South Africa is a sprawling land mass at the extreme end of the African continent. With an area of the 471,011 square miles or 1.21 million square kilometers, the Republic of south African had population of 44,344,136 in 2005.
Seventy-five percent of the population were Black south Africans; 14 percent were white south Africans; eight percent were mixed- race south Africans and three percent were Indian south Africans. South African has eleven principal language – all of them regarded as official languages.
The language are: Afrikaans, English ,Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana ,Venda,Xhosa and Zulu.
History has it that the Bushmen and the Khoikhoi occupied the land ahead of the others. The North Eastern and the southern parts of south Africa had been occupied by the Bantsus made up of tribes like Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi and Sotho before the arrival of European settlers in the 17th century.
Dutch settlers landed on the cape of Good Hope area by the beginning of the 17th centaury. the Dutch fled northwards and settle in Transvaal and orange free State when the British settlers landed and seized Cape of Good Hope in 1806. In an ensuring war with the Dutch between 1899 and 1902, the British won and 1910 the union of South Africa was created. The union was made up of Transvaal and orange Free state- former Dutch colonies and two British colonies Cape and Natal.
in 1961, the union of south African held a referendum of which whites were the only voters and pulled itself OUT OF THE COMMON wealth of the Nations, an international organization comprising former British colonies.
South Africa’s withdrawal from the commonwealth was triggered by the upsurge of widespread protests by the black south Africans who were denied fundamental human rights embodied in the united Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
in 1948, the governing National part formally made apartheid, the system of separate laws and rights for people of south Africa that operate widely as a convention an official policy.
under apartheid, black south Africans were denied the right to choice of work and place of work and relaxation and did not have the vote and could not be voted for. south Africans of mixed race and Indians had limited political rights that not extend to the black south African. it was this heinous high discrimination political system, known as apartheid , that the African Nationalist congress(ANC) AND Pan African Congress (PAC) were founded to battle on political platforms and by the force of arms. Bithuli, Oliva Thambo, Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela who emerged as leaders of ANC, stepped up their campaign by forming the Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC with Mandela as its commander in chief.
in 1956, Mandela and 156 other freedom fighters faced a change of treason in court but the other charges were withdrawn after a four year trial. For incitement and leaving the country without a passport, Mandela was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Mandela ant seven other activists, including Walter Sisulu, were tried and sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to overthrow the apartheid government. In the meantime, the international community had awakened to the atrocities and inhumanities of the apartheid system in south Africa and had joined the campaign to get it abolished. The united Nations imposed several sanctions against SOUTH Africa for recalcitrance and banned it from the UN and other international organizations.
in 1990, the apartheid regime, with F.W. de Klerk as president, had no option but to free Mandela from prison and to lift the ban on the ANC.
Mandela campaigned for and was elected president of post- apartheid South AFRICA in 1994. He ruled for five years and steeped down in 1999.The former president of post-apartheid south Africa, beloved by his countrymen and the women and adored and idolized in many parts of the world, passed away on December 5,,2013 after a short illness.
After the passing of Nelson Mandela, how is post apartheid South Africa going to look like? is there a future for south Africa without Mandela that South AFRICANS Affectionately called Madiba? The current leader of the ANC and President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has promised to continue with the good works of Madiba by being faithful to his (Mandela’s) cherished principles and values such as non-racism, forgiveness and tolerance.
In retirement and at advanced age, Mandela declared; I am nearing my end. I want to sleep until eternity with a broad smile on my face knowing the youth, opinion makers and everybody are stretched across the divided trying to unite the nation.
Certainly, Mandela wanted to bequeath to South Africans, a nation that is united and at peace with itself , a nation where his cherished principles and values would continues to hold the nation together in universal brotherhood and harmony.
Is that likely to be?
Writing about the future of South Africa, Andre Brink, an Afrikaners and an opponent of apartheid, described South Africa “as a place where talks for the future demand that fear is set aside however difficult that might be” “ Such as a long journey ahead is not a question of imagination but of faith” A writer for BBC, Fergal Keane, has stated that “ the question is no longer how far South Africa has travelled since the days of apartheid but of the country that lied ahead’’. Nelson Mandela encapsulated the foundation upon which the future of South Africa should stand with the following words: “ I have fought against white domination and fought against Black domination . I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons lives together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an idea which I hope to leave for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”
In another speech, obviously directed at those disagreed with his political philosophy? Mandela stated: “We cannot go on blaming the past. It does not make it better. The past is a rich resource of which for future we can draw in other to make decisions for that future.”
For those whose thought the best approach was to retaliate for their suffering under apartheid, Mandela had said ; Anger is a temporary feeling you soon forget especially when you are in involved positive things and have a positive attitude.
The ANC as a political party owns its unity and one –mindedness to the presence and admonitions of Mandela while in office and after his retirement. In his absence, can the ANC keep itself together? A united and a well –organized ANC is an important factor in holding south Africa together as a nation for a long time. However, opinions on the matter are varied. There are those who hold that the ANC will not to be the same after Madiba is gone.
For example, they cited the booing and jeering that president Jacob Zuma received from the crowed when he rose to speak and while speaking at the funeral service of the former president to justify their stand. The booting and jeering are believed to be the rot, the betrayal Mandela’s leadership and intimidation within the ANC, according to Manphelle Ramphelle, leader of Agang , a South African Opposition party.
In a letter to the daily sun, Malphia Honwane wrote “when Zuma talked about the good that Madiba did but failed to emulate Madiba himself, it only coming close to that, he deserved when came his way. The people are disappointed with the current crop of leaders to such an extent that they cannot hold back their anger, the writer added.
But there are others who believes that the ANC will be able to keep itself together and win the forthcoming election despite departure of Mandela, the lifestyle of President Zuma and the booting and jeers that he received at the funeral service.
The foreign adviser to President Zuma, Lindiwe Zulu, has said that although the booting was humiliating, the ANC would carry on with Mandela’s legacy. We have been trying by all means to make sure that we don’t do things that would upset him, President Zuma’s adviser added.