An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

36. South Africa and its Neighbours

South Africa lost its Commonwealth membership in 1961. Its white inhabitants had voted (850,000 to 775,000) for a republican constitution, which came into force on May 31st. It withdrew its application to remain a member after this change when it found other Commonwealth countries reluctant to agree unless it altered its racial policies -- which have been almost universally condemned abroad.

The swift advance to independence of former colonies (H) had transformed South Africa's international position. Up to 1959, its whites felt shielded from the impact of African nationalism by a belt of British, Belgian and Portuguese territories where independence seemed a long way off. But then the 'wind of change' blew through British East and Central Africa (27), Belgium quit the Congo (23), and in 1961 Portugal faced revolt in Angola (34). Meanwhile African states farther north, angered by the South African government's racial doctrines and treatment of non-Europeans, campaigned against it ever more vigorously in the United Nations and other forums, and initiated economic sanctions against it.

South Africa's white population is much greater than that of any other African country -- 3 million, about 1·8 million of them Afrikaans-speakers of Dutch origin, about 1·2 million English-speakers, mainly of British origin. South Africa's 16 million people include 11 million Bantu Africans, 500,000 Indians, and 11/2 million 'Coloureds' of European-African mixed stock (D); but the whites have kept a monopoly of political power.

Dutch settlement around Cape Town dates from 1652. In the 17th century farmers were already moving eastward. In the western Cape, sprinkled only with nomad Hottentot and Bushmen, land seemed theirs for the taking; and as they toiled across the arid Karoo, their strict Calvinism produced a biblical sense of journeying to a promised land (this still underlies Afrikaner thought). After 1806, when Britain annexed the Dutch colony, and especially in the 1830s, many Afrikaner farmers (Boers) 'trekked' still farther east and north to escape from British rule (and from restraints on their treatment of Africans). North of the Orange river (and in the eastern Cape) they came up against Bantu tribesmen; and the creation of the Boer republics of the Orange Free State (O.F.S.) and Transvaal, and Boer settlement in Natal, involved wars with Basuto, Zulu and others (38).

British immigration, from around 1820 at the Cape and 1830 in

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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