South Africa: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world South Africa, mining wealth including gold, diamonds and uranium, history of Apartheid.



South Africa's main wealth lies below the soil in the form of gold, diamonds, and uranium. South Africa is practically one big gold mine, and the world's largest gold mine, located here, happens to be the world's largest uranium field as well. South Africa produces 60%-70% of the world's gold supply through vast holding companies which have nearly semi-official government status. They are: the Gold Mining Group, Consolidated Gold, Central Mining, Anglo-Transvaal (Kennecott), and the Anglo-American Corp. The mines of the Rand, that ridge of gold which runs through the country, are quite deep--up to 9,000' deep--and therefore dangerous. Whites will not work them. So, in a large way, the whole South African economy depends upon the black labor which can be induced or forced literally to "go under."

One of gold mining's by-products is uranium. Uranium oxide comes from the slime left over once the gold ore is extracted. This uranium is owned by the Government, which markets it but sends a good portion of the proceeds back to the mining companies.

South Africa also has a cheap supply of coal as well as important deposits of iron, manganese, tin, copper, tungsten, chrome, and nickel. All this mineral wealth has spurred rapid industrialization--steel mills, auto plants, shipyards, and the accompanying commercial enterprises. Manufacturing-finance is now the biggest sector of the South African economy: 21% of gross domestic production, nearly as much as agriculture and mining combined.

About 87% of South Africa is reserved for Europeans while the remaining 13% is reserved for blacks. Two-thirds of the black population live on agricultural compounds or urban locations in bondage to the whites. The English-speaking whites control industry and commerce and so form the top of the social pyramid. Afrikaners (descendants of Dutch, German, and French settlers), as farmers, professionals, and civil servants, form the middle of the pyramid--the poorer white class. The huge base of the pyramid is formed by native blacks and colored who hold up the whole structure and are kept there by "apartheid."

The goals of apartheid are: (1) to prevent blacks from "swamping" the white minority, (2) to let each racial group develop itself separately, and (3) to halt the detribalization of blacks. These goals are accomplished by imposing: (a) separate and unequal education, (b) job restrictions, (c) restrictions on mobility and residence, and (d) restrictions on political movements and open protest. The Government implements apartheid by requiring any black or colored person to carry a number of passes and identifications. Without the required certificate, one can be arrested and thrown in jail without further charges or trial. Any native or group of natives can be transported to another residence or job on purely administrative orders. And, of course, interracial marriages are absolutely banned.

Most Afrikaners are strict Calvinists by way of one of the 3 branches of the Dutch Reformed Church. Like Catholicism in medieval Spain, the Church here dominates the state by preaching that all power comes from God and races must be separate. Its rationale: Blacks are considered "Sons of Ham" and thus cursed to be "hewers of wood and drawers of water."

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