but in getting goods. The local Khoisan people
were not interested in helping the company get goods, so the company took up arms
and drove the Khoisan inward. In place of the local Khoisan people, the company
relied on European farmers and African slave labor to work the land that they took
from the Khoisan’s. Around this station the first White settlement was formed. The
company’s efforts at farming was becoming inadequate. This forced the company
to release some of their contracted workers. These first white farmers released
from contract in Southern Africa were given land and called Free Citizens. White
immigrates where encouraged to settle Cape Town. The European farmer were known
as Boers because of their Dutch background. These Boers attempted to escape the
rule of the company by moving further into the interior. This caused the
company to prohibit moving into the interior, at the same time take up more African
slave labor to farm.
The racial tensions and divide between the whites and blacks got
worst by the 19th century because the British was gaining control of
the Cape. The British took over the Cape to prevent it from falling to the
hands of Napoleon. It is stated that the British did not want to expand even
further into South Africa because of the risk of having wars with the Africans.
They only wanted to maintain control of the Cape because it gave them access to
the see route.
Moving on the 1867 where the discoveries of gold and diamonds
altered the southern African region. This discover created an immense division
between the British, Boers, and Africans. South Africa now attracted the world
because of its valuable resources. The amount of gold and diamonds were greater
than any amount that has ever been found in any other part of the world.
Hundreds of thousands of Africans worked in the mines. They were not paid well
compared to the work they did. The gold and diamond
market were profitable because they had inexpensive labor, which
was hundreds and thousands of Africans. In the 1870s the British conquered the
Southern African state because the African labor they were using were
bargaining for higher wages. This way they ensured that the workers would work
in their mines with the price they established. After this Africans where
subjected to numerous unfair laws that were enforced to keep workers cheap and
workable. This did not last long because soon
after the war occurred in from 1899 to 1902. This war fought
between the British and the Boers. The British knew it could not win the war,
so they negotiated a political settlement and put the white community in charge
of South Africa.
In 1909 the South Africa Act was written. This act brought
together the four separate British colonies. The country became a
self-governing nation state within the British Empire. Which was not in favor
of the Africans. The White electorates represented the entire population but
only counted for one-fifth of the population. This in turn worked in favor of
the Whites and against the Africans. In 1931, South Africa’s independence was
formally recognized. The country of South Africa was more independent,
but their black citizens were still stripped of their rights. In
1948 is when the apartheid years started with the National Party stepping into
the electoral platform. These laws where put into place to separate everything
from education to public facilities. The apartheid period lasted till February
2nd, 1990 with the state president F. W. de Klerk releasing Nelson Mandela
after being imprisoned for 27 years. The first election to be held in South
Africa on April 27th, 1994. The winner of that
election was Nelson Mandela.
The country of South African has a population of 55.91 million
people with 79.2 percent being African. South Africa has a sex ratio of 95
males per 100 females. Which means that there are more females than males. The
birth rate is 19.61 births per 1000 people, and the death rate is 16.99 deaths
per 1000 people. The per capita income is 12,860 Rand, which is equal to 942
The traditional beliefs of most in the South African society is
that women were not deserving of power. For example, Wives walk a few paces
behind their husband to keep traditional practices.