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torstai 9. kesäkuuta 2016

South Africa, Cool Facts #116

<= 115. Rwanda                                                                                                    117. Sierra Leone =>

South Africa replaced their old flag in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became the first black president in the first democratic elections of the country. 

South Africa used the former flag between 1928-1994 and it was a flag which had flags inside. The design was similar to the Dutch flag and inside it had the British flag alongside with the flags of Cape Colony and Natal. 

The flag was designed by the State Herald Frederick Brownell, who had also designed the flag of Namibia. The flag was meant to be used only for temporarily but after 5 years South Africa made it permanent. 


Y-shape = converging of paths, unification of the various ethnic groups and moving forward into a new united South Africa
Black, green and yellow = is said to represent the black population as these colors are found in the flags of ANC, Pan Africanist Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party
Red, white and blue = represents the white population because these colors are displayed on the Union Jack and Dutch tricolor 
2. The Great Trek 

The Dutch were the first European settlers in South Africa when the Dutch East India Company established a refreshment station in the present-day Cape Town in 1652. Later the British took over the Cape of Good Hope area in 1795. The British rule was ratified in 1815 in the Congress of Vienna.

The Boers, who were the descendants of mainly Dutch but also French Huguenots and Northwest Germans, were unsatisfied with the British rule. The Boers started emigrating from the British controlled Cape Colony to the east and northeast establishing Boer Republics.

The emigrating Boers were known as the "Voortrekkers" in English the "pioneers".

Boer Republics: 

1835-1864 Zoutpansberg
1836-1844 Winburg
1837-1844 Potchefstroom
1839-1843 Natalia Republic: annexed by the British in 1843, most voortrekker boers trekked to Transorangia after that
1844-1848 Winburg-Potchefstroom
1852-1877, 1881-1902, 1914-1915 South African Republic, informally known as the Transvaal Republic
1854-1858 Utrecht Republic 
1854-1902 Orange Free State
1856-1860 Lydenburg Republic 
1876-1891 Klein Vrystaat
1882-1883 Republic of Stellaland
1882-1883 State of Goshen
1883-1885 United States of Stellalandwas created after the unification of Stellaland and State of Goshen
1884-1888 New Republic 
1885-1887 Republic of Upingtonia/Lijdensrust 

Route map of the Great Trek
The Great Trek

3. British against Boers

During the Napoleonic Wars the British arrived at South Africa, which was inhabited by settlers with predominantly Dutch origins. The Netherlands was although occupied by France during the war so Great Britain occupied Cape of Good Hope in 1795 and started their gradual conquest of South Africa. 

The British fought over the control of the present-day South African areas against the Boers and local African tribes like the Zulu. The European groups controlled most of the area and fought two wars against each other before the independence. 

First Boer War 1880-1881

The British fought against the Transvaal Boers and the reason was that in 1877 Sir Theophilus Shepstone had forcefully annexed Transvaal to the British possessions. The Boers revolted in December, 1880 and started the war, which ended in 1881, when the British signed an armistice because they were going to lose. As a result of the peace treaty, Transvaal got self-government under British suzerainty. 

Second Boer War 1899-1902

World's largest deposit of gold-bearing ore in Witwaterstrand near Boer capital Pretoria, reignited the British interest in Transvaal. As the tensions erupted in 1899 into the Second Boer War, the lure of gold motivated the British to do anything for victory.

The British fought the second war against the Boer states of Transvaal and Orange Free State. The British won the war in 1902 and thus the British Cape Colony and Natal formed the Union of South Africa with the Boer states Transvaal and Orange Free State. For the first time South Africa was united as one single state as part of the British colony before becoming independent in 1910.

Second Boer War

The Mineral Revolution was one of the events that negatively impacted on race relations in South Africa forming a basis of the apartheid system. 

Diamonds were found in Kimberly in 1867 and gold in Witwaterstrand in 1886. Before the beginning of the Mineral Revolution, South Africa was divided between British Empire's provinces, Afrikaner states and native African states. 

After the Second Anglo-Boer War South Africa was finally united as a single British controlled state. One of the biggest factors of the war was the British desire to control the areas with mines, which overlapped Afrikaner areas, and to remove potential threats to the mines. 

The mines required armies of workers for the mines and that's why the colonial government started annexing neighboring African states and introducing laws to force the local people to work for them for a low salary. 

