A history of South Africa has always been a point of interest because it’s as diverse as the culture and landscape.
Known for the flat and high plateaus, South Africa is covered with Highveld and tree-dotted plains called bushveld.
However, not many people know about the history and people from South Africa, but we are here to share some more details!
Tapping Into The Past
The First Humans In South Africa And The First Nations.
The first humans that inhabited South Africa happened to be 100,000 years ago.
The prehistory of the country is categorized into two phases known as Iron Age and Stone Age.
When the hominins ( of which only one species exists today: human beings ), were discovered at the Taung and the fossils in Sterkfontein and Kromdraai’s limestone caves, these areas were called the World Heritage site.
Click on the picture below to have a look at the town called Taung in South Africa where these species were found.
And, to know more about the limestone caves in Sterkfontein, please have a look at this extensive Youtube video 😉
The first nations of the country were known as Khoisan (the Khoi and San people were different) and were displaced through the migration of Africans during the Bantu expansion.
Exploration Of South Africa.
We are writing a little bit about the long history of how South Africa got explored and colonized:
- The European exploration started in the 13th century when Portugal discovered the way to the silk road, which led to China.
- Later in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Portuguese explorers mapped the West African coastline, and soon in 1488, they identified the Cape of Good Hope.
- A trading post was established by the Dutch East India Company in Cape Town back in 1652, and when the European workers started settling in, Dutch Cape Colony was established.
- During 1795 and 1806, the Invasion of the Cape Colony happened with which the Boer settlements were established in the interior of the country.
- Soon after, gold and diamond were discovered in the 19th century, which had a significant impact on the regional fortune, leading to urban infrastructure development and industrialization.
(Not to forget, it also led to conflicts between the UK Empire and Boer settlers).
- After the defeat of the Boers in the South African War, the Union of South Africa was established as a self-governing domain in the British Empire in 1910.
This union also amalgamated the Orange River Colony, Transvaal Colony, Colony of Natal, and Cape Colony.
- As a result, the country shaped into a nation-state when the Status of the Union Act was launched in 1934.
- However, this monarchy was put to an end in 1961 and was replaced by the republic, hence the Republic of South Africa.
- From the year 1948 to 1994, the politics of the country was heavily influenced by the Afrikaners, and the apartheid was deployed back in 1948.
- On 27th April 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) won the first election after years of terrorism, armed struggle, international opposition, and apartheid.
Ever since then, the ANC has been governing South Africa, which works in alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party.
- In fact, the anti-apartheid party was also established by Nelson Mandela, and he was actually sentenced to prison in 1963.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison and was freed by President F.W. de Klerk in 1990.
- After four years, in 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected as the South African president, and he served the country until the year 1999.
If you would like to get a complete picture of the history of South Africa, then I would really advise you to watch this complete Youtube video below:
Culture & People
Many people were able to maintain their separateness; some were also known as Coloureds, which is a multi-race ethnic group whose origins come from different roots, such as Bantu, Afrikaners, Khoisan, East Asians, Austronesians, South Asians, and English.
When it comes down to history, it’s needless to say that the culture and people are also influenced.
In fact, this diverse range of cultures gave South Africa the famous nickname, “rainbow nation.”
And it was Archbishop Desmund Tuto who is credited with coining the phrase Rainbow nation, when he spoke of the “Rainbow People of God” after the Apartheid was over.
The majority (47,4 million) of South Africa is of black African origin and is about 81% of the total population.
The colored people of South Africa consist of about 5,2 million people, the white population is estimated at 4,7 million, and the Indian/Asian population is at 1,5 million.
The Languages Of South Africa.
Because of this very diverse population in South Africa, there are now eleven official languages and an endless number of unofficial languages.
A list of all 11 languages:
- Southern Sotho
- Northern Soto
- Swati and finally,
Most South Africans are polyglot and able to speak at least two or more of the official languages of South Africa.
For the most part, the South Africans are known for their fondness for music, and they actually leverage music for expressing their political and social ideas.
In addition, the country is known for its harnessed skills in soccer, golf, cricket, and rugby.
Not to forget: South Africa was the first African nation to host the exemplary World Cup in the year 2010.
On a concluding note, South Africa has witnessed its fair share of political and social issues, but with the zeal of some politicians, the country is now thriving!
The Religions Of South Africa.
The major part of the people of South Africa is Christian, followed by the Traditional African religion.
Then there is the Islam religion, Hinduism, Atheism, Judaism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, and Bahaism.
A large group of people of about 6 million people has no religious affiliation/belief.
My Final Conclusion.
I hope that you now know everything you wanted to know about a history of South Africa.
If you have any more questions, however, please feel free to ask them below in the comment section or join me on any of my social media channels, to see a lot more pictures of my travels in Africa!
I wish you happy travels!