Whether youâ€™re planning to attend the World Cup Meet-up in June 2010, or maybe just visiting South Africa at another time for other reasons, this blog is designed to give you a wide range of resources and information.
South Africa will host the 2010 World Cup with matches played in 9 cities: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Mangaung, Rustenburg, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Tshwane, and Nelspruit. You will find in this blog an entry dedicated for each city and will include city facts, hotel/hostel/restaurant/transportation information, activities relative to that city, and stadium details.
In addition, I will include entries specific to the World Cup. One such entry will have a list of all the TravBuddies with match tickets so that people can easily find out who is attending the same matches. Another entry will include information about the Cape Town Meet-up. The blog is an ongoing project and I would completely welcome any suggestions as I continue to add information.
South Africa is divided into nine provinces which vary significantly in vegetation and altitude. For example at sea level, there are coastal forests on the eastern coast and semi-arid conditions on the west coast. Further inland, there are mountainous regions, semi-deserts and plateaus.
The provinces are the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape, North West and the Western Cape. The Northern Cape is by far the largest province, but also has the smallest population, as a large part of the province is semi-desert, as with the Kgalagadi National Park. The smallest province is Gauteng, but has the densest population. Each Province has its own provincial legislature. The Premier is the head of the province and also chooses members of the executive council (MEC's). The MECs and the Premier function as a provincial cabinet.
Often when we think of South Africa the phrase â€śapartheidâ€ť jumps into our consciousness. Apartheid literally means "apartness" in Afrikaans. It was a policy of institutionalized segregation made into law in 1948 when the Afrikaaner National Party was governing South Africa. The laws were to the distinct detriment of the black population of the country.
South Africans were classified into different races by the apartheid government, and were given and denied rights according to these classifications. White people were afforded the most rights and privileges. Black people were denied basic human rights and often had their civil rights impinged upon. The black population did not have freedom of movement, and were forced to carry passes - similar to an internal passport - at all times until the law was finally repealed in 1986.
'Black', 'Indian' and 'colored' (mixed heritage) people were disenfranchised and forced to live in separate residential areas. Blacks were also not allowed to own land. They were forced to live in 'homelands' - areas demarcated by the apartheid government and considered outside of South Africa. The imposed segregation led to the formation of the anti-apartheid movement, which fought against the racially segregated South African State. After more than half-a-century of struggling, apartheid ended and, in 1994, a new constitution was ratified and the country had its first democratic elections. The movement gave rise to many famous humanitarians who made it their life's mission to fight the oppression. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Oliver Thambo and Steve Biko all gained recognition as they were instrumental in the forging of South African democracy.