For many western audiences, when we think of the history of South Africa we think of Mandela, apartheid, and…then our knowledge kind of fades off. In many ways, the history of South Africa is very similar to the history of the American west, with independent-minded settlers on a mission of divine destiny and clashing with native tribes who felt the land already belonged to them. Like the story of the American west, the history of South Africa is filled with legends and mythology built around independence and self-reliance among these settlers.
In other ways, South Africa confuses American audiences because the clash of peoples do not fit the categories we usually consider. Why were European descendants called Boers? Why were they fighting the British in South Africa? What was the difference between the people that South Africans defined as whites, colored, and blacks or natives?
This episode begins our two-parter look at the history of South Africa within the wider History of Africa podcast series. In this episode, we will look at the origins of European colonization in South Africa, the Boers, British control, and some of the larger conflicts between the Europeans in South Africa and the native tribal kingdoms like the Zulu. We will see the origin of terms like Boer and Afrikaaner.
Learn more about some of the topics discussed in this podcast episode here:
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Find more of our episodes on the History of Africa podcast series here.