A History of South Africa by Leonard Thompson, Lynn Berat

By Leonard Thompson, Lynn Berat

A number one student of South Africa presents a clean and penetrating exploration of that country's background, from the earliest recognized human inhabitation of the area to the current, focusing totally on the studies of its black population. For this 3rd version, Leonard Thompson provides new chapters that describe the move of energy and the hot South Africa less than the presidencies of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

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Farmers could and did move easily from community to community throughout southeastern Africa, and those who migrated to a new area rapidly assimilated the local culture. There were, of course, considerable differences within the region, as farmers adapted to distinctive microenvironments. Conditions in the better-watered subtropical lands below the mountain escarpment in what are now KwaZulu, the eastern Transvaal, and southern Mozambique were very different from those in the frontier zone in Botswana, where crop agriculture was rarely possible.

They spend most of the year in poolside camps near the source of the nuts, but for a couple of months during the dry season they move to permanent water holes further from the nut trees, when some of them hike sixteen miles to collect nuts, carrying their water supply with thern.? Another study deals with the modern G/wi people, who live in the Kalahari Desert, where food is scarcer. Kung, but they often split up into smaller family units. Plants form threefifths of their diet, but in the early summer, the period of greatest shortage of plants and large antelopes, the men give up bow-and-arrow hunting and catch smaller game with traplines, making time to help the women with their gathering.

People interacted, cooperating and copulating as well as competing and combatting, exchanging ideas and practices as well as rejecting them. There are still many gaps in our knowledge of the processes that brought pastoralism and arable farming to Southern Africa. One problem concerns the origins of pastoralism. By the late fifteenth century, when the first Portuguese expedition rounded the Cape of Good Hope en route to India, pastoralists lived in much of the western part of Southern Africa, wherever there was enough rainfall for them to pasture their sheep and cattle, especially in the coastal lowlands from the Buffels River southward and the Fish River westward to the well-watered 'Cape peninsula.

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