South Africa

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South Africa. It is an extremity, the extremity of an extremely large continent. There is nowhere more South for voyagers seeking passage in the hemisphere. And, as such, surmounting this southmost latitude was equivalent to surmounting the final obstacle to a further destination. Geographically it is wonderful in its extremities; sociopolitically it had become extreme too. Perhaps it is the relative sociopolitical isolation of its geographic extremity that allowed such a thing.

Earliest Portuguese Explorations …

Sea-going explorations are rumored by the Greeks to have occurred earlier, much earlier;1 but the earliest rounding of the tip of the continent, of the so-called scientific era, would be by the Portuguese. The geographical feature now known as the Cape of Good Hope, was the point where sea navigators began to sail east of southeast, that is, more East than South. The actual southernmost point of continental Africa is Cape Agulhas, about a half degree south and one and a half degrees west of the Cape of Good Hope. Encylcopedia Britannica states it this way: “It [that is, the Cape of Good Hope] was first sighted by the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 on his return voyage to Portugal after ascertaining the southern limits of the African continent.”2  Dias named it the Cape of Storms. It was some time after the voyage of Dias that John II renamed it the Cape of Good Hope, this geographical feature, perhaps, being the early signal, as the dawn before the day, that the sea route between Europe and India was truly viable.3,4

The story of South Africa is essentially the amalgamation of the original inhabitants, Dutch settlers and then subsequent British settlers.

The Dutch Colonial Enterprise … The Boers … The Afrikaaners

As Portuguese maritime power began to wane in the early 1800s, that of the Dutch, and then of the British, increased. Journeying between the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, later day Dutch and British merchants traded with the indigents of the southern African region, primarily the “Khoesan pastoralists”,5   In 1652 the Dutch East India Company established a settlement for supplying ocean going vessels both under their own flag and those of other countries together with a fortress.  The settlement replenished their supplies by trading with the indigents.  A little later the Company released some of its military support from their contracts to become freeburgher Boers which established on Khoesan grazing grounds.  Around this time Dutch settlers began to refer to the native peoples as Hottentot, and the term soon entered the vernacular.6 As demand for products to support the voyagers increased, so did demand from the settlement from the indigents who reached further and further inland and after a time found their own stock of produce and cattle diminishing. The Dutch encourage d settlement and soon a thousand people from the Netherlands had relocated into southern Africa.  These became known as the Boers, Dutch for “farmer”.

The increasing trade together with increasing settlement pushed the demand for products inland even further and soon the Boers were importing slaves from Madagascar at the rate of 200 to 300 per year for the next one hundred years.

The British first seized control of the Cape of Good Hope in 1795 and possessed it for good within a decade. Numerous political and social changes were introduced that tended to alienate the Dutch, particularly, restrictions upon slavery. The Dutch began to abandon the Cape and move northwards and, a generation later, in the 1830s and 1840s, what has become known as The Great Trek was in full motion.7 Boer states emerged northward as the British state solidified in the south.

The Boers moved northward and inland.

In 1843 the British annexed Natal, the trekker republic.  Subsequently “the British recognized the political independence of the Boer republics north of the Vaal and Orange Rivers.”8

The Boers were resisted mightily by Moshoeshoe I, now equipped with guns and the famous ‘Basuto pony’.  But through the 1850s and 18602, the Boers from Orange gradually occupied Sotho’s valuable and productive lowland regions.  Moshoeshoe sought British annexation.9

In 1870 diamonds were discovered and by 1871 the British colony of Griqualand West had been established.  Cecil Rhodes’ company, De Beers, grew to dominated the diamond industry in the 1880s.  By 1889 he had bought out all his rivals and thus had the monopoly on the diamond industry. 

Kimberley rapidly grew into a town of 30,000 people and the mines employed 50,000 in the 1870s.10

The “mineral revolution”11

led to a renewed aggressive white colonialism which met with a much better armed African resistance.12

In 1886, gold was discovered in central Transvaal at the Witwatersrand (sometimes known simply as the Rand).13

  The following industrialization was larger than that initiated by the discovery of diamonda.  Johannesburg rapidly grew to the largest city in sub Saharan Africa.14

The government of Transvaal gained much money through taxes and field a powerful army which was used to extend their land northwards eastwards and westwards.

The Boer Republics, Transvaal, the First Boer War and the Second Boer War …

The Boer Republics were several latter-half 19th century polities descended from earlier15 Dutch settlers and colonists.16 They were located in the northern and northeastern regions of the country now known as South Africa. Two of these polities, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic, also known as Transvaal,17 achieved international recognition. 18

The First Boer War (1881-1882), also known as the Anglo-Boer War and the First Transvaal War of Independence,19was fought between the United Kingdom and the Boers of Transvaal.20Britain was defeated resulting in the acknowledgement of the independence of Transvaal, as it had been since 1852.21

The Second Boer War (1899-1902), also known by various names, pitted Great Britain against two Boer states, The Transvaal and the Orange Free State.22Great Britain won and by 1910, the two states were incorporated into the Union of South Africa,23 and, the British Empire.24

The British Colonial Enterprise … The Boers … Apartheid

The British arrived with concern for Dutch possessions as the Netherlands had been invaded by the First French Republic.

Diamonds were discovered in 1867 and gold in 1884.25

The Long Process to Independence … and … separation from Britain …

“Within the country, anti-British policies among white South Africans focused on independence. During the Dutch and British colonial years, racial segregation was mostly informal, though some legislation was enacted to control the settlement and movement of native people, including the Native Location Act of 1879 and the system of pass laws.”26 Visions of independence began to solidify with the 1909 South Africa Act granting nominal independence. Independence was complete with the 1931 Statute of Westminster dissolving all remaining British powers in South Africa.

