- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

The Effects of Westernization on the Ruling Class of South Africa

By:   •  Essay  •  1,450 Words  •  November 26, 2009  •  820 Views

Page 1 of 6

Essay title: The Effects of Westernization on the Ruling Class of South Africa

South Africa: In the Hands of Many

Africa is land of various climates, deserts to the north, in the middle of the contenent, lays large jungles, and plains and mountains to the south. The whole southern end itself is various, not only in its in its cultures, but its peoples too. Between the beginning of the 19th century and the beginning of World War I in 1914, there was a power struggle between 3 major groups of people: The British, who had once inhabited the Cape Colony and had returned, the Native Africans, who had been there for some time, and had learned to live off the land, and the Boers, the descendants of the Dutch who had lived in the cape until the British returned. All of these people held power, but none of them held on to it for long. The rulers of the peoples, had different roles, either as lawmakers, or military commanders. These people, their actions, sacrifices, and stupidity, all took part in the formation of the country we now know as South Africa.

The African tribes of the south were once thought of people who lived richly, and also seen as people who were unintelligent and weak by the Europeans. The largest two tribes of these, the Zulus and the Xhosas, both proved to be a challenge for the British and the Boers as they moved inland, seeking riches and farmland. The Zulu tribes all lived under one king, whose main responsibility was setting up a strong and effective military, and have that army be able to defend the borders against anyone who wished to attack.

The Zulu lived prosperously, until around 1802, when their farms and the crops that were produced from them had fallen victim to a drought, which in turn caused a great famine. Several thousand people starved to death, which weakened the number of Zulu people for when the escaping Dutch went through Zulu territory, fleeing from the large number of British soldiers who had arrived in the cape in 1806.

The Zulu's best military leader, Shaka, started gaining power in 1810, when he became head of Zululand's military forces. He had to rebuild Zulu's army, and make them stronger than they were before the famine. He had accomplished this great task, and received great recognition throughout the Zulu kingdom. In 1813, his father, who was the king of his homeland had died. This left him and his brothers to fight over who would be the next king. Shaka had many supporters in the kingdom, for his great accomplishments in battle, such as attacking key British outposts and making an attempt on Cape Town for the future of the kingdom. Shaka became the king in 1814, maintaining the military's strength to take on a great enemy. In 1816 the power had shifted once again, when Shaka's half-brother, Dingiswayo, had beaten him and stabbed him with a spear. Dingiswayo had become king of the Zulus, but that would be short lived. In 1820, the British population around the cape was growing, and had to move north. The now medium sized, weakened Zulu army had to defend against an increasing number of British solders armed with muskets and cannons, with their dull spears and weak wooden shields. The Zulu would move north, to gain power to take back the large portion of their homes which was stolen from them.

The British pushed their borders even farther out from the cape, reaching into Xhosa territory, where the Xhosa fought back in the 4th Frontier War. The British had sent missionaries into the Xhosa land. Normally the Xhosa would have killed the men, but Xhosa tradition said that in times of war, soldiers were only to kill men, not women, not children, nor could they kill missionaries. Though these missionaries had converted one of the most influential diviners, Ntsikana Gaba who had hundreds of followers who had also converted to Christianity. The Xhosa people had not rejected or outcasted these people, they had requested the missionaries to leave though.

The Xhosa were at peace for a time, free of traders, missionaries, or explorers, until the British government had abolished the slave trade in the 1820s. This allowed slave owners to keep their slaves, just that no one could buy, sell, or capture slaves anymore. This caused a stir in the cape colony's Dutch population, who were the largest group of slave-owners. The Dutch still managed to capture slaves despite the law. After more years of reform, the British government had then said that all slaves must be considered free, and abolished slavery in the early 1830s. The Dutch slave-owners were forced to give up their slaves, and then train them as apprentices for the next four years. In 1834, the apprentices that had once been slaves had become masters at their work, and were set free. Though most of them could only do farm work or were hired as servants.

Louis Trichardt, Hans van Rensburg, Hendrick Potgieter and Gert Maritz, wealthy Dutch farm-owners

Continue for 5 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay The Effects of Westernization on the Ruling Class of South Africa and other term papers or research documents
Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2009, 11). The Effects of Westernization on the Ruling Class of South Africa. Retrieved 11, 2009, from

"The Effects of Westernization on the Ruling Class of South Africa" 11 2009. 2009. 11 2009 <>.

"The Effects of Westernization on the Ruling Class of South Africa.", 11 2009. Web. 11 2009. <>.

"The Effects of Westernization on the Ruling Class of South Africa." 11, 2009. Accessed 11, 2009.