Meaning of SOUTHERN AFRICA, HISTORY OF in English
- SOUTHERN AFRICA, HISTORY OF
history of the area from prehistoric times to the present. The history of southern Africa cannot be written as a single narrative. Shifting geographic and political boundaries and changing historiographical perspectives render this impossible. Research into local history in the last decades of the 20th century fragmented historical knowledge, and older generalizations gave way to a complex polyphony of voices, as new subfields of historyof gender and sexuality, health, and the environment to name but a fewdeveloped. Archaeological and historical inquiry has been extremely uneven in the different countries of the southern African subcontinent, with Namibia the least and South Africa the most intensely studied. Divided societies produce divided histories, and there is hardly an episode in the region's history that is not now open to debate. This is as true of prehistory as of the more recent past. The uncertainties of evidence for the long preliterate pastwhere a bone or potsherd can undermine previous interpretations, and where recent research has subverted even terminologyare matched by conflicting representations of the colonial and postcolonial periods. In southern Africa, history is not a set of neutrally observed and agreed-upon facts: present concerns colour interpretations of even the remote past. For all the contestants in contemporary southern Africa there has been a conscious struggle to control the past in order to legitimate the present and lay claim to the future. Who is telling what history for which Africa is a question that needs constantly to be addressed. Additional reading General works J.D. Fage and Roland Oliver, The Cambridge History of Africa, 8 vol. (197586), has long chapters on southern Africa by leading authorities and places southern Africa in the context of African history; a more condensed attempt is provided by Philip Curtin et al., African History (1978). Unesco International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa, General History of Africa, 8 vol. (198193), is an international collaborative effort that locates African people and their experience at the centre and portrays African contact with Middle Eastern, Asian, and Euro-American people in the larger context of African history. Neil Parsons, A New History of Southern Africa, 2nd ed. (1993), is an introductory text dealing with the region as a whole. David Birmingham and Phyllis Martin (eds.), History of Central Africa, 2 vol. (1983), contains essays on topics in central and southern African history. A.J. Wills, An Introduction to the History of Central Africa: Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, 4th ed. (1985), is still a useful guide to British south-central Africa. Leroy Vail and Landeg White, Power and the Praise Poem: Southern African Voices in History (1991), signals a major turning point in the interpretation of southern Africa's past by insisting on the centrality of African interpretations through poetry, performance, and other oral expressions. Current research can be found in such specialist journals as Journal of African History (3/yr); Journal of Southern African Studies (quarterly); and African Affairs (quarterly). Southern Africa to 1800 D.W. Phillipson, African Archaeology, 2nd ed. (1993), is an introductory text with coverage ranging from prehistoric times to European contact. Overviews of early societies are found in R.R. Inskeep, The Peopling of Southern Africa (1978); and D.W. Phillipson, The Later Prehistory of Eastern and Southern Africa (1977), which both deal with the Late Stone Age and the Iron Age; and Peter S. Garlake, The Kingdoms of Africa (1978, reissued 1990), an excellent introduction to the Iron Age in southern Africa, and Great Zimbabwe (1973). Graham Connah, African Civilizations: Precolonial Cities and States in Tropical Africa: An Archaeological Perspective (1987), discusses the period of Great Zimbabwe's influence (c. 12501450) and Bantu occupation of east coast areas from the end of the 1st millennium AD. Martin Hall, The Changing Past: Farmers, Kings, and Traders in Southern Africa, 2001860 (1987; also published as Farmers, Kings, and Traders, 1990), offers an overview of southern African history and archaeology, starting with the first settlement of the subcontinent. Portuguese ventures in west-central and east-central Africa are chronicled in Edward A. Alpers, Ivory and Slaves (also published as Ivory & Slaves in East Central Africa, 1975); David Birmingham, Trade and Conflict in Angola: The Mbundu and Their Neighbours Under the Influence of the Portuguese, 14831790 (1966); Joseph C. Miller, Kings and Kinsmen: Early Mbundu States in Angola (1976); C.R. Boxer, Race Relations in the Portuguese Colonial Empire, 14151825 (1963, reprinted 1985); Jan Vansina, Kingdoms of the Savanna (1966); and Phyllis M. Martin, The External Trade of the Loango Coast, 15761870 (1972). Southern Africa, 1800c. 1900 Donald Denoon and Balam Nyeko, Southern Africa Since 1800, new ed. (1984), is a good overview. The Mfecane and its effects are analyzed in J.D. Omer-Cooper, The Zulu Aftermath (1966, reissued 1978), the standard account covering southern, central, and eastern Africa, the findings of which have been modified by detailed regional research. A stimulating account of the colonial period can be found in Martin Chanock, Law, Custom, and Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia (1985). British policy and the expansion of European settlement south of the Limpopo River is addressed in John S. Galbraith, Reluctant Empire: British Policy on the South African Frontier, 18341854 (1963, reprinted 1978); and David Welsh, The Roots of Segregation: Native Policy in Colonial Natal, 18451910 (1971). Attempts to look at the African side in this period include Robert Ross, Adam Kok's Griquas: A Study in the Development of Stratification in South Africa (1976); and Norman Etherington, Preachers, Peasants, and Politics in Southeast Africa, 183580: African Christian Communities in Natal, Pondoland, and Zululand (1978). The era of mineral discoveries and the scramble for southern Africa are the subject of C.W. De Kiewiet, The Imperial Factor in South