SA – History

The Early Inhabitants

The Early Inhabitants

The discovery of the skull of a Taung child in 1924; discoveries of hominid fossils at Sterkfontein caves, a world heritage site; and the ground-breaking work done at Blombos Cave in the southern Cape, have all put South Africa at the forefront of paleontological...

Early Colonial Period

Early Colonial Period

Portuguese seafarers, who pioneered the sea route to India in the late 15th century, were regular visitors to the South African coast during the early 1500s. Other Europeans followed from the late 16th century. In 1652, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) set up a...

The British Colonial Era

The British Colonial Era

In 1795, the British occupied the Cape as a strategic base against the French, controlling the sea route to the East. After a brief reversion to the Dutch in the course of the Napoleonic wars, it was retaken in 1806 and kept by Britain in the post-war settlement of...

The Mineral Revolution

The Mineral Revolution

By the late 19th century, the limitations of the Cape's liberal tradition were becoming apparent. The hardening of racial attitudes that accompanied the rise of a more militant imperialist spirit coincided locally with the watershed discovery of mineral riches in the...

Anglo-Boer War

Anglo-Boer War

The Anglo-Boer/South African War. The war that followed the mineral revolution was mainly a white man's war. In its first phase, the Boer forces took the initiative, besieging the frontier towns of Mafeking (Mafikeng) and Kimberley in the northern Cape, and Ladysmith...

Segregation

Segregation

Government policy in the Union of South Africa did not develop in isolation, but against the backdrop of black political initiatives. Segregation and apartheid assumed their shape, in part, as a white response to Africans' increasing participation in the country's...

Apartheid

Apartheid

After the Second World War in 1948, the NP, with its ideology of apartheid that brought an even more rigorous and authoritarian approach than the segregationist policies of previous governments, won the general election. It did so against the background of a revival...

The End of Apartheid

The End of Apartheid

The introduction of apartheid policies coincided with the adoption by the ANC in 1949 of its programme of action, expressing the renewed militancy of the 1940s. The programme embodied the rejection of white domination and a call for action in the form of protests,...

The First Decade of Freedom

The First Decade of Freedom

After a long negotiation process, sustained despite much opportunistic violence from the right wing and its surrogates, and in some instances sanctioned by elements of the state, South Africa's first democratic election was held in April 1994 under an interim...

Second Decade of Freedom

Second Decade of Freedom

When South Africa celebrated 10 years of freedom in 2004, there were celebrations across the world in countries whose peoples had helped to bring freedom to South Africa through their solidarity, and who today are partners in reconstruction and development. As...

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