Moving to South Africa
With its fascinating scenery, captivating wildlife, diverse communities, mineral wealth, and array of natural resources, it is no wonder that moving to South Africa
is a popular choice for people looking to move overseas.
The country's evolution into the South Africa of today, dates back many thousands of years to even before its’ written history.
In 1647, the Dutch ship "Nieuwe Haerlem" was wrecked on the shores of Table Bay in Cape Town. This event marked the first arrival of Europeans into South Africa. The inhabitants of this area were the 'San' and 'Hottentot' peoples, commonly called 'Bushmen'. These traditional hunter-gatherers eventually became farmers during 1950-1990.
Upon his return to Holland, one of the survivors of the shipwreck persuaded the Dutch East India Company to establish a Dutch trading and refreshment station at the Cape, known as the VOC in 1652. It aided ships and sailors bound for India. Slaves imported from Angola and West Africa carried out the farming and other undertakings for the new inhabitants.
The first Europeans were Dutch settlers, Boers (Dutch word for 'farmer'), and this semi-nomadic, white indigenous nation initially occupied the eastern Cape. During the 1800’s, the Boers created new republics in the Orange Free State and Transvaal to avoid British rule as well as the constant border wars on the eastern frontier. The original Dutch-speaking Boer settlers and their descendants in the Boer Republics later became the Afrikaners of the present South Africa. They fought two wars against the British imperialism, and were defeated in the Second Boer War which ended in 1902.
The racial tensions which became highly publicized around the world in the past 25 years actually date back as far as 1659. Eventually an apartheid state came into being in 1948, with government-approved racial discrimination laws and regulations. The 1970’s brought political resistance in the form of massive waves of strikes by black workers. Finally, towards the end of the 1980’s, in a climate dictated partially by the demise of communism, State President F.W. de Klerk pushed towards reconciliation of the serious racial tensions. The constructive contributions by many influential black leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, led towards a radical change in government policy and eventually in 1994 democratic elections for all sections of the community, resulting in a landslide victory for the African National Congress. When Nelson Mandela was elected President, the “New South Africa” was born and apartheid as it was known abolished.
Geography and Climate
South Africa is bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by the Indian Ocean, their waters converging at Cape Agulhas. Namibia and Mozambique lie on the Atlantic and Indian Ocean borders, and the country also borders on Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland. South Africa boasts year-round sunshine, mainly summer rainfall and is famous for its delightful weather. There is also winter adventure and skiing in the high Drakensberg Mountains. The vast terrains vary between desert conditions, icy, hazardous bare coastlines, rugged green hills and thousands of kilometers of broad white beaches that meet the warm waters of the Indian and the fresh cold waves of the Atlantic Oceans.
People and Culture
South Africa is made up of diverse ethnic groups (Black African, White, Colored, Indian, Asian), a vibrant mix of African culture and Western sophistication that is scattered throughout villages and cosmopolitan cities. In 2006, the population count in South Africa was 47.4 million people, comprised of a wide range of traditions and speaking an array of languages – with English being only the fifth most spoken home language. The Protestant Christian community belong to a variety of churches that bring together Christian and traditional African beliefs and there exist many followers of Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.
Among South Africa's many cultural treasures are the magnificent bushman rock paintings in the caves of the Drakensberg Mountains. These paintings are enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. Modern day African crafts thrive in shops and markets which are filled with traditional artwork, tableware, beautiful embroidered cloths and these are also displayed on sidewalks in big cities as well as well as in country towns. Music is another example of the ongoing rhythm of the South African people. From buzzing contemporary live music in nightclubs to the traditional mixed dance and music at outdoor festivals. On taking a stroll in the park among picnic goers or at children’s playgrounds, you can hear a wide range of music – blues, jazz, even opera as well as traditional sounds.
South Africa's mind-set is on increasing job growth and lowering unemployment by concentrating on sectors showing highest growth and investment opportunity. It is an emerging market of natural resources with other important industry sections such as automotive, agriprocessing, mining and minerals being important areas of employment and economic growth. South Africa is known throughout the world for its’ famous diamonds and the world’s largest diamond company, DeBeers is headquartered in South Africa. South Africa has a vibrant tourism industry with its’ beautiful beaches and its’ well preserved wild game reserves and natural parks.
In contrast, poverty still reigns in many regions where it remains a lingering issue from the former apartheid era.
South African infrastructure continues its’ path toward modernization and excellence. With new technologies being adopted in all of the relevant transportation fields, South Africa’s major cities are well positioned to compete with other leading international cities around the world. The national road network currently covers over 7,000km, with a future plan to lay an additional estimated 20,000km of main roads. New toll roads are in planning stages, and continuous maintenance of existing roads is underway. A Canadian-French-South African consortium is constructing South Africa's Gautrain, which when completed will allow train travel at speeds of up to 180km/h and aims to link up the major cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. This project is on schedule to be ready in time for the widely anticipated FIFA World Cup in 2010. The three existing international airports and six national ones are also being upgraded to support the continuing growth in domestic and international air travel.
Famous People and Places
During the apartheid era, a significant number of leading activists and regular everyday people became the new “heroes” in the fight for a new South Africa.
Bishop Desmond Tutu, an avid anti-apartheid activist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, as were Frederik (F.W.) Willem de Klerk, a former President, and Nelson Mandela. The tireless efforts of these men and others eventually led to the eradication of of apartheid in South Africa.
Among the “must see” places in this vast country are Table Mountain and the Kruger National Park., Standing on the crest of Table Mountain, whose “white tablecloth" was the first sight seen by sea travelers upon approaching South Africa one sees breathtaking panoramic views of Cape Town and its beaches. Botanists and nature lovers climb this sandstone mountain in search of some of its 1400 species of rare plants.
The ultimate safari experience is a trip to the Kruger National Park, in close proximity to the largest diversity of wildlife roaming free in Africa.
Durban is the largest city in the Kwazulu-Natal province, a seaside playground in the sun and a surfer’s paradise!
Johannesburg, known as The City of Gold, is a vibrant, buzzing, cosmopolitan melting pot, an ever active urban jungle, with a powerful commercial center, parks, lakes, museums and golf courses. This is where it all happens!
Soweto Township celebrated its 100 year anniversary in October 2004. It is the most populous black urban residential area in the country and is also the most metropolitan township in South Africa. Here you will find an exciting mixture of fashion, language and dance. This township is famous for its June 16, 1976 student uprising against the apartheid regime.
Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and is a serene city, known for its blossoming Jacaranda and its’ combination of interesting museums and old buildings. The Premier Game Reserve is not far from the Cullinan Diamond Mine where the largest diamond in the world was found.
Located on the south-eastern coast of Africa is Port Elizabeth, also referred to as the Eco-friendly City. It is an important center for the South African motor industry. With its sunshine and sandy beaches, this is a great place to relax. The city has many historical sites to visit and the Settler's Park in the center has amazing flora and fauna to explore.
Cape Town, known as the Mother City, is the oldest city in South Africa. It is dominated by Table Mountain, set on rocky heights and green valleys, at the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Cape Town is an urban center with an array of activities to match any budget.
Did you know that South Africans speak a language of their own? For instance, 'Lekker' (Lekka) is an Afrikaans word to express extreme satisfaction; or 'Robot' is the South African word for a traffic light!
As you can see, South Africa has lots to offer in so many perspectives – here is a place to use your potential and grab new opportunities and enjoy the wonders of this enchanting country.
South African Tourism
South Africa Travel Guide