Local population South Africa

Tsonga Dance

Local population South Africa. Just as diverse as the country itself.

The Rainbow Nation with its great diversity of people, cultures, customs and way of life. Only in South Africa. Local population South Africa. That is and will be quite a story.

Pieter Blaak October 2020

The South African population is just as diverse as South Africa itself and maybe even more than that. Just a small summary: 11 official languages ​​and various dialects of each language. (who do not understand each other, just like a German and a Chinese). Various population groups: Black (yes we just say black here in South Africa). The black people do that themselves and there is nothing wrong with that here in South Africa. At least that is how we understand each other. White (Yes those are the white people). Coloreds (Those are the mixed people of Black and White from hundreds of years ago). Indian (Those are the people from India). And a few other smaller groups. I will leave that out of consideration for the moment, otherwise it will all become too complicated.

Local population South Africa
Local population South Africa. The Rainbow Nation.

Local population South Africa “Tribes”

Just a short introduction. I have lived already in South Africa for a very long time. I’ve been crisscrossing the country. Both on my own and with my travelers. I now know and understand South Africa very well. But really understand South Africa… That will never happen. This is an article about the variety. The culture and its many differences, I will devote an article to the differences another time, otherwise this will be a 2000 page book I fear. So I kind of keep it a bit in general ok?

Groups in South Africa

Each grouping consists of its own diverse groups. I’ll just call it a strain in this article to keep it clear. And Yes also the white people have a tribe here. You probably know that black people have tribes. That is generally known. But there’s more. Much more.

I’m also going to name some a bit.

Zulu, Sjangaan, Xhosa, Tsonga, Pedi, Swazi, Sutu, Venda, Badubela, Modjadji, Bapedi, Ndebele, Basotho, Afrikaner, English and so on and so on. Too many to mention. I myself cannot name them all like that. I’m writing this out of my head and unfortunately don’t have the time to find out everything to perfection. Sorry..

Tsonga Dance

Tsonga dance

Local tribe from Sjangaan

South Africa languages ​​and dialects

In addition, we in South Africa have so many languages ​​and dialects, which makes it all extra difficult. Remember that, for example, a Tsonga person does not understand the language of someone who speaks Venda. It’s just like English and Chinese. They don’t understand each other either. It is also a surprise among themselves. For example, Shangaan also has several dialects. So it can happen that two people from the same tribe also have trouble understanding each other.

Local Population South Africa, here we go:

Do you have any idea who the indigenous people of South Africa are?

No? I thought so. Very short but not so sweet…. It does not longer exists .. They have all been massacred … First the Portuguese came ashore in the Cape and they started shooting everyone they encountered .. The Portuguese were in the Cape 200 years earlier than the Dutch. Did you know? The Portuguese were not there long and they spread out into the world at that time. Sail around the Cape in a wide arc. It’s too dangerous there. Too many dangerous animals, people and all kinds of other reasons were used to keep everyone out of the Cape at the time.

200 hundred years later. The Dutch were there… “Well, we’re going to have a look there because we really need a gas station for our ships to the West Indies” so said and done. The Dutch on land and the first thing they were going to do there? Right .. shoot  everything they encountered …

Native local people of South Africa massacred …

So what did they do? Killing the rest of the original population. Dear people from the Netherlands .. What we did in South Africa at the time .. That is not really nice. ( I am also Dutch). The original inhabitants were the Koi people. (Hottentots). A number of San people. Those who have kept themselves alive and survived the Dutch fled to the desert. Which is Namibia today. (a very small group still lives within the land borders of South Africa) Mainly in the Kalahari. Far from the rest of South Africa. And they want to keep it that way. I would do the same, by the way, with such a history.

Locals arrived in South Africa

To make a long story a bit shorter. The original inhabitant of South Africa does not exist .. Everyone who lives in South Africa is descended from someone who has arrived somewhere or who has migrated from anywhere to South Africa. You didn’t know that, did you?

Local population South Africa

San People

Not much left

Local people South Africa San People

The San People along with the Khoi were the original inhabitants of South Africa.

We Dutch are nice people, don’t you think?

That is why there are so many differences today. And so many tribes and the associated disagreements and occasional problems. It’s a bit like: This tribe can’t get along with that tribe. That tribe is friends with this tribe and together they don’t like that other tribe .. And so on. And take it from me .. Their background: wherever they come from and however long ago it was. A Resident of South Africa never forgets.

Peasant (Boer) population group and English population group in South Africa

Did you know that white people also have two very clear groups? The Dutch (the Boers) and the English? The Boers are not only Dutch, but also Germans, French, Danes, and several non-English inhabitants of South Africa at the time. In short, the Afrikaners of non-English descent and the Afrikaners of English descent.

