Southern Africa Pages 377-396

Landforms and Bodies of water.

  1. The region Southern African consists of the 10 southernmost countries on the African continent.
  2. It also includes four independent island countries and two french island territories in the Indian Ocean off Africa's east coast.


  1. If southern Africa's physical geography had to be described with one word, that word would be high.
  2. A series of plateaus that range in elevation from 3,000 feet to 6,000 feet.

Which type of landform is common in Southern Africa? Sahara

Bodies of Water

  1. Three major river systems--the Zambezi, Limpopo,and Orange-- drain most of southern Africa.
  2. The Zambezi, which stretches for 2,200 miles (3,541 km), is the region's longest river.


  1. The climate of West Africa is diverse, from the harsh, arid Sahara in the north to the lush, coastal rain forests in the south.
  2. Nearly all of the region's climates have distinct seasons, with certain seasons receiving most of the rain.

Tropical Zone

  1. The Tropic of Capricorn crosses the middle of Southern Africa.
  2. This places the northern half of the region in the Tropics.

Desert Regions

  1. Western South Africa, western Namibia, and much of Botswana are arid.
  2. Along the coast, the Namib gets very little rain.

South Africa's Resources

  1. The Republic of South Africa has some of the largest mineral reserves in the world.
  2. It is the world's largest producer of platinum, chromium, and gold, and one of the largest producers of diamonds-both gems and industrial diamonds, or diamonds used to make cutting or grinding tools.

Energy Resources:

  1. The Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique mine and burn coal from their own deposits to produce most of their electric power. Mozambique has large deposits of natural gas as well, as does Angola.

Minerals and Other Resources:

  1. Namibia is an important producer of tin, zinc, copper, gold, silver, and uranium. Also, Namibia and Botswana lead the would in supplying diamonds.
  2. Zimbabwe's leading export is gold. Zambia has the largest emerald deposits. Malawi's most notable resource is fertile soil.


  1. Wildebeests, lions, zebras, giraffes, and many other animals are found across the region.
  2. Tourist come from throughout the world to see these animals, however, poaching is a real problem and puts this industry in jeopardy.

History of Southern Africa - Rise of Kingdoms

  1. Southern Africa's indigenous people have inhabited the region for thousands of years, and through them Southern Africa's resources have become an important part of global economy, even surviving the region's colonial history.

Great Zimbabwe:

  1. Around A.D. 900, the Shona people built a wealthy and powerful kingdom that is now Zimbabwe.
  2. Great Zimbabwe was the largest of many similar cities throughout the region. However, Zimbabwe was abandoned in the 1400's from its growing population that had used all its resources. The ruins from the once great city remain.

The Mutapa Empire:

  1. The Mutapa Empire was created through the Shona peoples conquests of desired regions.
  2. The Mutapa Region suffered many conflicts from outsiders coming in and taking over. The empire was conquered in the 1500's by the Portuguese, then again in the late 1600's by the Rozwi Kingdom.

Other Kingdoms:

  1. The Zulu leader Shaka united his people in the early 1800's to form the Zulu Empire, his empire survived until the British destroyed it in 1879 Zulu War.
  2. Also, a series of kingdoms rose and fell on the island of Madagascar from the 1600's to the 1800's.
"I am always watching." ~Lemur

European Colonies

  1. Around 1500, Portugal and other European countries began 'trading post and supply stations' settlements along the African coasts, that later aided Europeans exploitation of Africa's natural resources.

Clashes in South Africa

  1. During the 1600s till about the 1800s, Europeans set up trading posts but did not establish colonies, which are large territories with settlers from the home country

The Union of South Africa

  1. Wars in Europe gave Britain control of the Cape Colony in the early 1800s.

Colonialism in other Areas

  1. While the British's control continued for another eighty years, other European countries were competing over the rest of Africa.

Independence and Equal Rights

  1. Madagascar was the first country to gain Independence in 1960, then Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mauritius and Seychelles gained their Independence from 1964 to 1976. Elsewhere, however, that Independence was harder to come by.

The End of Portuguese Rule

  1. Portugal government refusal to give up its rule over African colonies led to an overthrow of its government from restless military leaders. Fighting continued, however, as rebel groups from each African colony competed for control.

The Birth of Zimbabwe

  1. Zimbabwe did not achieve independence until 1979, at which point the white leaders allowed all the people of the region to finally vote after a harrowing war, this lead to a rebel leader being elected president.

Equal Rights in South Africa

  1. After independence, South Africa's new white government began enacting laws called apartheid, which limited the political rights of black Africans.
  2. These laws caused unrest in the world by 1970, leading to embargo's on South Africa.
  3. In 1933 a new constitution gave South Africans of all races the rights to vote and Mandela became the first president.

Life in Southern Africa-The People of the Region.

  1. The population of Southern Africa is overwhelming black African which is made up of many different ethnic and culture groups.

Population Patterns

  1. Southern Africa's countries vary widely in population.
  2. Fewer than 2 million people live in the small countries of Lesotho and Swaziland.

Ethnic and Culture Groups

  1. Southern Africa is home to many ethnic and cultural groups who speak several different languages.
  2. An important part of Southern Africa's history is that Europeans paid little attention to the indigenous people when dividing the country.
  3. Therefore certain people who spoke the same language and had the same practices were split among different colonies, adding to the division of languages and how they're spread out.

Religion and Languages

  1. Southern Africa's colonial past has influenced its people religious beliefs, in almost every country the people are Christians.
  2. However, in some places, like Angola, partial population still hold onto traditional indigenous beliefs, so the religions and languages are quite mixed.

Life in Southern Africa

  1. Many rural people continue to follow traditional ways of life, however urban and economic growth are challenging and changing many of the traditional ways.

Urban life

  1. Most people live in countryside, however migration to cities grows because of job opportunities.

Urban Growth and Change

  1. The rapid growth of some cities, like Johannesburg and Luanda, has strained public utilities-services such as trash collection, sewage treatment, and water distribution, this can lead to outbreaks of cholera and other diseases from drinking polluted water.
  2. The region's cities ethnic groups and cultures are so mixed that the "downtown" of a city could be very impressive, dispersing into the white residential living areas, fading off into "townships" at the city's edge-where there is often no sewage, clean water, or electricity.
  3. In fact, Johannesburg's role in mining, manufacturing, and financial center has drawn people from all over the world, resulting in 12 spoken languages heard in the streets.

Family and Traditional life

  1. People who move to cities adjust to new experiences and a different way of life, because in the countryside, traditional ways of life remain strong.
  2. The trend of men leaving for city jobs to provide for their family, who stay behind in the villages, has resulted in many women taking on "traditional" husband duties like herding and leadership roles.

Southern Africa Today

  1. southern Africa's wealth of mineral, wildlife, and other resources may be the key to its future.

Health Issues

  1. In the majority of countries, most people do not live beyond age 50 to 55.


  1. Malaria, a tropical disease carried by mosquitoes, is a problem in several countries.
  2. Dysentery and cholera, potentially fatal diseases caused by bacteria in water, are also widespread.
  3. Malnutrition is a cause of death for many infants and young children.

Progress and Growth

  1. Angola and Mozambique continue to rebuild the cities and towns, industries, railroads, and communications systems that have been damaged or destroyed by years of civil war.
  2. Oil exports in Angola and aluminum exports in Mozambique help finance this effort.

Help From Other Countries

  1. The United States has used economic aid to strengthen democracy in Southern Africa.
  2. Other countries and international organizations have also made huge investments in the region.


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