Everybody who has travelled with me through parts of Southern Africa can easily relate to the acronym TIA – This is Africa.
The Africa continent has for as long as it exists, challenged the Africa dweller. From illnesses that can kill you to animals that will eat you, vast expansions that will take your breath away and colours with each sunrise and sunset that the best artist cannot copy and bring to life it divides itself into 54 countries.
Travelling through the Southern Part of the continent has its own test of time and survival. Being popular worldwide and offering vast natural habitats for animals with invitations to come and explore, I thought we should look at the history of the ever-changing and often harsh environments.
To describe South Africa as diverse would be an accurate description. With at least 10 official languages and three capitals taking care of our judicial and legislative challenges, we find a way to survive with a frown, looking forward to a better future.
Pretoria – executive
Bloemfontein – judicial
Cape Town – legislative
Being 1.22 million km² and five times bigger than the United Kingdom South Africa claims the southernmost tip of the continent. It spoils the visitor with inland safari destinations populated with big game. Driving down to Cape Town via the Garden Route, offers forests, lagoons, lush Winelands and beaches. Amazing cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope with winding roads brings you home to the mother city beneath a flat-topped Table Mountain, one of the seven wonders of the world.
It is home to 59 Million people leaving 49people per square kilometre to find a rewarding reason to endure, survive and live.
Receiving its independence from the United Kingdom in 1934 it grew from its baby shoes to constitute the Republic of South Africa in 1961. Now, a proud Republic, it replaced the South African Pound with the South African Rand.
With development and growth the standard for a quality life, infrastructures were set into place and over time, learning from mistakes, supporting what works and adapting to new ideas South Africa became a democracy in 1994.
To change from an Apartheid Police State to the Democratic Republic has challenges that one can just not brush off, smile and carry on. You have to face fears, forgiveness and acceptance while at all time try and set an example proving to the world it is possible.
Since Charles Darwin set off a theory that inherent dynamic forces allow only the fittest persons or organizations to prosper in a competitive environment or situation and from the time of the scramble for Africa a sense of security connected itself to standing separately from the rest.
Right or wrong it happened and apartheid was what we knew. To make way for democracy, change was needed and it came in 1994. An anti-apartheid activist and political revolutionary became the first Black President of South Africa.
A man well respected and loved by his people made sure of a peaceful transition between apartheid and democracy and took the lead. His name – Nelson Mandela
Bringing together political rivals brought the support of the world and South Africa was set for a successful new experience that had to be nurtured and cared for. Setting an example of love and forgiveness even opposition party would start to listen and trust. Sooner than later Nelson Mandela was loved and respected by all people in the country.
South Africa has learned how to sit, crawl, run and fall. South Africa will also learn how to get up, work together and build a future for all who see and call themselves South Africans.
Author: Reinier Bredenkamp