And especially the present Boers can still shoot the English. This is really awful. They really don’t sit together in a restaurant. I will briefly explain why. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Boer war? Well. Around 1900 there was a Boer war here in South Africa. (Just before that the first Boer war, but I will skip it for now). This was a war between the Boers and the English. Also called the Anglo Boer War.

At the time, the Boers had more or less two countries (Orange Free State and Transvaal). At the time, the English were mainly in the Cape and Kwazulu Natal. And then it came… Gold was found in Transvaal in the Rand (now Johannesburg).

The English listened to that and have started to bother the Boers. The Boers were not allowed to become too rich, because then it would be very difficult for the English in South Africa.

Concentration camps in South Africa

The English forces were enormous. More and more troops were brought in from England and yet they still could not win. Hundreds of thousands entered by ship. The Dutch more or less waged a kind of hide and seek war. (Kind of like in Vietnam against America). And they had a brilliant General (Jan Smuts) and the well-known President (Paul Kruger) at their disposal. The English, when they found out that they probably weren’t going to win … (Paul Kruger was the President of the Transvaal for those who don’t know) (Jan Smuts even wrote the beginning of the United Nations constitution here in South Africa)

All the women and children of the Boers they could find were arrested and put in camps. (It is precisely the English who invented the concentration camps here in South Africa). Many women and children have died there and the Boers have never forgiven the English for that. I will write a little more about that in a later article. but that is for next time.

The English were not really very nice at the time either

Local population South Africa

Anglo Boer War

South Africa

Local Population South Africa Dark Tribes

Now it gets really complicated. I’ll stick to the main groups for a while, otherwise it’s going too far.

All black people once ended up in South Africa. It is true that through various routes, no current tribe is of South African origin. Broadly speaking, there have been two routes. To put it bluntly, left (via Namibia, Botswana say) or Right (via Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and the like). Note I am talking about hundreds if not a thousand years ago. These groups once descended to Southern Africa. And that less long ago than you would think. The dark inhabitants of South Africa therefore almost all come from central Africa. (The first dark inhabitants of Africa came from Sudan and Somalia. They were refugees for the Egyptians who took them as slaves when they started building the pyramids there). Are you still following?

Local Population South Africa

Every stream of human imports have formed sub tribes from which today the Zulu, Khosa and the like have sprung. (The Zulus were formed by Shaka Zulu “the Napolion of Africa” at the time. I will also save this story for another article ok). And on the other hand, the Venda, Ndebele and the like have sprung from it. You understand it is more or less the same as putting a German next to a Frenchman on the campsite. That will not work either, I fear. I think I will also dedicate an article to this. When I think about it like that, there is a lot to tell about it.

People from India in South Africa

And then we have a very large group of Indian people in South Africa. From India (not Indonesia). At the time, their ancestors were brought from India by the English to work on the plantations in South Africa. Now many years later their descendants are a group in South Africa. Did you know that the largest concentration of people from India is in South Africa? Most of them are in Durban. Also near Johannesburg (Lenesa) there is also an enormous concentration. They are also quite spread throughout the country. You will find them in every nook and cranny of South Africa.

Colored people in South Africa

Then we have the colored people. This is also a separate population group in South Africa. These are the descendants of mainly Dutch men who at the time mixed with black women in the Cape. When the Dutch arrived in the Cape (The Jan van Riebeek story) they were only men and yes … something happens sometimes. There are now a few million colored people. And the funny thing is this group mainly keeps it to itself. And now they have their own status (official breeding group in South Africa)

Multi Cultural Society is South Africa

However, because of this enormous diversity, no single group has a majority in South Africa. And that is why everyone lives peacefully side by side anyway. And that with all these different languages, backgrounds and customs. Unbelievable right? I also think it helps that everyone is now ready to live and let live. Don’t care what religion you adhere to. (the vast majority in South Africa are somehow Christian by the way)

Coloreds in South Africa


Also South Africans

South Africa is the best example of a multi-cultural society

So it is possible. Living with other people from other countries and with different customs. I think many countries can learn something from South Africa.

As said, I will also write a bit more deeply about the relationships between tribes and the other local population of South Africa. These will then become multiple articles. There is a lot to tell about it.

Pieter Blaak

Do you want to know more or do you have questions? You can always approach me. No problem. I am happy to talk to you.

Do you want to read more about South Africa. I have written more articles and am working on a collection site. Keep an eye on this website and you will see more time to time

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