Hut tax = demanded the inhabitants to pay an annual tax of their dwellings in British cash and the only way to earn British currency was through employment in the mines 

Local African men had to leave their families to work in hard conditions in the mines for a low salary and forced to live in compounds, where the workers were stripped naked to search for diamonds that the companies feared the workers to sell in the black market.

5. The Apartheid Era

The apartheid system was used in South Africa between 1948-1994. When the Afrikaner-dominated National Party started ruling the country they enforced the racial segregation through legislation. 

Apartheid laws: 

- Inhabitants classified into four racial groups: whites, blacks, colored and Indian
- Residential areas were segregated 
- Non-white political representation abolished in 1970
- Starting from 1970 black people were deprived of their citizenship becoming citizens of some of the ten bantustans
- Separated education: black students were prepared for lives as labouring class
- Marriage and sexual encounters prohibited between a white and a black, colored or Indian
- Trains, hospitals, ambulances, beaches and bus stops were segregated


Local African people were put into reservation areas called "bantustans", where they were intended to live independently. South Africa established 10 bantustans in South Africa and 10 in present-day Namibia, which was then known as South-West Africa ruled by South Africa. 

End of Apartheid
F.W. de Klerk became the president in 1989 as president Botha had resigned after having a stroke. In 1990 de Klerk announced to repeal discriminatory laws and end the ban against anti-apartheid groups. During 1990 and 1993 after a series of negotiations, apartheid was dismantled culminating in elections in 1994, which were for the first time free for all. 

Nelson Mandela

After 27 years in prison Nelson Mandela was freed by the help of de Klerk and in the elections of 1994 he was chosen as the first black president of South Africa.

de Klerk and Mandela


3 million years ago various hominid species existed in South Africa
300s Bantu groups started expanding to the area inhabited by the San people and Khoikhoi
1488 Bartolomeu Dias bypassed the Cape of Good Hope as the first European
1647 Two employees of the Dutch East India Company were shipwrecked in South African islands for several months and when they returned to Holland they reported about the potential of the area
1652 Jan van Riebeeck established a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope to the location of the current Cape Town
1795 The British took over Cape of Good Hope area to prevent the French rule there as the French had invaded the Dutch Republic
1806 The Cape Colony was annexed by the British and continued a frontier war against the Xhosa
1820s Conflicts among the British, Boer, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho people who competed to expand their territories
1834 The Boers were unsatisfied to the British administration and abolition of slavery. The Boers left Cape Colony and started the "Great Trek" migrating to the east and north-east establishing Boer Republics
1867 Diamonds were discovered in South Africa
1886 Gold was discovered in South Africa
1879 The Anglo-Zulu war started and the Zulu spectacularly won the Battle of Isandlwana but eventually lost the war, which meant the end of the independent Zulu nation 
1880-1881 First Boer War between the Boers and the British where the Boers successfully resisted the British encroachments
1899-1902 The British won the Second Boer War and got sovereignty over the Orange Free State and Transvaal
1910 The Union of South Africa was created after the British Parliament granted South Africa nominal independence in 1909
1912 African National Congress ANC was established to work for the rights of the black
1913 The Natives' Land Act restricted the ownership of land by black people
1931 After the Statute of Westminster the Union of South Africa was fully sovereign from the UK
1948 The National Party was elected to power and it adopted the apartheid policies
1955 The Congress Alliance demanded a non-racial society in the Freedom Charter
1960 Sharpeville massacre, the police opened fire against black demonstrators and as a result of the international critic, South Africa resigned the Commonwealth of Nations
1961 South Africa became a republic after a referendum and Queen Elizabeth wasn't no longer the Queen of South Africa
1966 UN terminated the trusteeship agreement in Namibia but nevertheless South Africa continued its occupation
1977 Un set an arms embargo on South Africa and other restrictions followed
1979 South Africa and Israel together carried out a nuclear test in the southern part of Atlantic Ocean
1989 Frederik de Klerk became the president and helped to release Nelson Mandela the next year
1990 Nelson Mandela was released from jail after 27 years
1994 South Africa held its first universal democratic elections, ANC won and Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa
1999 Thabo Mbeki followed Mandela as the president, Mbeki's father had been Mandela's cell mate in jail 
2008 Mbeki announced his resignation and in 2009 Jacob Zuma assumed the president's office

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