South Africa Newsletter by dfhercbml


South Africa Newsletter

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									Travellers Newsletter                                                                          1st Edition Oct - Dec 2007

South Africa
                                                                  BLACK         – for the black people
                                                                  WHITE         – for the white people
Hello      from South Africa, the ‘Rainbow Nation’, with a        RED           – for the blood shed in the past
positive future indeed. Often described as one of the most        GOLD          – for the gold in South Africa
beautiful countries in the world, South Africa were recent        GREEN         – for the land
winners of the Rugby World Cup and also due to host the           BLUE          – for the sky
football world cup in 2010. Thus, with the economy on the
up, things are looking positive and bright for this truly     A brief history of South Africa: The earliest recorded
special country!                                              voyage around the Cape by Europeans was in 1488 by the
                                                              Portuguese, who were in search of a route to India. In 1652
In this Newsletter we cover the history of South Africa,      Cape Town was established by the Dutch, who continued to
introduce you to Cape Town, cover the mighty                  rule South Africa until 1795, when the British invaded and
‘Springbok’s’ victory in this year’s Rugby World Cup and      claimed the country as there own to prevent it from going to
give you a round-up of recent volunteer and project news.     the French. The Dutch and Germans who were in power
                                                              before the British came were known as the Boers and a new
ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA                                            language, Afrikaans, was formed, which is a mixture of
As this is our first newsletter for SA we thought we should   German and Dutch.
share the interesting history and information of this
beautiful and diverse country with you.                       In 1835 the Boers started to break free from British rule and
                                                              left the Cape in search of their own independence. The
Some key facts about South Africa:                            British started to expand further into South Africa towards
                                                              what is known today as KwaZulu Natal, or commonly
                                                              spoken of simply as KZN. The Zulus who lived and ruled
    •   South Africa is 1,228,376sq km which is 5 times
                                                              the KZN area were not welcoming towards the British and
        the size of the UK!
                                                              several battles broke out. One of the most significant was
    •   The Kruger National Park by itself is as big as
                                                              the The Battle of Isandlwana, where 1400 British soldiers
                                                              lost there lives. The Zulus were not willing to be slave to
    •   The distance between Johannesburg and Cape            the British so the British imported workers from India who
        Town is the same as between London and Rome!          landed in Durban. India was part of the commonwealth and
    •   South Africa has 2,954km of coastline bordering       saw 150,000 Indians arrive in South Africa. Today, Durban
        the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.                       is still the hub for Indians in South Africa.
    •   South Africa shares its borders with a total of 5
        countries which are Namibia, Botswana,                In 1869 the Boers discovered diamonds near Kimberley, but
        Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland and it             the British were quick to take the diamonds for
        totally surrounds Lesotho, one of the only land       themselves… much to the dismay of the Boers. The Boers
        locked country’s in the world.                        fought furiously at the British forged war in 1880. It was
    •   South Africa has 11 official languages!               known as the War of Independence, which the Boers won.
    •   The South African flag is made up of 6 colours and    In 1883 the Boers regained their independence and the
        they each represent a symbol of the country’s         country became known as ZAR (South African Republic)
        history:                                              under the president Paul Kruger.

     Travellers Voluntary Projects overseas – visit                         Page 1 of 3
Travellers Newsletter                                                                               1st Edition Oct - Dec 2007

In 1886 an Australian prospector found gold in what is            the final against England, all you would see is a sea of green
today known as Johannesburg. The city was quickly                 and gold where ever you go in the country.
established and exploded to about 100,000 in population
size over a few years with whites and blacks coming from
all over the country to stake their claim in the wealth. The
British, who saw the gold as an opportunity, tried to install a
British command of the area but were defeated by the Boers.

In 1899 the second Anglo-Boer war started and lasted until
1902 which the British won. The treaty of Vereeniging was
signed between the 2 parties and the British began to rule
the country again.

