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South Africa, A Country Study Essay

4788 words - 19 pages

Have you ever heard a stated fact about a place, then heard the exact opposite? I have. South Africa is the place I'm talking about. I had a second grade teacher from South Africa. She was white, so she had not seen some of the worst of the country. She had some great memories that she shared with my class about South Africa, but she never said anything negative. The absence of these negative facts told my Second Grade self that South Africa was a great place to live. Then, about two years ago, I saw a Disney Channel movie called The Color of Friendship. This movie explained apartheid and how ignorant many people were of it. This movie inspired me to do this research paper on South Africa. I wanted to know the origin and purpose of this horrible thing called apartheid.South Africa has a rich and somewhat dark history. This country started prosperously but soon enacted unfair laws that caused many wars. The people of this country had some unique ways of running it. The first inhabitants of South Africa were the Khoisans two thousand years ago. These early people were hunter-gatherers (people who hunted animals and gathered plants to eat). In the1500's, there were two western tribes, both descendants of the Khoisan. One tribe, that raised cattle and sheep, called themselves the Khoikhoi. The other tribe were hunters and had no name for themselves, but the Khoikhoi called them the San. When the Dutch first arrived in the 1600's, they called the San "Bushman" and the Khoikhoi "Hottentots". Both the Khoikhoi and the San thought the nicknames were derogatory. There were many eastern tribes without names, but they all spoke the Bantu language. These groups had started migrating from northern South Africa at about 300 A.D. The eastern tribes lived in chiefdoms. They all raised cattle, raised sheep, grew grain, and made weapons and tools from iron.The first Europeans to see South Africa were the Portuguese. They spotted the land in 1488 whilst they rounded the Cape of Good Hope in search of a water route to India. The first settlers arrived in 1652. The first people to settle in South Africa worked for the Dutch East India Company, a powerful Dutch trading company. The company sent the settlers to set up a base at the present day location of Cape Town. Jan van Riebeck headed this group. The base was set up as a station where the company's ships could pick up supplies on the way to the East Indies. By 1657, the company allowed its employees to start their own farms. These people became known as Boers (farmers). By the year 1679 the company began to offer free passage to South Africa and free land to own and farm when they got there to any European settler. By 1700, whites occupied most good farmland around Cape Town; soon this area became known as the Cape Colony where Cape Town stands today. This colony was made up of Dutch, French, and German settlers. Then the settlers moved to drier areas and became sheep and cattle ranchers. As the territory of the...

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