Fri 23 Jul, 2004 07:28 pm
At the bottom of the continent, under the soil of Southern Africa, lies a very old and huge rock. Called the Kaapval craton, this massive geologic formation is over 2.6 billion years old, and is one of the most stable continental formations on the planet.
But this is no ordinary rock. The Kaapval craton contains some of the world's richest mineral deposits, ranging from gold and diamonds to platinum and asbestos.
Their presence has shaped the modern history of Southern Africa.
In 1870, a gigantic deposit of diamonds was found near the South African town of Kimberley. Just 16 years later, the world's largest deposits of gold were found at Witwatersrand in South Africa's central Transvaal region. The region boomed.
But so did conflict between black and white. Competition for land grew. Germany seized Namibia. Cecil Rhodes, owner of De Beers, grabbed the Zimbabwe plateau to form the colony of Rhodesia. In South Africa, white landowners and mine owners' demands for special privileges escalated. Beginning in 1910, a series of laws were introduced that restricted black ownership of the land and limited skilled, high-paying mining jobs to whites. The framework for the policy of apartheid was laid.
Nearly a century later, with apartheid disbanded, the struggle to overcome the past lives on. Dominated by South Africa, the region is dogged by the legacy of racial and economic disparity, the ravages of mining and wars. And now, an even more vicious threat lurks: AIDS. Southern Africa has among the world's highest rates of HIV infection. Though much has been done to overcome the epidemic, much still remains to be done, burnishing still further Southern Africa's reputation for courage amidst adversity.beginning in the south
In Southern Africa, the land offers rich soil, temperate climate and regular rains. Not surprisingly, it has attracted diverse groups, many descended from the migrant Bantu people whose influences have been left all over the continent. Two of the largest groups descended from these original Bantu pioneers are the Xhosa and Zulu, who, together, make up about 40 percent of South Africa's population. These groups have subsumed much of the former lands of the native hunter-gatherer San people, who are today relegated to the desert regions of the Kalahari.
These are the names of the South African nations.
Life for Xoliswa Vando, a resident of Johannesburg, looks full of opportunity. Of Xhosa decent, she is the first black woman to earn a blasting license in the South African gold mines. But that is not enough for young, ambitious Xoliswa. Her dream is to manage a mining operation on her own in the future. And now that she has passed a crucial exam, her employer, Anglogold, is helping her to achieve that goal.
Since the AFRICA series wrapped, Xoliswa has entered a special program where she attends mining and engineering classes full-time, working in the mine between semesters. She's taking a mixture of industry training classes to give her a better knowledge of mining, as well as management classes such as human resources and finance. At the end of each semester's exam cycle, she returns to work, going back down to the bottom of one of the world's deepest mines.
But it hasn't been easy, Xoliswa says.
Xoliswa acknowledges that she's something of a test-subject to determine how well women might fair in the mining industry. If she does well, she says, other women might follow.
"[W]hen the crews see I can do the work, that is when the men start to take me seriously. Because it is all about safety and looking out for one another. We have a zero-tolerance policy for negligence and accidents in the mine." And that is where Xoliswa's training really comes in, because the more she learns about the physics of mining, the more effectively she will be able to oversee the mining crews that, one day, will work under her.
Xoliswa expects to graduate from Technikon Witwatersrand College with a graduate degree in engineering and mining in July 2002. She hopes to complete the last of her mining licenses later that year. If all goes according to plan, she'll have a mining manager's license by 2003, and be that much closer to realizing her dreams.
Go Edgar! Will keep reading....
I was close to giving up from lack of response.
Okavango: Africa's Savage Oasis
Take an interactive cyber safari with National Geographic through the savanna and swampy region of Botswana's enormous Okavango Delta. Explore different wildlife habitats, check field notes, read field reports, and watch movies. Test your knowledge along the way with the "Match the Tracks" game.
South African National Parks
Learn about some of South Africa's fantastic game reserves.
South Africa: Can a Country Overcome Its History?
This site details South Africa's history of apartheid and European colonization and then challenges readers to place events in the correct chronological order. From the Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection. Frontline: The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela
Learn more about the life and times of this Nobel Peace Prize-winning South African visionary.
The Republic of Namibia is a vast, sparsely populated country situated along the south Atlantic coast of Africa between 17 and 29 degrees south of the Equator. With its surface area of 824 268 square kilometres, Namibia is the 31st largest country in the world. It stretches for about 1 300 km from south to north and varies from 480 to 930 km in width from west to east.
Namibia, previously known as South West Africa, is bordered by South Africa in the south, Angola and Zambia in the north and Botswana and Zimbabwe in the east. The oldest desert in the world, the Namib Desert stretches along the whole west coast of the country, while the Kalahari Desert runs along its southeastern border with Botswana.
The country is demarcated into 13 regions, namely the Caprivi, Kavango, Kunene, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto Regions in the north, the Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Erongo and Khomas Regions in the central areas and the Hardap and Karas Regions in the south.
he Republic of Botswana is situated in Southern Africa, nestled between South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The country is democratically ruled, boasts a growing economy and a stable political environment. Botswana has some of Africa's last great wildernesses including the famous Okavango Swamps and the Kalahari desert.
Botswana is the largest exporter of gemstone diamonds in the world as well as a large beef exporter to the European Economic Community.
right i know about the south now...
so what about middle n north africa?
holy moly i just did a seearch on google for kaapval craton and this topic came up as the first search result...how freaky is that...