The National Party opposed unity with Great Britain in the war for survival in 1939.27 The republic renounced Queen Elizabeth II in 196128 and withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.29 South Africa was independent and charting its own course.

Apartheid …

Apartheid, apartness,30 was a system of institutionalized segregation. It is a solidified emotion, and institutionalized prejudice. The origins of hate are much older, of course; but the South Africa’s institutionalization might be said to begin in 1948.

1948 saw the nationalist party elected to power,31 and, the beginning of what has come to be known as Apartheid. They passed legislation that segmented peoples in three races assigning levels of rights and limitations distinct to each race.32

Ten homelands, or Bantustans,33were established in South Africa. These were regions explicitly designed to remove Blacks from the White politics and society.34

An interesting story on a sidelight of the process of dismantling apartheid specifically in regards to the homelands.35 Hilary Lynd, Secret details of the land deal that brought the IFP into the 94 poll, Mail&Guardian August 7, 2019/efn_note]

Backroom deals in the 1994 election in hopes of success. 36 Hilary Lynd, Secret details of the land deal that brought the IFP into the 94 poll, Mail&Guardian August 7, 2019/efn_note]


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The mineral revolution transformed the region with British dominance rapidly growing.  Late in the 19th century, British settlers, not waiting for rebellions to suppress, actively sought land and drove the indigents to the Langeberg mountain range along the edge of the Khlahari desert.  Their heroic leader kgosi Luka Jantjie died in their defense and his people were ‘ethnically cleansed’ from the region.1

The Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, and, it was expected, Botswana would ultimately join that union in one for or another.  The political crises of the 1950s and especially the Sharpeville crisis of March 1960 eliminated that expectation.  The people had become used to a system  of accountable government so that the parliamentary representative government proposed by the British was accepted with little difficulty.  “The uncrowned king of the largest Batswana group”, Seretse Khama became president in 1966.2

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Coats of Arms, Emblems, Seals

Croatia 10000000000 Dinar 1993 banknote front (2)

Croatia – 1993

Croatia 50 Million Dinara Banknote – Face and Back
Croatia 50 Million Dinara Banknote
Croatia 50 Million Dinara Banknote back
West Africa 500 Franc 1994 banknote back (2) featuring man on garden tractor

West African CFA 500 Franc

West African CFA 500 Franc Banknote – Face and Back
West african CFA 500 franc banknote front
Benin CFA franc

The italicized text below is taken entirely from Wikipedia (reference at end) and is in this website for reference.

The West African CFA franc (XOF) is known in French as the Franc CFA, where CFA stands for Communauté financière d’Afrique (“Financial Community of Africa”) or Communauté Financière Africaine (“African Financial Community”). It is issued by the BCEAO (Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, i.e., “Central Bank of the West African States”), located in Dakar, Senegal, for the eight countries of the UEMOA (Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine, i.e., “West African Economic and Monetary Union”):
Burkina Faso
Ivory Coast
These eight countries have a combined population of 102.5 million people (as of 2013), and a combined GDP of US$78.4 billion (as of 2012).” 1

West african CFA 500 franc banknote front

Benin CFA franc.  The letter “B” in the upper right corner and the lower left of this banknote is the country code.  This letter, “B”, indicates that this banknote originated in the country of Benin.

The banknotes generally utilize the same images both on the front and the back.  The country of issuance is identifiable by a country code, a single letter.  The country codes are as follows:

A – Ivory Coast
B – Benin
C – Burkina Faso
D – Mali
H – Niger
K – Senegal
T – Togo
S – Guinea-Bissau


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

A guide to transliteration of Arabic numerals follows below:

The front of our banknote shows a serial number in Arabic on the top left and the same serial number on the descending down the far right in English.  The year 1433 of the Islamic calendar appears in the lower left of the front of our banknote.  The corresponding year 2012 of the Gregorian calendar appears in the lower left of the back of our banknote.

Cameroon 500 Franc 2002 banknote front featuring school children in class

Cameroon – 500 Francs – Year 2002

Cameroon 500 Francs Year 2002

A lovely classroom scene is featured on the obverse of our Cameroon 500 franc banknote.  It appears as if a classroom demonstration is taking place, with one student at the blackboard illustrating the alphabet to others,  How important education is!  And how commendable that education is being celebrated on our banknote.

The Central Africa CFA franc is a common currency among 6 central Africa states.  The capital “U” in the top left and right corners is what distinguishes this particular banknote as originating from Cameroon.  In 2002, the year of issuance of our banknote, (see back lower right corner), U designated Cameroon, whereas the other 5 nations are designated as follows: T – Republic of Congo, M – Central African Republic, A – Gabon, F- Equatorial Guinea, C- Chad.

Cameroon 500 Francs Year 2002

In the earliest days of independence from the colonial era, 1972-1976, education in Cameroon was split between the French system of teaching with the French language, and the British system of teaching and the English language. The two methods and languages in one country were considered a testament on unity between east Cameroon and West Cameroon. But not only are the languages different, but the logic of the instructional methods are different, and it became recognized that the differences were creating some, perhaps unnecessary, confusion.  English is now the primary language in education in Cameroon.  The constitution of Cameroon states: “the State shall guarantee the child’s right to education [and that] primary education shall be compulsory“.

Cameroon became a German colony in the late 19th century.  Following Germany’s defeat in WW1, by a League of Nations mandate, France and Great Britain came to control portions of the territory.  Following WW2 an independence movement began and was resisted by the French.  Cameroon gained independence on January 1, 1960.