The southern tip of Africa, today known as South Africa, has been dubbed ‘The Cradle of Mankind’. This is where life began on our planet.
It has also been the crucible of great mineral wealth: gold, diamonds, coal and platinum.
The first heart transplant was performed in South Africa by doctor Christiaan Barnard; and today South Africa has given to the world the greatest statesman of the twentieth century, Nelson Mandela.
But all of this has come at a price – a terrible price that South Africa has paid for in fourty years of blood and conflict: APARTHEID.
THE MANDELA TRILOGY is set in this magnificently flawed and troubled land, at the death of apartheid and the birth of its replacement. Will there at last be peace?
The Bushmen, or San, were the earliest inhabitants of South Africa. Their stone tools and rock art date back 27,000 years. They were a nomadic, hunter-gatherer society.
The KhoiKhoi arrived in South Africa long after the San. They were pastoralists, and the two tribes almalgamated to form the Khoisan. These were the first people the Dutch encountered when they arrived.
The Xhosa were part of the Nguni migration from central Africa in the ninth century. Their first white contact was with the white Trekboers in the eighteenth century.
The Zulu’s are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. They too were part of the Nguni migration, but remained in the North, only coming into contact with the British in the early nineteenth century.
The Trekboers, or Afrikaners, were the descendants of the Dutch colonists. They were the first white ‘tribe’ of South Africa, migrating north from the Cape during the eighteenth century. Their contact with the Xhosa’s and the Zulus’ was the start of a long period of conflict, culminating in the separatist policy of Apartheid.
The Dutch arrive in the Cape in 1652. Jan van Rieebeck declares war on the natives and sends the first prisoner to Robben Island – ‘Harry the Hottentot’.
In 1948 the right wing National Party came to power and Grand Apartheid, or separate development, was born.
The African National Congress was formed in 1912 to unite Africans in peacefully defending their rights. In 1961 the ANC abandoned it’s policy of non-violence and formed it’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. It’s 1st commander was Nelson Mandela.
On Sunday, 11th February 1990, Nelson Mandela took a few steps beyond the gates of the Victor Verster Prison, the end of his ‘long walk to freedom’. He had given 25 years of his life for his fellow South Africans, whose walk to freedom was just beginning.