1. Introduction to South Africa
2a) What questions would you like to ask about it?
2b)How does the photo compare to your ideas about Africa?
The photo is differs from my first impressions of Africa. I thought the continent wasn’t very developed and was mostly jungles and savannahs, however this photo shows that parts of Africa are very developed. The tall, majestic buildings are a symbol of Africa’s wealth and rapid development.
3a) In what ways were Cosmas Desmond’s ideas similar to or different from your ideas about Africa?
Similar, because my first impressions of Africa were also big forests and animals roaming around freely, not developed buildings. Cosmas Desmond expected “to hear lions roaring around the airport and then to hack my way through the jungle to my mission station”. While I didn’t feel nature was going to be present in Africa to such a great extent, the continent is more developed than I expected.
3b) What do you think he meant when he said that “the jungle was concrete and…the heathen were white”?
When he said “the jungle was concrete”, I believe he was saying that it was actually quite developed and instead of lots of trees, it was a “concrete jungle” or many buildings. In addition, I think the “heathen were white” means that there were many Caucasians in South Africa, which he didn’t expect.
4c) Would it be more accurate to call South Africa an LEDC or an MEDC? Give reasons for your answer
While South Africa is neither an LEDC or an MEDC and is actually an “emerging economy”, which is to say it is transitioning between the two, according to the statistics provided it is more accurate to call it an MEDC. Aside from the birth rate, GNP per capita, and urban population % (which are slightly higher than in MEDCs proving it has not yet completed the transition), the rest of the statistics are similar to MEDCs, indicating the government is able to provide education to a majority of the population (high adult literacy%) and able to provide good health care to their citizens (death rate and life expectancy).
2. Physical Geography of South Africa
1a) Locate the cities on the map where each flight took off and landed. Name the cities.
Flight #1:Flight took off in Johannesburg and landed in Durban
Flight #2:Flight took off in Durban and landed in Cape Town
1b) For each flight locate the features mentioned in the diary extracts. Name the features.
Flight #1:Grassland, river, hills, valleys, mountain peaks, coastal plain
Flight #2:Coastline, forest, mountains, fields, and Table Mountain
3a) Describe the vegetation in each photo.
The vegetation in photo B seems more controlled, like people have managed it. This type of vegetation is found on hills and near settlements. However, the vegetation in photo D seems more unrestrained. In addition, this type of vegetation is found near rivers and on more flat land.
3b) Suggest in which part of the country you would be likely to find each type of vegetation.
Vegetation in photo B:I think you would be more likely to find it in the north part of the country and the interior as these sections are raised.
Vegetation in photo D:I think you would be more likely to find it along the Vaal and Orange rivers, as well as the coastal regions, which are relatively low.
4a) Describe the differences in temperature between January and July in South Africa.
In January the temperature is 16~14 degrees Celsius along the coast, and over 24 degrees. In July the temperature along the coast was only 8 to 16 degrees Celsius and the temperature inland was less than 8 degrees.
4b) How do you explain these differences?
This change in climate is due to the winds and ocean currents. During the summer (January), the winds blow the warm tropical air onto the land, making temperatures increase, whereas in winter winds blow the air away from land, so temperatures decrease.
3. Human Geography of South Africa
1a) Describe the population distribution in South Africa
The population is most densely concentrated along the coast, and the majority of people live in the east part of the country. The population density is above 100 people/km2in the center of the biggest cities like Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, etc. It is slightly less concentrated (51-100 people/km2) in the lesser important cities, and the surrounding areas of the most important cities. Further away from the important cities it is more sparsely populated (6-50 people/km2), and in the immediate surrounding areas of the less important cities.
1b) Use map E to help you explain this distribution.
Along the northeast coast, the country is rich in natural resources such as iron, manganese, gold, coal, fertile farmland, and more. Most of the country’s resources are located in this section of the country. Fertile farmland, diamonds, and copper are all located along the west coast of the country.
2a) Estimate the proportion of each ethnic group is South Africa’s population.
Black – 75%
White – 10%
Colored – 10%
Indian – 4%
Other – 1%
2b) i) Compare population growth rate for each group in boxes B, C, G, and H.
The white population has the lowest population growth rate (1.2%), while the Indian population and colored population grow at higher rates (1.9% each). The black population has the fastest growth rate of 2.7%.
ii) Suggest how the composition of the population is likely to change in future.
I feel that in the future as the government improves the living standards of the black population (through offering more employment opportunities), they will choose to have less children. By raising the employment rate, the quality and access to health care should increase and so less children should be born, slowing population growth.
3b) Write four sentences comparing the quality of life for different groups of people in South Africa.
