Brief History of Western Cape, South Africa
Back to Property in Western Cape, South Africa
Traces of the tools of early stone age hunter-gatherers found in the area
of modern day Western Cape indicate that this area was inhabited by prehistoric
people as much as 600 000 years ago. Most well known of these prehistoric
hunter-gatherer is probably the the San (Bushmen) which relied almost
solely on what the seashore had to offer for their food. About 2000 years
ago the San was displaced by the Khoikhoi from the north, bringing with
them their herds of cattle and sheep. By the time the first Europeans
settled into the Table Bay area of the Western Cape the Khoikhoi was the dominant tribe in
The first European settlement in the Western Cape area of South Africa was in the form
of a supply station established in1652 by the Dutch East India Company
at the newly christened Cape of Good Hope. This supply station quickly
evolved into a colonial settlement. With the growth of the settlement
the Khoi-San was driven away and slaves had to be imported from Madagascar,
India, Ceylon, Malaya, and Indonesia to help build the colonial settlement in the Western Cape.
By the early 18th century the Western Cape Khoikhoi population had
completely disintegrated and the influx of German and French religious
refugees swelled the European population. At that time slavery had become
the economic backbone of the colony in the Western Cape.
In order to secure this strategic sea route to the east, Britain quickly
grabbed Western Cape in 1795. This was not welcomed by the Calvinist
Dutch Burghers but for the substantial Muslim Slave population this
was good news as the British soon ordered the abolition of slavery.
The British also allowed freedom of religion resulting in the first
Mosque built in Dorp Street in the Bo-Kaap of the Western Cape area.
By the 19th century Western Cape had a Seaport of major significance
and department stores, banks and insurance company buildings became
evident everywhere. Victoria road was built from City to Sea Point and
a Suburban railway line to Wynberg laid. As slavery was abolished convict
labor had to be imported from the colonial frontier in the Eastern Cape
to build the city.
Cape Town in the Western Cape became the legislative capital of the union in 1910. By
1945 the increasing industrialization had attracted an influx of black
workers which were housed in the Western cape locations of Guguletu and Nyanga. Three
years later the National Party came to power and they introduced a policy
that favored coloureds over blacks for employment.
The Langa township of Western Cape became a stronghold of the Pan Africanist
Congress (PAC) . On April 8,1960 the PAC organized a peaceful anti-pass
demonstration in Western Cape. The police opposed the demonstration
killing three demonstrators and wounding many. As a result of this incident
the government declared a state of emergency and consequently anti-apartheid
groups such as the PAC & ANC was banned. In 1966 the government
introduced the group areas act. As a result of this act coloured communities
were removed from district six to the desolate Cape Flats. Here gangsterism
took root which is still prelevant today in the Cape Flats are of the Western Cape.
In 1986 the South African government scrapped influx control and blacks poured into
Western Cape seeking work and erecting shanty towns. The influx was
so great that Western Cape soon became one of the fasting growing cities
in the world. In 1990 Mandela was released and soon a non-racial democracy
was established in South Africa.