AFRICA is one of the largest continents in the world. It is divided into many states, and the boundaries of these are often defined by rivers. For instance the Zambesi River which is approximately 15 degrees south of the equator and other rivers in that area, have their source in ancient Ethiopia. This brings us to the regions of Rhodesia (now named Zimbabwe) and South Africa. Smaller protectorates are also in that region, bordering the two major lands named.
The southern tip of the continent (South Africa) is a country of contrasts and complexities. Its terrain contains mountains and valleys, gorges and waterfalls, bushland and deserts, wild coast-lines and sand dunes sheltering beautiful beaches. It would be impossible to single out any one area as the most beautiful but several are portrayed in travel guides to this quite amazing continent. At the southern most point the Cape Peninsular has a back drop of mountains, the better known being Table Mountain with Lion's Head, Signal Hill, and the Twelve Apostles alongside. Along the coast-line 'families' of whales can be observed as they make their way North to fresh breeding grounds. A worthwhile trip along the Garden Route towards East London and Port Elizabeth affords the traveller opportunities to soak in further contrasting scenery of land and seascapes. Arriving in Durban the visitor is swept into a hive of activity both in the city and along the coast. Bathing, boating, seal watching, dolphins dancing, fishing and many other water sports can be indulged. Both the South and North coasts have much to offer.
Leaving the coast-line to travel North agriculture, industry, including mining for gold and diamonds, and there are areas rich in metals and minerals. Game Reserves and Conservation areas are popular for holiday makers with excellent accommodation provided.
The architecture generally in South Africa portrays much of the Dutch culture, with gabled houses. Most dwellings have well laid out gardens and fruit trees add to the beauty in the spring rnonths and following on with summer fruits.
The first settlers in South Africa were the Hotentots and Bushman. Not much can be said about these people who are no longer in existence at least in the areas of our study, but their brief history can be traced through art works discovered in caves.
When the pioneers disembarked in South Africa the land was uninhabited. These people had arrived from Europe and the United Kingdom - they were law abiding people generally of the Protestant Faith and upheld Christian ethics as they settled into this unknown land. At the same time the Bantu-negroid people began to invade from northern states. It must be said therefore that there are no indigenous peoples among these inhabitants. These tribal people even in those early days came to 'claim their land'. Some of them did become labourers in the developments which evolved and they were treated reasonably well although due to their arrogance, firey disposition and warrior-like ways, trouble ensued between the white settlers and black invaders.
Every child was taught the history of The Great Trek (1836) which was a massive movement of people, many travelling in ox-carts, at times, over some extremely difficult terrain.These people opened up vast areas of uninhabited land which became part of an extensive development programme. A rich and prosperous country soon emerged.
At that that time South Africa was governed by one party and law and order was evident. As the country grew it divided into four provinces Cape Province, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal. Each had their own government. When a Union was later formed it brought the provinces together but maintaining the original names. For a long time there were only two major political parties. The United Party which was made up of mainly English speaking people, and the National Party of Afrikaans speaking people. The language of Afrikaans is based on a mixture of Dutch, German and English. Most South Africans are bilingual (that is changing to 'trilingual' at present).
The United Party had a long and prosperous term of office. In some respects they were more tolerant of the black people and gave them employment in the domestic field particularly. Their opposite number disliked the black people and kept them in a very low rating.
Having a considerable number of different Bantu tribes together often led to faction fights in the township areas allotted to them, and on occasion it would overflow into the towns. There was rioting and devastating demonstrations. These townships provided by the Government provided homes for the black workers who commuted to the cities for work. The houses were basic and originally had no piped running water, inadequate sanitation and little electricity. When these facilities were upgraded some of the primitive black people not understanding the use of mod cons seemed to prefer their original way of life.
One cannot deal with this subject without mention of Nelson Mandela. He was an active member of the African National Congress. He was tried and sentenced for treasonable offences as were other senior members of that party. They were incarcerated on Robben Island a few kilometres off the coast of Cape Town. The island was once used as a leper colony and a cemetery reveals that history. The island is flat and uninteresting with few trees or anything of beauty small bushes being the main vegetation. The prison dominates the island but is now used only as a tourist attraction. A few administration buildings can be seen. Visitors must be accompanied round the island and guided through the prison. An ex-prisoner undertakes this chore and seems to have pleasure to include graphic descriptions of the punishments meted out to prisoners even for minor crimes or disobedience to the governors of the prison. In one room there is an obelisk staging photographs of important prisoners, that includes Nelson Mandela and his friends who all now hold office in the South African Government.