The white population has the best quality of life with the highest life expectancy, highest adult literacy rate, and more, which explains its low population growth. Following the whites, the Indian population has the next best quality of life, with a fairly high life expectance, literacy rate, employment rate, and more, all of which contribute to its relatively low growth rate. The group with the third best quality of life is the colored population, which has a fairly low life expectancy and unemployment rate. Lastly, the black population has the lowest quality life as the statistics like life expectancy, adult literacy rate, unemployment rate (more than 1/3 of the population), population growth rate show.
1a) Estimate the proportion of South Africa that was occupied by “homelands” for black people. What proportion of South Africa was owned by white people?
I estimate that 1/3 of South Africa was occupied by “homelands” for black people, and the remaining 2/3 was owned by white people.
1b) Compare this with the proportions of black people and white people in the population (pg 116)? How does this how the injustice of apartheid?
There were 4.9 million white people in 1998 and they made up about 11% of the population, however there were 34.5 million black people that year and they made up about 77% of the population. These statistics support the injustice of the apartheid as 77% of the population was forced to live in only 1/3 of its space, whereas the few white million people owned 2/3 of the country’s land.
2a) Trace every detail of map A onto tracing paper and place it over map E on page 117
See folder for the map
2b) Find out what resources could be found in the black areas and white areas of south Africa. Which cities were in each area?
In black areas very few natural resources could be found. These “homelands” had a little fertile farmland and small copper, platinum, asbestos and iron . In comparison, the whites owned large amounts of fertile farmland, and took over the majority of the country’s natural resources . They were in charge of South Africa’s gold, coal, diamonds, iron, manganese, copper, asbestos, platinum, and uranium.
Only 2 major cities, East London, and Durban were located in the homelands. Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town were all located in regions where whites lived.
2c) What does this tell you about the way the country was divided? How would it affect the quality of life for black and white people?
This division indicates that the country was segregated based on availability of resources. The black population was forced to live in areas where resources were scarce. This means that they had a significantly lower quality of life as they were unable to really develop their agriculture and industry, thus they remained relatively poor. There wouldn’t be enough jobs for people and the youth would be unable to receive a good education. The infrastructure in these regions would have been of quite poor quality and people’s living standards would be inferior in comparison to whites. The white population would have been relatively wealthy as they lived in areas that were rich in resources. These regions would have been able to develop their agriculture and industry, and the people living there would have been employed. A higher GDP would mean the youth could receive a good education and the infrastructure of the area would be of a greater standard. Overall, their living standards were superior to that of the blacks.
4a) Suggest what laws the new government in South Africa would have to change to make the country fairer.
The government would have to abolish laws that forced blacks to move to the “homelands” and redistribute the land fairly to all ethnic groups (based on population and other factors). In addition they should stop segregation because it breeds hatred and makes the country inefficient. Another law it should implement is one aimed at improving healthcare and housing for the black people to raise their living standard, as this ethnic group has the lowest quality of life in South Africa.
4b) Suggest five priorities for future development in South Africa to overcome the problems created by apartheid.
1) Greater investment in the education of the black population
2) Getting rid of separate facilities for blacks and whites
3) Improving housing and healthcare, with a focus on the ‘homelands’
4) Providing incentives for large companies and foreign countries to trade with South Africa
5) Ensuring that the country’s wealth and land was shared fairly between the different ethnic groups
5. Can the city be united?
1a) Which person has a lifestyle most like your own? In what ways is it similar? In what ways is it different?
Paulo de Almeida’s lifestyle is most like my own. Our lifestyles are quite similar as we both own fairly large homes, though his is a four bedroom house and mine is a three bedroom. In addition, we both do sport at school, and both of our families own at least one car. Lastly, we both have domestic help, for us its an ayi, while Paulo has a housemaid and gardener. However, there are some differences in our lifestyles. For starters, Paulo lives in the suburbs of Johannesburg, whereas I live in the heart of Beijing. Furthermore, he lives in a house, while I live in a flat. Moreover, my mother is as worried about crime in Beijing, so I’m allowed to catch a taxi or ride the subway alone.
1b) Is the lifestyle of the other person similar to yours in any way?
The lifestyle of Nomoya Khambule still shares some similarities with my life. We both chose to live in a place that was close to our school. In addition, in the place we live taxis are a main form of transport, though in my case they are not the cheapest way to travel around the city.
2a) Find the location of the two teenager’s homes. Describe the distribution of mainly white and mainly black residential areas on the map.
On the map, we can see that most of the white residential areas are scattered on the south east part of the map. They are small dots on he map in comparison with the black residential areas like Soweto which make up the majority of the south east section of the map.
