A Country Guide to South-Africa

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Overview

South Africa is a huge country both in terms of area as well as wealth. Washed by two oceans – Indian and Atlantic, South Africa has enormous natural wealth. Extensive diamond and gold mining have been traditionally associated with South Africa leading many a fortune seekers to hit the rugged terrains of the country to become overnight rich. However, later, President Paul Kruger of Transvaal (now Gauteng) introduced stricter franchise requirements.

Britain tried to intervene but their efforts led to Anglo-Boer war, which resulted in British victory in 1902. Resultantly Union of South Africa can into existence in 1910. The initial years of country were full of teething troubles as infamous apartheid policy of National Party reared its ugly head when it came to power in 1948. The policy was to develop the groups on racial lines, which ultimately led to the creation of semi-autonomous homeland for non-whites and preservation, and prejudice in favour, of whites.

However, after much dilly-dallying and global pressure, apartheid was removed as a State policy in 1989 when FW De Klerk became the president of national party. Soon, in 1993, the legendary ANC leader Nelson Mandela was released from imprisonment after spending over 27 years in jail. The year 1993 was also historic for another event as it was in this year that the 3 main political parties of South Africa – ANC, National Party, and Inkatha – agreed on a blueprint for a new constitutional South Africa.

The immediate result of all this political activity was the first genuinely all-inclusive elections in the country in 1994, which were won by Nelson Mandela’s ANC as he was elected the country’s first President.

After dramatic political developments in the past couple of decades, South Africa is walking the path of overall development. The natural beauty of the country is realised only in the past few years as the political dust settled down. The visitors are charmed by magnificent desert dunes, the dense subtropical forests, savannah grasslands, and miles of coastal beauty that dot South Africa.

The country is home to over 1,000 bird species, including Penguins. The Western Cape is particularly popular as it is one of the world’s richest floral kingdoms.

South Africa is also one of the traditional treasure-troves of the world as reflected by the rich cultures attributed to the aboriginal San Bushmen and Khoikhoi. The cultural of South Africa became more diverse with the arrival of British and Afrikaans.

The country is rightly dubbed as ‘The Rainbow Nation’ by Archbishop Desmond Tutu with 11 official languages and people from diverse backgrounds and civilisations making this beautiful place under the Sun their home. The hard working South African natives and immigrants have managed to transform old cities into ultra modern cosmopolitans. The warm hospitability of South Africans is their underrated trait with most people speaking fluent English.

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