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—In the Third Chapter of my series “South Africa: Who stole the Land?“, we show how the Great Fish River was established as the line between Black and White in South Africa. Click on the map below to enlarge. We provide the evidence from the books and letters of the time.

The Nguni group of nations, spearheaded by the amaXhosa, was expanding down the east coast of the country. The white people were moving east through the drier semi-desert interior between the two mountain ranges. The eastern half of the south coast was well-nigh impassable, with deep crevasses and enormous forests. That coast today sports the world’s highest man-made bungee jump into one of those crevasses.

The Black folks from the east were nearing the limit of the 350mm summer rainfall line, which limits the ideal cattle herding region, being longer grass. They also grew millet and other agricultural items on a subsistence basis and mostly still do in that region, though they have since added corn and other items. Their very existence was predicated on their cattle herds, because they largely lived from milk and milk-derived foodstuffs.

The West Cape had meanwhile established itself as a superb place for fruit and wheat, largely a winter/spring rain crop with greater drought resistance. The climate of the West Cape is Winter Rainfall Mediterranean that arrives on violent Westerly gales. It is almost completely dry in Summer.

One look at the geography of the country immediately reveals how the continuous chains of rugged mountain ranges practically propelled the two drastically different civilizations headlong into each other. They met at the Great Fish River.

In later chapters we discuss the movement of the Ba’Tswana and Ba’Sotho, as well as the Vha’Venda. The country’s latest president is of Venda descent.

For the complete story, see South Africa: Who stole the Land?

— Harry Booyens

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