3a) Describe the density and the pattern of housing in the two areas. How do they compare with the area where you live?
Jabavu is an area with high density housing as can be seen by the houses packed one after the other. The housing is very orderly, with houses in straight rows. However, Linden is an area with low density housing as each house is given lots of surrounding space. Furthermore, the housing seems more random as the houses aren’t in orderly rows.
3b) From the photos, draw a simple sketch map of each area to show differences in the housing pattern and density.
I was unsure about how to do this but I tried and the results can be seen in my folder.
4a) Describe your weekly routine.
Early Monday morning I ride a taxi (minibus) from Soweto to a suburb of Johannesburg where I work. I live and work in this home till Friday evening, where I ride a taxi (minibus) back to Soweto and reunite with my family.
4b) Describe the contrasts between the two different worlds you live in.
The contrasts between my true home and my work place are truly shocking. The greatest difference is in housing. In Soweto, a fortunate family would be able to afford a single story house with 3 bedrooms, but in the suburbs, the family I work for has a 4 bedroom house and garden, yet there are only 3 people in the family. Another big difference is the transportation. Here in Soweto, we tend to use taxis to get around, but in the suburbs everyone owns cars.
4c) What are your feelings about all of this?
Honestly, it’s quite crazy being a part of both worlds. I’m exposed to the lives of the rich when I go to work, but it only brings out the unfairness of the poorer living standards of black South Africans. Seeing the luxuries that my employers can easily afford, while our family struggles to pay for essentials like housing and education, makes me rather upset. It just seems so unjust that they could have so much wealth and us so little. The gap between the rich and the poor of South Africa needs to be closed for the city to develop properly.
6. Education for the future
1a) What do photos D and F show about the quality of education in the two schools?
These photos show the contrast between the quality of education provided for a black person like Nomoya and a white person like Paulo. In Nomaya’s school, the facilities are inferior as students have to share desks and the classrooms are smaller, but have more students. This means the teacher is not able to support the individual as much as in a white school. As the photo shows, the students in the white school get their own desks, which are spread out more in the spacious room. Also, there are less students, which means the teacher can pay more attention to each one.
1b) From your own experience of school, what factors affect the quality of education? Think of at least 10 and list them in order of importance.
Attitudes of your peers
How well-established the school is
Duration of the school day
Frequency of school holidays
1c) Explain why you put your top three in this position.
I placed teacher’s qualifications as the most important factor as they are ultimately the people responsible for educating the students. Without qualified teachers a school cannot properly educate students as the teachers will not be capable to teach the students. As teachers have the most direct impact on the quality of a student’s education, I listed them as the top factor.
School facilities do not just include the furniture in the school, but also the supplies available. In my opinion, this has a great impact on the quality of education a student receives because without proper textbooks and other supplies, the education a student can receive is rather limited.
The size of your school can also determine the quality of education you receive. This is because if the school is too big and the facilities cannot adequately support the number of students, then they will receive a lower quality of education.
2a) Write five sentences to compare the educational experience of black pupils and white pupils in South Africa.
Even today, there is a great division between the educational experience of black and white pupils in South Africa. Black students are more likely to be taught in school with poor facilities such as limited space. In addition, there are usually many more students per class in those schools. White students are usually wealthier and can afford to go to private schools where they receive a better education. Overall, white students tend to stay in school far longer than blacks with two times the number of white people getting a college degree.
b) Explain how education would affect:
i) the adult literacy rate
As we can see from the 1998 statistics, education has a great impact on the adult literacy rate of a population. For black South Africans, who spend an average of 5.5 years in school, the adult literacy rate was 76.6%. In comparison, white South Africans who spent an average of 11.7 years in school (almost double of black South Africans), had a much higher literacy rate of 99.5%. The statistics also show that less white South Africans left school and more ended up with university degrees. As they are educated longer, they are able to read and write with higher proficiency (and usually this knowledge is passed down to their children). Hence, when a population receives more education, the adult literacy rate rises.
ii) the unemployment rate for each group
Looking again at the statistics, it is clear that the more education a population receives, the lower their unemployment rate. Education prepares people for jobs, and makes them capable of fulfilling tasks essential to the community. Among the white South African population, whom spend an average of 11.7 years in school, the unemployment rate is only 5.5%. In comparison, the black South African population spends an average of 5.5 years in school and their unemployment rate is 37%.
2c) Do you agree that education will be “the most important factor in South Africa’s future development”? Give reasons for your answer.
