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Published byOwen Fleming Modified over 7 years ago
NOTES 17-1 “South Africa”
The Geography of South Africa South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa. South Africa borders the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the south and east. The vast Namib Desert reaches into the northwest. The Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point of Africa. Since South Africa is south of the Equator, winter is in July and summer is in January.
The Economy of South Africa South Africa is the most industrialized country in Africa. South Africa is one of the richest countries in the world in mineral resources. It is the world’s largest producer and exporter of gold. The Witwatersrand, also called the Rand, remains the world’s largest and richest gold field. South Africa also has large deposits of diamonds.
The History of South Africa South Africa was home to Khoisan and Bantu peoples for more than 1,500 years. In 1652, the Dutch founded the Cape Town colony. Their descendents, called Afrikaners, make up more than half of modern South Africa’s white population. Over time, Dutch settlers left Cape Town to become pastoral farmers. Known as Boers, they developed their own culture and fought with Africans over the land. The British first came to South Africa in the early 1800s.
The History of South Africa The discovery of diamonds and gold attracted many more British settlers. Tensions between the British and the Afrikaners resulted in the Boer War in 1899. After three years of fighting, the British won. In 1910 Afrikaner and British territories became the Union of South Africa. It became part of the British Empire and was ruled by white South Africans. Black South Africans founded the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912 in hopes of gaining power.
The Government of South Africa In the 1930s, the whites set up a system of apartheid, or “apartness.” Laws forced black South Africans to live in separate areas, called “homelands.” Many black Africans were jailed for voicing their opposition to apartheid. In 1991 the South African government agreed to end apartheid. In April 1994, South Africa held its first democratic election that allowed all people to vote. South Africans elected their first black president, Nelson Mandela.
The Cultures of South Africa About 43.6 million people live in South Africa. Black African ethnic groups make up about 78 percent of the population. The largest groups in South Africa today are the Sotho, Zulu, and Xhosa. South Africa has 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, and other African ethnic languages. About two-thirds of South Africans are Christians. The other one-third practice traditional African religions.
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