In 1909 the British brought all of the areas under the South
Africa Act of 1909, which meant that South Africa was now
a British Colony, only with a ‘home-made’ set of rules for
the Afrikaners (Boers). English and Dutch became the
official languages but Afrikaans did not gain recognition as      Rugby is an important part of the South African culture.
an official language until 1925. Despite a major campaign         Introduced by the former white Europeans, rugby is now
by blacks and coloreds, the voter franchise remained as in        becoming a wide spread game in South Africa and after the
the pre-Union republics and colonies, and only whites could       victory of the boks 15 – 6 over England (much to the
gain election to parliament.                                      dismay of our sports manager Richard who was working in
                                                                  South Africa at the time… and is English!) you will see
During World War I, South Africans went to war in                 children in the streets throwing around anything from a
Namibia and Tanzania with Germany. Soldiers were also             brand new rugby ball to an old water bottle or tennis ball to
sent over to France to fight as South Africa was part of the      play rugby with.
British Empire. South Africa was also involved in World           .
War II which saw 9,000 South Africans die in action.              CAPE TOWN
                                                                  In each newsletter we are going to be featuring a new city or
The Apartheid era: Blacks and coloureds in South Africa           town in South Africa.
were always considered the lesser race by whites and were
not allowed to vote and were paid a much smaller wage than        As the first edition, it was only apt to start with the Mother
their white counterparts. In 1948 Apartheid was introduced.       City…Cape Town.
Apartheid means “the segregation and separate development
of the races”. The new law changes that came with it, meant       Cape Town is one of South Africa’s larger cities and is set
that blacks and coloureds were treated very poorly and were       against the well-known and imposing Table Mountain. The
segregated from white people. For example blacks and              city was founded in 1652 when the Dutch East India
coloureds were told where to live, had to carry around a          company established a fort with gardens, hospitals etc.
document stating which race you were and everything was
separate for blacks and whites such as toilets, schools,          Since then the city has grown and grown to become one of
beaches and even park benches!                                    the most famous cities in the world and certainly voted one
                                                                  of the most beautiful.
Apartheid continued for many years and in the 1980’s there
was increasing violence towards the apartheid system where
                                                                  Attractions in Cape Town:
demonstrations and violent outbreaks were common events.          Table Mountain is a ‘must–do’ for any visitor to Cape
In 1986 international sanctions were imposed by countries         Town. It is right in the middle of the city and its sheer
(such as the UK) forcing South Africa to rethink its policies.    presence is breathtaking. There are a number of ways to get
In 1990 the president at the time, F.W. de Klerk, lifted          up the mountain. Hiking up can be done from either the
apartheid and released Nelson Mandela from Robben Island          front or the back. The front will take a minimum of 2 hours
after being kept there for 27 years.                              and the back (depending on the route) can take from 3 hours
                                                                  upwards. However, for those people who don’t want to walk
In 1992 the whites voted to ban apartheid and in 1994 the         up, there is the option of using the very popular cable cars..
country had its first election where Nelson Mandela won the
election to become the first black South African president.       Richard Adler, an ex-Traveller volunteer climbed the
                                                                  mountain in 2006 and describes the experience.
Whether you’re a fan of rugby or not, it’s difficult not to be    “The hike took me 4 hours; I climbed from the back of the
carried away with the buzz and excitement sweeping the            mountain, which is the long way round starting at the
nation since they won the world cup 2007. In the build up to
     Travellers Voluntary Projects overseas – visit                             Page 2 of 3
Travellers Newsletter                                                                              1st Edition Oct - Dec 2007

                                                                 The great beaches of Cape Town include Muizenburg,
                                                                 which is just outside of the city. Other great beaches include
                                                                 Camps Bay and Clifton which are at the back of Table
                                                                 Mountain. These are the ‘trendy’ beaches and the place to
                                                                 be seen… although the water is very cold being on the
                                                                 Atlantic seaboard!

                                                                 The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront has seen a massive
                                                                 redevelopment over the past few years in terms of shopping
                                                                 malls, bars and restaurants. The Waterfront is now Cape
                                                                 Town’s most visited attraction in South Africa. With
                                                                 stunning views of Table Mountain, (especially when the
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The hike provided me with        clouds roll over the mountain…aptly called the Table Cloth)
great views of the city and surrounding beaches and the hike     combined with amazing food, it is easy to see why this is a
was very diverse and consists of various types of terrain.”      popular attraction with tourists and locals alike.
Robben Island is a site of great historic importance to
South Africa. It is where former South African president         RECENT VOLUNTEER AND PROJECT
and winner of a Noble Peace-Prize Nelson Mandela spent           NEWS
27 years of his life in prison. A tour of the island is a must   Well we are coming up to the end of 2007 and it has been a
whilst in Cape Town and the visit will also provide you with     busy year for Travellers. Here is a roundup of the news
great views of Table Mountain in the distance as well.           around the country and the volunteer’s achievements over
                                                                 the past year:
Travellers Sports Manager Richard Cowley describes his
visit to Robben Island in 2006:                                  Knysna: We have a brand new sports project in Knysna
                                                                 called Total Sports. This project will allow you to coach full
“We left Robben Island from the V&A Waterfront after             time a variety of sports at a school and also play sports for a
viewing some seals and made our way by boat. It was a            local club.
misty day and as we leaving we could see Table Mountain
in the background, dispersing from view in the mist which        The last of the volunteers left us in November. A big thank
was quite spectacular. When we set foot on Robben Island         you to RJ Adler, Nicole and Claire for all the hard work and
we were ushered on to buses that took us on a tour of the        laughs they gave us during there time with us.
island, which is only around 3.5km across. The tour took
about an hour and was done by an ex inmate of the island         Cape Town: After doing the Care Project in Cape Town,
which is a great way to hear the stories. Our guide had lived    Kimberly Jones has decided to follow her passion for
on Robben island for 10 years, so he knew the ins and outs       teaching. She enjoyed her placement so much that it totally
                                                                 changed her career path from law to teaching!

                                                                 KZN: We have a number of new projects coming in 2008
                                                                 so keep your eyes peeled; these will consist of care,
                                                                 community development, medical and lots more!

                                                                 A big thank you to all the volunteers at eMakhosini for all
                                                                 their hard work! A special mention to Vic Weinburg for
                                                                 donating a load of rugby balls to the school and for Sue
                                                                 Wells for doing a sky dive to raise money for the building of
                                                                 a brand new classroom at the school. Good on you guys!

                                                                 And finally, keep an eye out on a number of new project
                                                                 videos that will be on our website in January 2008! They are
very well. After the tour of the island we were taken into the   a great way to see the projects as they really are.
prison itself and guided by another ex inmate. This was the
highlight of the tour and the stories that our guide was         Anyway that’s it for now. It’s been a great year! Hope to see
telling were extremely interesting, yet sad. Some of the girls   you down here in 2008.
on our tour were in tears as the stories of the hard times he
went through were explained. During the tour we got to see       THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRAVELLERS TEAM
Nelson Mandela’s cell and learn about the daily mundane
tasks that the prisoners had to undertake.”

     Travellers Voluntary Projects overseas – visit                             Page 3 of 3

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