In my opinion, education will be “the most important factor in South Africa’s future development” because without improving the quality of education for the black population, South Africa will not be able to develop to its maximum potential. People need to be educated so that they are fully capable in their jobs. In addition, it is also proven that more education means a decreased birth rate, which is important to ensuring that South Africa does not become overpopulated. Overall, education will ensure that people are able to make meaningful contributions to society and will not lead to problems like overpopulation, hence it is the critical factor in South Africa’s future development.
3a) Describe the effect that crime has on people living in Johannesburg.
The high rates of crime in Johannesburg have a great impact on the people living in the region. People are forced to expend more than 10% of their income on security measures. This is a large portion of their salary, which means that they have less for other things like education, food, and so forth. In addition, more people are being forced to go to the suburbs to reach their working place. As the businesses have relocated, people have to travel longer distances and this drives up transportation costs.
3b) From what you already know about the city, suggest why the crime rate is so high.
I feel that the crime rate is so high because of the gap between the rich and the poor and the high unemployment rates. Firstly, there is a great difference between the wealthiest citizens of South Africa and the poorest, and this may result in the poor stealing from the rich. However, it is more likely that the high unemployment rates are the reason behind the high crime rates. When people are unemployed, they tend to resort to crime to earn an income and I believe this is what the unemployed people of Johannesburg (especially the blacks) are being forced to do.
7. South Africa – the world in one country?
1) Look at cartoon A. Explain what you think the cartoon is trying to say.
I think the cartoon is trying to say that though the apartheid system has been abolished, blacks still have the inferior jobs and still have to serve whites. We see a black man offering food and drinks to two Caucasians, and in the background a black man is mowing a lawn. The cartoon is trying to say that black men still perform the more menial tasks in South Africa’s society, even in the “new” South Africa.
2a) What does the UN Human Development Index measure?
The UN Human Development Index measures how developed a country is by looking at statistics such as life expectancy, adult literacy rate, wealth, and more.
2b) Where does South Africa rank among other countries? Does this surprise you? Why?
South Africa is still in a medium level development, as its HDI is 0.677. In comparison with the other countries on the list it is the 7th most developed and this doesn’t surprise me. While overall, South Africa is one of the richest African countries, as the living conditions for black South Africans show, the country still has to develop before it reaches the level of an MEDC. Hence, I was not surprised because I’m aware that the living standards of some racial groups has to improve before the whole country can reach a high level of development.
2c) Which South African provinces rank above the national average? Which fall below?
Western Cape (0.826), Gauteng (0.820), Northern Cape (0.698), and Mpumalanga (0.694), are the four South African provinces that rank above the national average. In comparison, Free State (0.657), KwaZulu Natal (0.602), North West (0.543), Eastern Cape (0.507), and Northern Province (0.470), are the five South African provinces that rank below the national average.
2d) Compare the rank order in this table with the order that you found in activity 2 on page 121. Was it similar? Why?
We didn’t do this activity, however one would assume that the results are similar because similar criteria such as life expectancy and the literacy rate are being used to judge the different provinces.
3a) Each person should study the data under one of the headings in boxes C and D. What are the similarities? Are there any differences? Write a paragraph to compare the data for South Africa and the whole world.
There are many similarities between the statistics for South Africa and the whole world. In terms of population, the population break down of South Africa and the world is quite similar. In South Africa 13% of the population is white and in the world about 19% of the population lives in MEDCs. Furthermore the population growth rate of the two main population groups is also rather similar. The South African white population grew by 0.8%, while the MEDC population grew by 0.4%. The numbers are also very close with the non-white and LEDC group. In addition, the health statistics are extremely close with the black South Africans only living for one year less than the average people in an LEDC. Furthermore, the life expectancy for the average white South African is the same as the expectancy for a person in an MEDC. Also, both South Africa and the world had only a little land for the native people of the region.
3b) What are different ways in which the information under the different headings can be linked?
Health and population
Map and wealth
History and map
Health and wealth
4) Discuss the statement, “South Africa is a microcosm of the world.” To what extent do you think the statement is true or false?
I believe that this statement is most definitely true as people of a variety of backgrounds and all walks of life can be found in South Africa. From Caucasians, to blacks, to Asians, all the major racial groups are present. The standard of living for these different groups is truly representative of those of the world. Not only is the human landscape of the country diverse, so is the physical landscape. From mountains to plains to coastal beaches, South Africa has it all. In addition, upon comparing statistics for health, population growth, population breakdown, wealth, and history, we can see that South Africa symbolizes the world. sFor these reasons I would most definitely say that the statement above is true, and South Africa is to a very large extent a “microcosm of the world”.