History of South Africa

History of South Africa

South Africa holds its place on the world map as a land of natural beauty with vast topography and cultural and traditional diversity.

Humans from the first modern era were considered South Africa’s occupant for around 100,000 years ago. And the country follows the Iron and Stone Ages according to current history ages.

Moreover, going back to 31 May 1910, colonies agreed to define a separate South African Union as an authority to govern all the affairs while being in the British Empire.

We will discuss all the events starting from the 4th century to the recent years to help you better understand the history of UK 49s.

Emergence of South Africa and Start of Second Anglo Boer War: 4th Century to 1899

The 4th century is considered a period of South Africa’s emergence when Khoikhoi and Indigenous San people tended to live together with north-settled migrants.

Moreover, famous personality Bartholomeu (a Portuguese navigator) visited the southern part of Africa in 1480, and afterward, Vasco da Gama was found to be landed on the Natal coast.

The ending of the 4th century didn’t bring much to the history of South Africa. However, other events from 1652 to 1899 include;

  • The Dutch East India Company representative named Jan. V. R (1652) discovered the Cape colony near Table Bay.
  • In 1795, the England forces captured the Cape colony and were able to get the power in the later years.
  • Shaka Zulu organized an army and expanded his empire from 1816 – to 1826.
  • While in 1840, Boers were forced to move to Transvaal (it was accompanied by Natal separation as well).
  • But the British didn’t offer full control over the land to the inhabitants. Thus in 1852, Boers stood strong and declared the Republic of Transvaal.
  • The discovery of diamonds caused a fight between the British and Zulus, defeating Zulus at Natal in 1879.
  • Boers fought another fight that triggered the first Anglo-Boer War, but the conflicts were ended through negotiations.
  • But later on, in the mid-1880s, the gold discovery in Transvaal triggered the British to start the second Anglo Boer war.

End of Second Anglo Boer War and South Africa Independence Act: 1902 – 1934

Second Anglo Boer War was ended due to the Vereeniging treaty, and both states (Orange Free and Transvaal) were converted to self-operating British colonies.

Afterward, the South Africa Union was formulated for the first time in 1910 and gathered all the states on the same page.

Additionally, in 1934 the South Africa Union held the act ‘South Africa as a sovereign independent country and removed the control of British laws and authorities.

Other foundations that occurred in the early Nineteen’s include;

  • ANC (African National Congress) was founded in 1912.
  • Introduction of the land act to stop blacks from buying lands.
  • National party foundation in 1914.
  • Development of African Brotherhood in 1918.
  • South African Administration took control of Namibia in 1919.

Racial Segregation Policy: 1948 – 1999

In 1948, apartheid policies were adopted right after National Part rule leading to the communist party being banned.

And ANC, under Nelson Mandela’s assistance, disobeyed the civil campaign. By the end of the 20th century, ANC finally won the elections, and a new president Thabo Mbeki was selected.

Important incidents that occur from 1948 to 1999;

  • The killing of 70 black protesters in 1960.
  • In 1961, the country was declared as the South Africa Republic.
  • Nelson Mandela was banned for a lifetime in 1964. But he was released in 1999.
  • A state was developed from 1984 to 1989 named Township revolt.
  • In 1994 ANC won South Africa’s no racial elections, and South Africa gained the seat back in UN General Assembly.
  • ANC was considered responsible for abusing human rights by Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1998.

Hold of Democratic Alliances and Nationwide Civilians Strike: 2000 – 2010

ANC in 2000 regained its position only in local elections. But democratic union made their way to win more votes.

In addition to that, by 2010, the civilians moved out of their homes and practiced nationwide strikes. And in the same year, South Africa led the Football World Cup Tournament as well.

Events involved during the 2000 – 2010 course;

  • Worldwide pharmaceutical companies ended the ban on importing drugs from South Africa in 2001.
  • In 2002, the Soweto bomb explosion spread a wave of fear all around the state.
  • 2004 was considered a year of blessing for ANC (winning 70% of total votes).
  • The year 2005 followed the sacking of Jacob Zuma by President Mbeki.
  • South Africa gained help from Wen Jiabao (Chinese Premier) in optimizing textile industries in 2006.
  • The opposition DA Helen Zille was selected in 2007. A huge strike was governed in the same year, and Zuma was elected as ANC’s new chairman.
  • Many foreigners died in 2008 because of the violence created by the civilians, and a new political party was introduced.
  • Finally, Jacob Zuma was elected president, and the country’s economy hit below-average levels.

The era of Ultimate Democracy in South Africa: 2011 – 2018

After all the ups and downs, South Africa finally entered the era of actual Democracy in the 20th century.

Consequently, the Democratic Alliances (DA) won double the votes from the previous voting courses. And in 2011, Zuma President banned his two ministers because of corruption.

Whereas the opposition selected Lindiwe Mazibuko to lead the opposition in parliament. The start of 2018 became a curse for Zuma, and he was forced to resign from the party position. 

Some important events, accidents, and reforms that occurred during the 2011 – 2018 period are;

  • The white extremist member was discovered planning to kill Nelson Mandela and end the government in 2012.
  • After one year, Nelson Mandela died in 2013, aged 95.
  • In 2014, ANC again won the general elections with a majority.
  • 2015 followed the killing of people due to nativist attacks.
  • President Zuma was accused of taking $20 million for personal use and of the violation of the constitution in 2016.
  • Zuma sacked a Finance Minister named Pravin Gordhan in 2017, which resulted in the reduction of the credit rating of South Africa.

Final Verdict

South Africa–a white union that came into existence by recognizing Natal, Transvaal, Orange Free State, and Cape colonies. The inevitable formulation of ANC led the black people to take over their power. Even after the Sovereign Union act (1934), the country made its way to become the Republic of South Africa.

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About the Author: Nicole Ann Pore

Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. Travel, health, shopping, lifestyle and business are among the many subjects she writes about. Through quality and well-researched writing, she informs and even entertains readers about things that matter. She is also interested in film critiquing and filmmaking. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.