The earliest people in this medical tourism hub were the Khoisan tribes, who were descended from two separate groups of pastoral and hunting Bushmen.¬† Later, the Bantu people began their migration to southern African from the west and east coasts of the continent about 2,500 years ago.¬† The Khoisan and Bantu civilizations lived peacefully for many hundreds of years.¬† Over these periods of time, they began and continued a process of intermingling, and evidence of this can be seen in rock paintings from that period.
The first Europeans to set foot here were the Portuguese, although they were more interested in colonizing neighboring Mozambique with its gold ores than the coast of South Africa with its rocky shoreline.¬† In the 16th century, British and Dutch trading ships began to make frequent stopovers at the coast.¬† Soon after, the Dutch East India Company (VOA) came up with the idea of establishing a small settlement where Dutch ships could stop and replenish their supplies before heading on to the Far East. ¬†The first group of VOA ships set forth and landed here on April 06, 1652.¬†
Initially, the settlement tried to establish trade relations with the local Khoisan people, but these attempts weren‚Äôt too successful. ¬†The Dutch then decided to look into the establishment of farming communities themselves, by releasing some of the laborers who had arrived with them from their contract and encouraging them to set up farms. ¬†Soon, the farming communities were producing enough produce and livestock to meet the needs of the new outpost.
The Dutch began to import laborers from Indonesia and Madagascar to work on the farms and began a process of occupying lands that belonged to the Khoisan people who had farmed there for centuries. ¬†The Khoisan were soon annihilated, and the few that were left were absorbed into the Dutch labor force.¬† These indigenous Africans mingled with the European colonizers and imported laborers, creating a new race of people known today as the "Coloreds" (to be distinguished from "Blacks" which referred to those of Black African descent).
In 1816, after a couple of failed attempts, the British occupied the Cape. ¬†By this time, the power in the country was controlled by an elite group of White men, while the interior was dominated by Black Africans and Boers (White Dutch farmers).¬† By 1885, the British had given the country full internal autonomy.
In 1909, the Union of South Africa was formed, and the ruling power was the South Africa National Party.¬† Blacks were given no rights to become members of the new parliament despite constituting about 75% of the population.¬† Worse was to come. The government passed a number of draconian laws that reserved skilled occupations for whites, limited the rights of black labor to protest, and restricted black occupancy to just 8% of the total land. ¬†Blacks began to be pushed into overpopulated ghettos.¬†
In 1932, the African National Congress was formed. ¬†It consisted of tribal representatives who came together to promote black interests.¬† In the following decades, South Africa would face international censure and isolation for its continuing policy of segregation of the races.
In 1990, after decades of struggle, the South African government lifted restrictions on several opposition groups, and freed political activist and leader Nelson Mandela after a prison sentence of 27 years.¬† Following negotiations, the country‚Äôs first democratic elections were held in April 1994, and the ANC won by a landslide.
Democratic South Africa has made what some call a ‚Äúmiraculous‚ÄĚ transformation from an insolated outpost of discrimination and prejudice to a vibrant and thriving democracy.¬† The years since the end of apartheid saw Mandela reaching out to the minority white community, overseeing the drafting of a new constitution, and making attempts to heal the wounds of the past. ¬†Today, the country is a model African power and a prominent medical tourism hub in the legion.¬† Its world class medical facilities, combined with a gorgeous coastline, sunny weather, and an incredible variety of wildlife, have transformed this country, making it one of the premier tourism destinations in the world.¬†¬†
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