Then the British annexed the Cape. The process continued (it culminated in nine frontier wars), and the 1820 the British Settlers arrived. The community in the Cape became progressively unhappy with British rule. Taxes and the abolishment of slavery in 1834 were some of the main reasons why some of them packed their oxwagons and ventured into the unknown inland just to get away from the British (the Great Trek).
After the Battle of Blood River in 1836 where the Voortrekkers broke the back of the Zulu army, and the death of Dingaan, the area south of the Tugela River became the Boer Republic of Natalia, and the area north of the river was Zululand.
In the meantime, in 1860/61, the British in Natal brought 600 Indian families to the area as indentured workers on the sugar cane fields. They were rather severely discriminated against, and they even had to carry passes to keep control of their movements. That led to Muhatma Gandhi staying on in the country till 1914, fighting discrimination.
Today, South Africa (more specifically Durban) has what is described as the largest Indian population outside of India. The Indian community renders a valuable contribution to the economical and political environment of the country.
In 1899 gold led directly to the Anglo-Boer War that lasted three years. President Paul Kruger of the ZAR and the High Commissioner of the Cape Colony, the imperialist Lord Milner, failed to agree on rights for the "Uitlanders". That induced Kruger to pre-empt a British declaration of war in 1899.
After 1948, the National Party bonded itself to the Apartheid ideology. The plan was to fabricate a permanent white political majority by purging the voter's role of all Blacks, and by creating "Homelands" for all Black people where political provision could be made for them leading up to self-government, an option eventually exercised by most of the larger homelands.
In 1976 a revolt in Soweto against the substandard educational system spread like wildfire throughout the country, on the heels of a new black consciousness movement set up under the guidance of Steve Biko. The arrest and killing of Biko in police custody created a fresh outburst of public anger.
A wide range of political parties took part in the CODESA (Convention for a Democratic South Africa) talks. After lengthy negotiations, an interim constitution was agreed upon that made it possible to go to the polls on 27 April 1994 for the first time on a one-man-one-vote basis. The ANC won the election by a wide margin, and Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's first black president on 10 May 1994.
The interim constitution made provision for a government of national unity, and F.W. de Klerk became, together with Thabo Mbeki, a national deputy president.
Nelson Mandela is one of the world's most revered statesmen, who led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy.
Despite many years in jail, he emerged to become the country's first black president and to play a leading role in the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
His charisma, self-depreciating sense of humour and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment, as well as his amazing life story, partly explain his extraordinary global appeal.
(The iSimangaliso Wetland Park)
"The St Lucia Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world's oldest land mammal [the rhinoceros] and the world's biggest terrestrial mammal [the elephant] share an ecosystem with the world's oldest fish [the coelacanth] and the world's biggest marine mammal [the whale]. There can be no better icon for the holistic approach we are taking to conservation and development of the St Lucia Wetland Park…"
- a speech by Nelson Mandela, 2000
Namaqualand is a wilderness strewn with mines and mission stations, diamonds and dust. However, for a few frivolous weeks in spring, the granite hills and lava lowlands erupt with flowers.
About 4 000 species of plant lie dormant amongst the sand and stone, their germination dependent upon weather conditions. Each year's floral display is therefore unique, enticing flower-gazers from Cape Town northwards to the Namibian border.