South Africa is most recently known for hosting the world cup, but throughout history South Africa has played a vital role. This Sub-Saharan country is located at the very bottom of the African continent. “The central design of the flag, beginning at the flag-pole in a V form and flowing into a single horizontal band to the outer edge of the fly, can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity” (!)
Many battles took place over the course of the colonization of South Africa, and the influence from many countries can still be seen to this day. Being located at the tip of Africa, many trade routes required this resting place on long voyages to gather supplies and trade goods. Expansion in-land was inevitable and brought with it battles over land and the riches it held. Greed fueled the division of the Boers and the English, while racism divided whites and blacks in early years of colonization. Currently, South Africa is dealing with the “non-physical battles” of gold strikes, Ebola, and employment of the youth.
In 1651 the Dutch commissioned Jan Van Reibeeck to oversee the building of a refreshment station for the Dutch trade route going east. (1) Van Reibeeck was told he was prohibited of colonizing the region, but he was to simply build a fort to raise a flag for ships to see and come to port on their trade route. (1) This port would come to be known as Cape Town. But England caught wind of this important resting station being built and joined the Dutch Republic in a naval war. (1) This feud led to the quick depletion of resources and in 1657 the Dutch were forced to send contracted farmers out to plant more wheat. Expensive labor costs brought in the first batch of slaves in order for farming to be sustainable. (2) As the expansion of the fort grew on, the British took more interest in the colony and eventually took control in 1795. (3) This divided the cape into three groups; the local settlers, the metropolitan rulers, and the blacks. (4) Pushing ever more in-land, it was discovered the land was filled with riches such as gold and diamonds. (5) But this bred more greed and battle for control of the gold was brutal. The British won the monopoly on gold in 1902, yet needed a local administration in place to govern its lands. (4)
Under British rule, The Union of South Africa was established one May 31, 1910 as a self-governing state in the British Empire. (4) This did little to help, if not worsened the ever-growing racial issues. This restricted political and property rights to only whites and skilled mining jobs were unobtainable by blacks. (4) In 1934 the Status of the Union Act declared the country a free state from the British rule. (6)
Many cultural influences from the British empires rule can still be seen to this day. While it may have only been 100 and some odd years ago since The Union of South Africa was formed, the power struggle between British rule and the local Nationalists has changed many things. Up until 1994, the minority white party governed South Africa. (6) The influence of this can be seen by English being one of the eleven major languages spoken within the country, while many of the others are of African nature or that of the individual tribes. (6) Christianity being one of the main religious beliefs is another point of influence that dates back to the British conquering the region and instilling their beliefs upon the locals and the ones that they took the land from. (6) Other forms of influence can be seen in such things as the prevalence of the sport of rugby, which was a key factor in bringing a more democratic government into power. (6) The democratic government over through the imperialist reign that the British had over this country and the first democratic election was held in 1994. (4) While the economy very largely depends on export of natural resources, the import is no