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Population of South Africa


City in South Africa
City in South Africa

The land now known as South Africa was originally populated by San hunter-gatherers. About 2,000 years ago people in some of these communities, the Khoikhoi, began raising livestock when they acquired animals from Bantu-speaking peoples moving southward across the Limpopo. These Bantu peoples today account for three-quarters of the total population. White settlement began in 1652 with the arrival of the Dutch, who gradually spread into the interior as farmers. They lived isolated lives, developed their own language, called Afrikaans, and increasingly segregated themselves from indigenous Bantu peoples, whom they encountered in the interior. French Huguenot and German settlers were later absorbed into this group, known as Afrikaners.

British settlers arrived beginning in the early 1800s, and Indians came in the late 19th and early 20th century. The majority of Indians were brought as indentured laborers to work on the sugar plantations of Natal. A substantial Portuguese minority developed in the late 20th century. The offspring of whites and slaves imported by the Dutch from Southeast Asia and other parts of Africa, and later the offspring of whites and Bantu peoples, created a sizable Coloured, or mixed-race, population.

Under South Africa’s 20th-century policies of racial segregation, known as apartheid, the black majority population was forced to live in particular areas, called bantustans.

In order to work in urban areas, some blacks were permitted to live in townships on the fringes of cities. Bantustans and townships became greatly overpopulated, and were neglected by the white government. With the end of apartheid in the 1990s, such exclusionary policies ended and bantustans and townships have been incorporated into provincial and civic administrations. "South Africa" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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