Essay on South Africa Is A Regional Power On The Continent Of Africa
In 1497, the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, becomes the first European to encounter South Africans. In his diary, he describes them as “tawny-coloured...They are dressed in skins, and wear sheaths over their virile members.” He is describing the Khoikhoi. They have lived in that region for over a thousand years. Da Gama believes them to be hunter gatherers but, in fact, theirs was a pastoralist existence, dependent on the tending of their roaming flocks of animals.
In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck, an administrator for the Dutch East India Company, lands at the Cape of Good Hope. What starts as the need to establish a farm for growing fresh fruit and vegetables, so that passing sailors could avoid scurvy, develops into effectively the first colonial settlement. Smallpox introduced by the Europeans initially devastates Khoikhoi numbers but it will be the Europeans farming and fencing off of grazing pastures that will finally end the Khoikhoi way of life.
The first slaves in South Africa are imported from India, Indonesia and Madagascar. They are used as labour on the expanding number of farms. The farmers are no longer directly employed by the Dutch East India Company, and instead freelance for the company. Their Dutch ranks…