By the 13th century iron-age people had settled in the northern part of the Kruger National Park area. They traded widely - artefacts from as far away as China have been found amongst the ruins of their settlements. Pastoralists, these people also cultivated the land and had mastered the techniques of mining and metallurgy. Among the archaeological finds from this area there are some remarkable golden animal figures.By the middle of the 17th century trading ships from Europe were sailing the seven seas and the Dutch East India Company sent out Jan van Riebeeck and a small group of men to build a fort and set up a halfway station for the ships going to the trading posts in the East. Originally they bartered with the Khoikhoi, but soon conflict arose about cattle theft and grazing grounds. Within 10 years after the establishment of the post at the Cape the first farmers had been given land to cultivate and before the turn of the century some settlers began to migrate north and east. Slaves from Africa and the East were imported to carry out the strenuous labour. Diseases like smallpox diminished the Khios population and a mixed- race group consisting of descendants of the Khoisan, slaves, excites and white colonists was formed.
The newcomers brought Christianity and Islam to the Cape. The colonists, mainly of Dutch, German and French Huguenot descent began to lose their sense of identification with Europe and the Afrikaner nation came into being.By the end of the 18th century these migrant farmers had come into contact with the Xhosa speaking inhabitants of the Eastern Cape and skirmishes between them ensued. In 1806 when the Napoleonic wars were raging in Europe the Cape became a British colony. Some 5000 British settlers were placed on the eastern frontier in 1820 in an unsuccessful effort to provide a buffer against the Xhosas. In 1857 a mass starvation occurred amongst the Xhosa as a result of a prophecy that the whites would return to the sea if the blacks would slaughter their cattle and destroy their crops.During the early 19th century the great Zulu warrior king, Shaka, had risen to power.
The resulting conquests had caused large parts of the interior were denuded of inhabitants. Into these parts now moved the white farmers who had become dissatisfied with British rule and the emancipation of slaves in 1834. A group of these Voortrekkers moved east into the area today known as KwaZulu-Natal. After several battles between the Zulus and the Voortrekkers, the British fearing conflict to spread, annexed Natal where they already had a small settlement. The Voortrekkers then established themselves in two republics, the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek between the Orange and the Limpopo rivers.By the middle of the 19th century the small refreshment post at the Cape had grown into an area of white settlement that covered the whole of what is today the Republic of South Africa.During the latter half of the 19th century, vast deposits of diamonds and gold were discovered in South Africa resulting in the founding of Kimberley and Johannesburg.
This had a dramatic economic and political effect, eventually leading to the Anglo-Boer War between Britain and the two Boer republics between 1899 and 1902.Many blacks had hoped that the British victory would result in franchise rights for them, but when the Union of South Africa consisting of the four former colonies came into being in 1910 they were barred from parliament and repressive measures to entrench white power soon followed. In an act of unity the African National Congress (ANC) was founded in Bloemfontein in 1912 and protests against these laws ensued.text of Gill Hefer (continue 18th....)