When Mandela was released from the prison and housed in Cape Town to complete his sentence, he was given many home comforts and a computer and spent his rime drawing up the strategy for a New South Africa to be ruled by blacks.
Following several years of a National Party Government leading it, pressures from the ANC and others (from many parts of the world), the policy of Apartheid was slowly coming to an end. Apartheid means 'separation' and was enforced during the United Party regime. The Reforms at First were gradual but then accelerated.
By the time Mandela had been released the black population were taking full advantage of their freedom. He had promised them good houses, expensive cars and many luxuries of life. What they did not understand was that they had to work for these, and what they couldn't afford to buy they stole. This was the beginning of NEW SOUTH AFRICA.
Two national elections have been held in South Africa in ten years. The ANC have won them both. To ensure the majority of votes, blacks from neighbouring states have been bussed into the Republic and given the vote. Most of these have been dumped overnight and have no money and no housing. Shanty Towns spring up in prominent places in every city and town. Every voter regardless of colour or domicile is finger-printed at the polling stations. The method of proportional representation is used. In the last election twenty-three parties were contending.
The crime rate in the New South Africa is one of the highest in the world. This includes killings, maiming, theft, hi-jacking, arson, and rape. The latter is the most serious in some respects because AIDS is rife. It is a well-known fact that this deadly disease is carried by Africans from all over the continent. Rape may be black to black or black to white the endeavour is not only to cause suffering but to diminish the unwanted in the population.
Schools and Colleges by law admit all races, regardless of learning disabilities.These unfortunates are forced into groups by others in order to disrupt completely the education system. Some white teachers have been sacked, others have given up because of the stress of unlawful situations. Schools have been vandalised and campuses resemble a rubbish tip in parts.
It is most obvious that black rule is out of control, the economy is nil and to quote one person 'South Africa is now a third world country'. Human rights means nothing, the black person who it has been said is backed by Russia, is out for everything he can get no matter who is hurt on the way or what discomfort is caused.
The New South Africa is not interested in the past - to assist the obliteration of history, vast changes are being made. It was the whites who worked in developing and preserving a beautiful country and it is now on the slippery slope down, with neglect and devastation. Once street names and names of towns and cities, airports and buildings etc. portrayed something of its history. They are now being given unpronounceable and, to some, meaningless names. The City of Johannesburg is now called IGOLI for Johannesburg and Gauteng for the Transvaal.
Out of this dark and sinful situation it can be reported with some pleasure that there are pockets of the provinces which are still a joy to behold, untouched well preserved and at peace with God and man. You obliterate the history, you may destroy a city, but the terrain will always be there in its pristine beauty.
Contrasts and complexities - so much more could be written but space here does not permit further indulgences.
The question may now be asked "why should anyone single out South Africa for any reason?". If we turn to the Holy Bible the answer will be obvious. The prophet Zephaniah not only identifies this location and its people but God by His Holy Spirit has written very clearly that there is a future. The prophet writes:
3:10 'From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed shall bring mine offering'
3:12 'I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people and they shalt trust in the narne of the Lord'
3:19 'Behold,at that time I will undo all that afflict thee and I will save her that halteth and gather her that was driven out and I will give them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to sharne.'
David, the author of most of the Psalms, in the second of these which describes a situation which is, and has arisen in many places where God's chosen and elect people dwell. It is appropriate to remind readers of his words, here, as we have the New South Africa in our mind.
Verse one, 'Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed saying: 'let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us'. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision'.
All those who have an interest in this wonderful country should take time to look into the precious Word of God and its message for that nation today. The daughter of His dispersed will have an offering to bring to the Lord, even the sacrifice of praise from her lips. When His people humble themselves before Him and hear His voice then we shall witness not the new South Africa as it is today, rather an Old South Africa, revived, refreshed and redeemed.
There two National Anthems sung in South Africa, First the Bantu KOSI SIKELE AFRIKA which translated indicates a call to God for deliverance, and second in Afrikaans UIT DIE BLOU VAN ONSE HEMEL, which translated indicates out of the blue of the heavens.
This land will not be wiped out or destroyed, God who is Faithful has His hand on His People and He will hear their call. May it be soon.
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