In 1976 a revolt in Soweto against the substandard educational system spread like wildfire throughout the country, on the heels of a new black consciousness movement set up under the guidance of Steve Biko. The arrest and killing of Biko in police custody created a fresh outburst of public anger.
A wide range of political parties took part in the CODESA (Convention for a Democratic South Africa) talks. After lengthy negotiations, an interim constitution was agreed upon that made it possible to go to the polls on 27 April 1994 for the first time on a one-man-one-vote basis. The ANC won the election by a wide margin, and Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's first black president on 10 May 1994.
The interim constitution made provision for a government of national unity, and F.W. de Klerk became, together with Thabo Mbeki, a national deputy president.
Nelson Mandela is one of the world's most revered statesmen, who led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy.
Despite many years in jail, he emerged to become the country's first black president and to play a leading role in the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
His charisma, self-depreciating sense of humour and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment, as well as his amazing life story, partly explain his extraordinary global appeal.
(The iSimangaliso Wetland Park)
"The St Lucia Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world's oldest land mammal [the rhinoceros] and the world's biggest terrestrial mammal [the elephant] share an ecosystem with the world's oldest fish [the coelacanth] and the world's biggest marine mammal [the whale]. There can be no better icon for the holistic approach we are taking to conservation and development of the St Lucia Wetland Park…"
- a speech by Nelson Mandela, 2000
Namaqualand is a wilderness strewn with mines and mission stations, diamonds and dust. However, for a few frivolous weeks in spring, the granite hills and lava lowlands erupt with flowers.
About 4 000 species of plant lie dormant amongst the sand and stone, their germination dependent upon weather conditions. Each year's floral display is therefore unique, enticing flower-gazers from Cape Town northwards to the Namibian border.
Given the spectacular and diverse culture, history, nature and wildlife that South Africa harbours, it is not surprising that seven of the globe's World Heritage Sites are found here.
What is a World Heritage Site?
There are two types of World Heritage Sites - cultural and natural - and it is not easy to get either status from the United Nations Environmental and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO).
A serial site - in Cape Province, South Africa - made up of eight protected areas, covering 553,000-ha, the Cape Floral Region is one of the richest areas for plants in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent's flora. The site displays outstanding ecological and biological processes associated with the Fynbos vegetation, which is unique to the Cape Floral Region. The outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the flora are among the highest worldwide.
Southern Circle Tours and Safaris is an inbound Tour Operator specialising in luxury tailor-made tours and daily excursions of South Africa. We operate from all major cities in South Africa, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or visiting South Africa for the first time, we can take you to places and areas that you have not been to before in the comfort of a luxury air-conditioned vehicle.
Understanding our Cultures
South Africa has 11 languages and each one of them is attached to a culture, whether it is quite similar to the next one or not. Historically the white speaking South Africans have strictly clung to their ancestral cultures from Europe and America, but has since 1994 embraced the African culture with a view to understand it and to harmonise it with theirs.
The Sub-Saharan African cultures are in certain areas very different from the above-mentioned cultures and sometimes exactly the opposite.