Famine in Zimbabwe
Harare - Famine has claimed the lives of 152 people, mostly children, in the western Zimbabwe city of Bulawayo, it was reported on Sunday.
The weekly independent Standard newspaper quoted from records of the Bulawayo city councils city health department records as saying that 29 people had died of malnutrition in July.
It brings to 152 the number of famine-related deaths reported in Bulawayo this year, although the records did not show the number of deaths in April.
Bulawayo is the only large urban centre in Zimbabwe where authorities monitor deaths caused by malnutrition. In Harare, however, the capitals council this year reported a substantial increase in chronic under-nutrition, especially among children.
The latest deaths come after orders by President Robert Mugabes government to Western aid agencies to end famine relief operations.
It claims a record harvest of maize, the national staple food, has been harvested this year, despite United Nations forecasts that about 4.5m people will need food aid to avoid starvation.
In the last two years, the UN has kept up to six million people at a time alive with food aid deliveries after the country's once abundant agricultural industry was devastated by a campaign of massive and illegal seizures of land owned by the highly productive white commercial farming community.
Mugabe's critics say they fear he plans to use food as a political weapon to force starving people to vote for his ruling party in parliamentary elections scheduled for March next year.
The Bulawayo health department report said that of the 29 people who died in July, 21 were children under the age of five.
In September last year, the World Food Programme estimated that 2.5m of the country's urban population needed famine relief. The agency concentrated its food deliveries to rural areas, while food distribution in towns and cities was done by smaller independent agencies, but on a much smaller scale. -
Famine rife in Southern Africa
25/09/2003 22:03 - (SA)
Lusaka - Six southern African countries are still faced with famine and require more food aid to solve the crisis, which has been caused by poor rains, an official of the UN food agency said here on Thursday.
Sheila Sisulu, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said that Zambia and Malawi were the only countries in the region that have managed to produce adequate food this year.
"Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe are the worst affected," Sisulu said.
Despite having produced enough food, Zambia and Malawi have areas hard-hit by drought that require food aid from the UN agency, she added.
Sisulu is visiting southern Africa to assess the levels of famine a year after the drought-ravaged region suffered widespread food shortages.
"The hunger situation has also greatly worsened the HIV/Aids situation in the region," Sisulu said.
The other countries Sisulu is expected to visit are Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
before this thread grows any larger, i feel it necessary to say that i have absolutely nothing to do with it.
carry on, edgar...
Helped my daughter with her Social Studies last year which focused on Africa for a good portion of a semester. I learned a lot then myself, but sure wish this had been posted for her. Very informative, and not quite what is in the standard textbooks.. Thank you, edgar!
With more than a passing resemblance to a National Geographic best-of issue, Zimbabwe is a beautiful and usually safe country to visit. It boasts the majestic Victoria Falls, magnificent wildlife preserves and the medieval ruins of Great Zimbabwe, as well as the bustling city of Harare.
Whether you're lying in a tent listening to hippos snuffle in the river nearby or shaking your booty at an all-night percussion jam, there's more than enough elbow room to raise a bucket of chibuku to your lips and toast this fascinating country.
With more than a passing resemblance to a National Geographic best-of issue, Zimbabwe is a beautiful and usually safe country to visit. It boasts the majestic Victoria Falls, magnificent wildlife preserves and the medieval ruins of Great Zimbabwe, as well as the bustling city of Harare. Whether you're lying in a tent listening to hippos snuffle in the river nearby or shaking your booty at an all-night percussion jam, there's enough elbow room to raise a bucket of chibuku to your lips and toast this fascinating country.
Currently, Zimbabwe is in a state of turmoil. Incumbent President Robert Mugabe of the Zanu-PF party won an unprecedented fifth term in March 2002, but the election was plagued with corruption and the results are highly contested by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Commonwealth officials agreed and suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a year over the dubious elections. On 7 December 2003, Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth .
Representatives from South Africa and Nigeria are attempting to mediate negotiations between the parties, but in the meantime, the controversial leader is cracking down on any criticism of his government. His fascist tactics include charging political rivals with treason, arresting journalists and civil rights activists, and threatening any opposition.
Mugabe's plans to accelerate 'land reform' have led to increased violence against white farmers. Members of Mugabe's party began occupying some 1500 white-owned farms in 2000, and recent reports indicate the number of evictions is quickly rising.
Meanwhile, the country is facing the prospect of famine due to an ongoing drought and infrastructure problems. Mugabe recently declared a state of disaster and is calling for foreign aid to help the starving. Mali and Mozambique are also in danger of famine.
It is advisable that you check government travel advice before you travel to Zimbabwe. If you must visit, avoid demonstrations of any kind.
Full country name: Republic of Zimbabwe
Area: 390,580 sq km
Population: 13 million
People: Shona (76%), Ndebele (18%), Batonka (2%), Shangaan (1%), Venda (1%), European, Asian
Language: English, Shona,
Religion: 50% syncretic, 25% Christian, 24% indigenous beliefs, 1% Muslim and other
Government: parliamentary democracy
Head of State: President Robert Gabriel Mugabe
GDP: US$27 billion
GDP per capita: US$2,000
Major Industries: Mining, agriculture, clothing, tourism
Major Trading Partners: South Africa, UK, Argentina, US, Japan