â€œ Identify the issues in South Africa during the period 1886-1910 and analyse how they helped shape the future of South Africa.â€.
The period 1886-1910 was critical in the development of South Africa. A number of key events from this period would have long-lasting ramifications on the countryâ€™s development. The key issues were, the discovery of gold and the tensions between the Uitlanders and Boers that it produced, the events of the Boer war and the peace agreement, and the aftermath of the Boer war and the development of Boer authority.
Prior to the discovery of gold in Transvaal in 1886, the Boers and British lived in separate parts of South Africa. The Boers, having liberated themselves from British colonial rule after their â€˜Great Trekâ€™ between 1835 and the early 1840â€™s, lived in the north of South Africa in the states Transvaal and Orange Free State. The British were content in the south, centered at Cape Colony. However, after the discovery of gold thousands of British, or Uitlanders (Outlanders), traveled north to the Boer states. The discovery of gold had a great effect on South Africa. It increased British interest in the land, and their pressure to gain control of the lands considerable wealth, resulted in the Boer war. As Mark Weber writes, â€œGold and Diamonds drew foreigners ( â€˜Uitlandersâ€™ or â€˜Outlandersâ€™ ) like a magnet.â€ The gold, and consequent discovery of diamonds and coal, also helped the Apartheid regime of South Africa to keep its hold on power. During the Apartheid, South Africa was able to boast a growing economy despite over 90% of its people living in poverty and the international sanctions against the nation. The wealth of the land funded the government, the police, army, and the national infrastructure. As a result the white upper class lived in comfort and had no reason to oppose the Apartheid regime, while the blacks and coloureds had no means by which to overthrow the government.