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Which Person in "Burning the Grass" Was Most Pleased With the Changes in South Africa and Why?

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The Future of South Africa Some things in South Africa are becoming better as we move into the future, while others are becoming worse. The government in South Africa is better. All the provisions of the new constitution were in place as of the year 1999. In June of 1999, President Nelson Mandela’s term ended, and Thabo Mbeki was elected as president. There was a peaceful change in government, and Mbeki is doing many things to help the country. Some of these include eliminating hatred between races, ending poverty, and reducing violent crime. The government is also electing more people of different races and genders to the National Assembly and the Cabinet.

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South Africa changed hands and became a British colony, after the Napoleonic wars in 1815. Most of the Dutch went north to escape from the English. Here they developed tribe- a well known community, and over the period of time they migrated South from Central Africa. Overt there a war resulted between the Dutch Boers and the Zulus, a powerful tribe led by Shaka. The Boers won and created an Afrikaner state in the north. In 1899 there were the Boer Wars as a result of the English trying to capture this Afrikaner state. In 1910 South Africa became a union which is a coalition between the English and Afrikaner states. In 1960 South Africa became independence from British rule and became a republic. During the 90’s, with the release of Nelson Mandela- president, South Africa went through an amazing transformation. South Africa (Africa’s southernmost nation) is also Africa’s largest and most developed economy. Today South Africa produces high-tech equipment and is a world leader in the output of gold and diamonds. Johannesburg and its satellite cities are home to more than 8 million people and generate 9 percent of all economic activity in Africa. In the 21st century, South Africa is a democratic country representing all its diverse people-often called the rainbow nation. Today South Africa is making up for decades of social disruption and lost education, but high unemployment and the AIDS epidemic threaten economic progress. Zulu is one of the strongest surviving black cultures and massed Zulu singing at Inkatha Freedom Party demonstrations is a powerful expression of this ancient culture. The Xhosa also have a strong presence; they are known as the red people because of the red-dyed clothing worn by most adults. The Ndebele are a related group, who live in the north-western corner of what is now Mpumalanga in strikingly painted houses. The distinct culture of the Afrikaners has developed in a deliberate isolation, which saw them wandering around with cows and the Bible while 19th-century Europe experimented with democracy and liberalism. Till today, rural communities are revolving around the conservative Dutch Reformed Churches, however ‘Afrikaner redneck’ is extremely far from a tautology. Apart from the Afrikaners, most of the European South Africans are of British extraction. The British generally tend to have the dominance over the business and financial sectors. There is also a large and prominent Jewish population and a significant Indian population.

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The main reason for colonization was in order for the Europeans to acquire raw materials for their industries in Europe, although they claimed that they were in a mission to civilize the Africans (Boahen 20). African colonization resulted to great negative impacts to the economy, social and political system of African States. The greatest negative impact of colonization was the exploitation of the natural resources by foreigners which did not benefit the local communities, but instead the colonizers. To gain access to the natural resources, there were major landscaping; which destroyed the otherwise peaceful lifestyle of the locals. Forests were cleared to get timber for ship-building and construction of houses in Europe. Trees were also cut down to provide firewood that was needed to power the steam engine trains. In addition, the trees cut down provided woods which were used to construct rail tracks. All these activities destroyed huge tracts of forests in the African colonies, the effects were almost catastrophic. The cutting down of trees resulted to increased soil erosion since most forest cover was destroyed. Soil erosion led to siltation in rivers that greatly affected fishing activities. The communities that relied on fishing suffered the consequences of siltation because fish greatly reduced in numbers in the affected areas. Such levels of poverty were not widespread in the pre-colonial days, since the community took care of all the members of the community .The initiation of urbanization facilitated rural-urban migrations which has resulted to majority of young people migrating from rural areas to urban areas to look for white color jobs and employments in industries as laborers. Those people that are not successful in securing employment opportunities in the urban areas often engage in criminal activities to earn their livelihood. Others engage in prostitution to earn their daily bread. This has resulted to the wide spread of HIV/AIDs in African States (Magnet 19). Colonialism had a negative impact in the economies and social system of the African states; most of them are still felt today and the effects reverberating into future for many years to come. Some of the negative impacts that are associated with colonization include; degradation of natural resources, capitalist, urbanization, introduction of foreign diseases to livestock and humans. Change of the social systems of living. Nevertheless, colonialism too impacted positively on the economies and social systems.

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In the long run, twenty years since South Africa held its historic first democratic elections, and people of all races had their say at last, choosing Nelson Mandela to be their president. The anniversary of that day, April 27, 1994, is now a public holiday — Freedom Day. This year South Africans are preparing to go to the polls again, with elections scheduled for May 7. It will be only the fifth general election held since the end of racist white minority rule, and the first since Mandela's death.

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Boahen, Amos. African Perspective on Civilization. London: Cambridge University Press, 1974.

Chemberlin, Martin. The Scramble for Africa. New York, NY: Longman, 2010.

Iliffe, John. Africans: The History of a Continent. London: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Magnet, James. Civilization of Black Africa. London: Oxford University Press, 1972 Shillington, Kelly. History of Africa. New Delhi: Macmillan, 2005.

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Which Person in "Burning the Grass" Was Most Pleased With the Changes in South Africa and Why?
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