What better place is there to learn English or to do an internship than in South Africa, a country renowned for the warmth and friendliness of its people, the stunning natural beauty of its landscapes and coasts and the richness of its culture?
The history of South Africa is marked by migration, ethnic conflict and the anti-Apartheid struggle. The Khoisan peoples are the aboriginal people of the region who have lived there for millennia.
By the middle of the 17th century trading ships from Europe were sailing the seven seas and the Dutch East India Company sent out a small group of men to set up a halfway station for the ships going to the trading posts in the East. Within 10 years after the establishment of the victualling post at the Cape the first farmers settled and therafter slaves from Africa and the East were imported whereby a mixed-race group consisting of descendants of the Khoisan, slaves, excites and white colonists was formed.
The colonists, mainly of Dutch, German and French Huguenot descent began to lose their sense of identification with Europe and the African nation came into being.
In 1806 when the Napoleonic wars were raging in Europe the Cape became a British colony. Many blacks had hoped that the British victory would result in franchise rights for them, but when the Union of South Africa came into being in 1910 they were barred from parliament and repressives measures to entrench white power soon followed.
In an act of unity the African National Congress [ANC] was founded in Bloemfontein in 1912. In the 1930's black Cape voters were removed from the common voters' roll, laws were passed to stem black urbanization and force municipalities to segregate black Africans and white residents. Separate Development [Apartheid] became the official government policy.
In 1961 South Africa became a republic and left the Commonwealth. Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu and other leaders of the resistance groups were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. By the late 1980's under increasing international pressure the government had no option but to start negotiations with Mandela. In 1990 Mandela was set free and in 1993 after further negotiations an interim constitution was agreed to by 21 political parties. In 1994 the first democratic election was held and Nelson Mandela became president.
Culture and Tradition
South Africa is known for its ethnic diversity. Its a diversity in cultures, traditions, food, music, .... as well as languages. There are eleven official languages in South Africa however most South Africans speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue.
South African cuisine is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as a braai, or barbacue. The country has also developed into a major wine producer with some of the best vineyards lying in valleys around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Barrydale.
Now a modern and prosperous African country, South Africa still treasures its strong cultural and historical traditions. In fact, the traditional and the modern sit comfortably side by side. South Africa provides an ideal location for a wide variety of outdoor sports and pastimes, among them fishing, horse riding, sailing, golf and hill-walking. For the less active, there is a range of indoor social and cultural activities too.