South Africa is one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world. It is a country of great diversity in geography, people and cultures. The land was originally inhabited by the Khoikhoin and San people, the latter of which were hunter-gatherers. Around 1,000 years ago, Bantu-speaking tribes from further north began to make their way into the area. Europeans first settled in the area in 1652, when the Dutch East Indian company set up a provisions station in the area that is now Cape Town. European settlers eventually settled throughout the region.
European rule of the country was often based on segregationist policies, which favoured European advancement, with the use of cheap, indigenous and imported labour. These policies were systematically put into law with the introduction of Apartheid in 1948. These laws institutionalized racial discrimination, by classifying all South Africans into one of four groups: white, black, “coloured”, or Indian. Public facilities, schools and even jobs were racially segregated. Though apartheid ended with the first democratic elections, won by Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) party in 1994, the repercussions are still seen today.
The country consists of nine provinces: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State and Western Cape. There are eleven official languages.