Who Ruled South Africa before Independence

The Voortrekkers of Natal moved northeast after being defeated by the British in 1842. They settled north and south of the Vaal River and founded the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek or Transvaal Republic. In 1854, the Treaty of Bloemfontein was signed and the Republic of the Orange Free State was founded by the Boers. About 2,000 years ago, the Khoekhoen (the first European terminology) were shepherds who settled mainly along the coast, while the San (Bushmen) were hunter-gatherers spread throughout the region. At that time, Bantu-speaking agropastoralists arrived in southern Africa and spread from the eastern lowlands to the Highveld. At a time when much of Africa was on the brink of independence, the South African government developed its separate development policy, dividing the African population into artificial ethnic « nations, » each with its own « home » and the prospect of « independence. » Forced resettlements from « white » areas have affected an estimated 3.5 million people and huge rural slums have been created in countries of origin. During the 1800s, the frontiers of European influence extended eastward. From the port of Durban, the settlers advanced from Natal to the north, further and further into the land of the Zulus. Beginning in the mid-1800s, the Voortrekkers united into two white-ruled internal republics, the Republic of South Africa (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State. Dingaan granted them a large piece of land in the central and southern part of his territory, but when the Voortrekker delegation left, they were invaded and killed by the Zulus.

The newly elected Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius prepared the group for a retaliatory attack and the Zulus were then defeated in the famous « Battle of the Blood River » (December 16, 1838), which led to the founding of the first Boer Republic in Natal. The Cape Colony remained under Dutch rule until 1795, before falling into the hands of the British Crown, before returning to Dutch rule in 1803 and returning to British occupation in 1806. After this British conquest of the territory, many Dutch settlers (the Boers) migrated north to avoid living under British rule. As the expansion of hikers increased, they inevitably came into conflict with the Khoikhoi and later with the Xhosa (a Bantu-speaking group to which Mandela belonged), on whose land they invaded. This marked the beginning of the subjugation of the Tembu, Pondo, Fingo and Xhosa in the Transkei. The Xhosa, in particular, fought nine wars of the century, which gradually deprived them of their independence and subjected them to British colonial rule. Modern humans have lived at the southern tip of Africa for more than 100,000 years and their ancestors for about 3.3 million years. Even before the Boer War, relations between blacks and whites were very tense.

At the turn of the century, Mandela was not yet born, but the racial discrimination he fought against for most of his life was already deeply rooted in South Africa. The pro-white policy of British colonial administrator Alfred Milner, followed by the discriminatory legislation of the Union of South Africa, met with considerable opposition from blacks and led to the formation and growth of new political bodies. In the 1820s, the famous Zulu chief Shaka established rule over a vast region of Southeast Africa. As dissident Zulu groups conquered and absorbed communities along the way, the region experienced a fundamental disruption. Important states such as Moshoeshoes Lesotho and other Sotho-Tswana chiefdoms were founded. Since 1652, successive colonial administration had systematically deprived black communities of their lands. The loss of this crucial resource has arguably been the most important factor leading to the impoverishment and marginalization of African communities. It was probably also the most important factor that led to the formative forms of organized resistance. As will be seen later, it was opposition to the Native Land Act, the drafts of which were discussed in 1911, that led to the creation of the ANC. Several hundred members of South Africa`s educated African elite gathered in Bloemfontein on January 8, 1912 to form a national organization to protest racial discrimination and call for equal treatment before the law. The founding president was John L. Dube.

Dube, a pastor and teacher who had studied in the United States, was heavily influenced by The American educator and activist Booker T. Washington. Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, a lawyer and key player in organizing the meeting to establish the Congress, was appointed treasurer. Solomon T. Plaatje, a court translator, author and newspaper editor who had worked in Kimberley and Johannesburg, became secretary-general. The meeting to found the ANC began and ended with the singing of the hymn « Nkosi sikelel`i Afrika » (« May God bless Africa »), composed by a Xhosa poet in the late nineteenth century. Today, it is the semi-independent national anthem of South Africa. (The other half is The Stem, the national anthem of the apartheid government.) The first European colony in southern Africa was founded in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company at Table Bay (Cape Town). Created to supply passing ships with fresh produce, the colony grew rapidly as Dutch farmers settled to grow grain. Shortly after the colony was founded, slaves were imported from East Africa, Madagascar and the East Indies. The Boers continued a guerrilla war, which the British countered by devastating Boer farms and placing their wives and children in white and black concentration camps, where about 28,000 people died.

Although attempts at peace were made as early as March 1900, nothing significant was achieved until 1902. It was not until 31 May that an armistice (Treaty of Vereeniging) was signed by the Boers and the British. The former finally accepted the terms of peace, including the loss of their independence. For the British, their victory seemed to pave the way for the Union. In 2011, as part of the government`s commitment to ensure a better quality of life for all, the National Planning Commission at the Presidency completed the draft National Development Plan: Vision for 2030. This plan is a step towards a new path for South Africa in managing the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Strong and legal vehicles for democratic forces have put the state to the test, whose response until then had invariably been crude repression. At its 54th National Conference, held in Nasrec in Soweto on 18 December 2017, the ANC elected Ramaphosa as its president. Following President Zuma`s resignation in February 2018, Ramaphosa was elected by the National Assembly without opposition on 15 February 2018 as the fifth president of democratic South Africa. The ANC also won eight of the nine provincial parliaments. The EFF received more than 10% of the vote in Gauteng, Limpopo and North West, beating the DA in second place in Limpopo and North West.

In the other six provinces won by the ANC, the DA took second place. In the Western Cape, the only province not won by the ANC, the DA increased its majority from 51.5% to 59.4%. In 1948, the pro-African National Party (NP) came to power with the ideology of apartheid, an even more rigorous and authoritarian approach than previous segregationist policies. As white South Africa cemented its power, the politics of the black opposition continued to develop. In 1943, with the founding of the ANC Youth League, a younger and more determined political group emerged, a development that would promote the leadership of people like Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu. In 1955, however, organizations representing blacks, whites, people of color, and Native Americans founded the Congressional Alliance. In 1955, they passed the Freedom Charter. But soon there were divisions. In 1958, some black South Africans separated from the ANC and founded the Pan-Africanist Congress or PAC. They were headed by Robert Sobukwe.

As the port grew, the need for manpower increased. In response to the growing demand for labor from the settlers, the VOC imported slaves from East Africa, Madagascar and its possessions in the East Indies. .