Facts About South Africa - The Land of Nature, Wildlife, and More

Facts about South Africa
South Africa is a land of miracles, mesmerizing and beautiful nature, exotic wildlife, and an amalgamation of various cultures; all these aspects together form this nation.
In 1945, South Africa became a charter member of the United Nations, but refused to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as it was adamant on its apartheid policies. It strengthened its ties with the Commonwealth, and declared itself as a republic in 1961. Black voters were removed from the voter rolls in 1936, and finally got their rights in 1993, when Nelson Mandela and De Clarke passed an interim constitution to abolish the practice of apartheid. Both of them were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

History

The earliest people in this nation were the San, followed by the Khoikhoi and Bantu-speaking tribes. Both the San and Khoikhoi tribes resided on the southern tip of the African continent, for thousands of years. The Bantu-speaking people were inhabitants of the north-eastern and eastern regions, hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans. The Portuguese were first to navigate the capes of South Africa, but despite their multiple attempts to trade with Khoikhoi tribes, they were not successful. Later on, the East India Company unintentionally made an attempt towards its colonization. This was done by the release of some Dutch workers from their contract so that they could own lands for farming. This initial group was known as burghers, and it steadily expanded into the northern and eastern hinterlands of South Africa. As the influence of the East India Company started to fade, it was taken over by British, which was more of an attempt to avoid the French invasion in South Africa. The English finally conquered this nation in the year 1806, and also started the color-based discrimination (apartheid) in this region. Power under their rule resided primarily in Cape town, and was governed by the Whites. The Blacks were not allowed to live in urban areas, and were treated very inhumanly. They were forced to reside in the villages under pathetic conditions of food, water, and sanitation.

Discovery of Diamonds

First 21-carat diamond in this country was found in the year 1867. After this incident, it became the center of attention for the whole world. The diamond was in the form of a pebble, and was found near the Orange River, in the South African wild forests. Later on, in 1869, 83-carat diamonds were found between the Vaal and Orange Rivers. This discovery led to huge demand of laborers; most of them were Blacks. Kimberley pit was an important diamond mining area, and by 1875, most of it was bought out by different merchants. New investments were made in the year 1880 by Cecil Rhodes and seven partners, who owned a block of 90 claims in the De Beers Mining Company Ltd.

Wildlife

Besides the diamonds, the African wild animals are very famous all around the world. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are 299 mammal species in this country, out of which 2 are critically endangered, 11 are endangered, 15 are vulnerable, and 13 are near-threatened. The list of endangered animals includes the giant golden mole, white-tailed rat, Sei whale, blue whale, fin whale, African wild dog, and mountain zebra. This country also has many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks for the tourists who are interested in safari rides. These include the world-famous Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant Park, and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Culture

The culture of this nation is highly diversified and influenced by the invasion of different European countries, but traditional culture of the Blacks is still followed in most countryside regions. The population consists of Blacks, Whites, Asians, and also people of other races. Across the different groups based in South Africa, lifestyle, marriage customs, and taboos differ from place to place. However, the common thread of belief adheres to a masculine deity, ancestral spirits, and supernatural forces. Apart from English and Afrikaans, people also speak the official Bantu languages. These include the Nguni and Sotho, which further consist of different dialects.

There is a lot to explore in this wonderful nation, as it provides one with a true glimpse of mother nature. One of the most exciting aspects of South Africa is that it's always in the process of reinventing itself, with such a diversified population.
Elephants playing together in jungle
Mountain Zebra
Orange river canyon