Africa (1937, reissued 1966); applicable chapters in Ronald Robinson, John Gallagher, and Alice Denny, Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism, 2nd ed. (1981); D.M. Schreuder, The Scramble for Southern Africa, 18771895 (1980), a synthesis of the subject; J.S. Marais, The Fall of Kruger's Republic (1961); and Donald Denoon, A Grand Illusion: The Failure of Imperial Policy in the Transvaal Colony During the Period of Reconstruction, 19001905 (1973). A critique of the literature on British policy in South Africa can be found in Anthony Atmore and Shula Marks, The Imperial Factor in South Africa: Towards a Reassessment, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (October 1974). The scramble in central Africa and the establishment of colonial society are dealt with in John S. Galbraith, Crown and Charter: The Early Years of the British South Africa Company (1974); and Ian Phimister, Rhodes, Rhodesia, and the Rand, Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 1, no. 1 (1974), a radical reinterpretation of the connections. Events in Angola and Mozambique are outlined in Malyn Newitt, Portugal in Africa: The Last Hundred Years (1981), a lucid overview with a synopsis of the earlier period of Portuguese rule; and Gervase Clarence-Smith, The Third Portuguese Empire, 18251975 (1985), an overview from an economic perspective. German activity in South West Africa is discussed in Prosser Gifford, W.M. Roger Louis, and Alison Smith (eds.), Britain and Germany in Africa (1967); and Horst Drechsler, Let Us Die Fighting: The Struggle of the Herero and Nama Against German Imperialism (18841915) (1980; originally published in German, 1966). Southern Africa, c. 1900 to the present Martin Chanock, Britain, Rhodesia, and South Africa, 190045 (also published as Unconsummated Union, 1977), contains a masterly account of interregional politics. Coverage of more recent events from differing viewpoints can be found in Basil Davidson, Joe Slovo, and Anthony Wilkinson, Southern Africa: The New Politics of Revolution (1976), on the struggle in the Portuguese colonies, South Africa, and Rhodesia following the Portuguese coup of 1974. Coverage of various countries during this period is found in Lord Hailey (William Malcolm Hailey, Baron Hailey), Native Administration in the British African Territories, 5 vol. (195053, reprinted 5 vol. in 3, 1979), and The Republic of South Africa and the High Commission Territories (1963, reprinted 1982); Richard Gray, The Two Nations: Aspects of the Development of Race Relations in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland (1960, reprinted 1974); Robert I. Rotberg, The Rise of Nationalism in Central Africa: The Making of Malawi and Zambia, 18731964 (1965); Charles Perrings, Black Mineworkers in Central Africa: Industrial Strategies and the Evolution of an African Proletariat in the Copperbelt, 191141 (1979); and Patrick Keatley, The Politics of Partnership (1963), on Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Shula E. Marks The South African War If the Nama-Herero wars were among the most savage in colonial Africa, Britain fought an equally bitter, costly colonial war against the Afrikaner South African Republic. The reasons for the South African (or Anglo-Boer) War (18991902) remain controversial; some historians portray it in personal terms, the result of clashes between the president of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger, and the representatives of British imperialism, Rhodes and the high commissioner, Sir Alfred Milner; some argue that the British feared that the regional dominance of the South African Republic would open the way for German intervention in the subcontinent and endanger the sea route to India; others believe that the struggle was for supremacy over the richest gold mines in the world and the need to establish a state in the Transvaal that would fulfill the demands of the deep-level mine owners. Even before the war, the South African Republic's inability to create and coerce a labour force was irksome to the deep-level mine owners, with their huge demand for labour and tight working costs. The liquor, railway, and dynamite policies of the South African Republic also angered the mine owners. Making use of a largely fomented clamour of British immigrants over their lack of voting rights, and secretly backed by the British colonial secretary Joseph Chamberlain, Rhodes plotted the armed overthrow of the republic by his lieutenant Leander Starr Jameson. The Jameson Raid in December 1895 was a complete fiasco. There was no internal uprising, and the raiders were soon arrested. Rhodes was forced to resign from the premiership of the Cape Colony, and the alliance he had carefully constructed between English and Afrikaners in the Cape was destroyed. Previously loyal to the empire, Cape Afrikaners now backed Kruger against the British, as did their fellows in the Orange Free State. Nascent pan-South African Afrikaner nationalism was greatly spurred. Milner's determination to assert British supremacy exacerbated matters, and in 1899 a rearmed South African Republic issued an ultimatum to the British that amounted to a declaration of war. Over the next three and a half years, nearly 500,000 British troops were deployed against an Afrikaner force of 60,000 to 65,000, at great cost to the British taxpayers. Some 6,000 British soldiers died in action and another 16,000 of infectious diseases. The Afrikaners lost some 14,000 in action and 26,000 in so-called concentration camps. The camps powerfully inflamed 20th-century Afrikaner nationalism. The total number of African dead is unrecorded; according to low official estimates more than 13,000 died in the camps. In the end, Britain's greater resources wore the Afrikaners down, and their leaders were forced to sue for peace, which was signed on May 3l, 1902. Even before the war ended, Milner had begun to reconstruct the vanquished Afrikaner republics; the most serious grievances of the mine magnates were removed, and an efficient bureaucracy was established. The smooth functioning of the mining industry was crucial both politically and economically. An acute shortage of unskilled African labour was resolved by the importation of 60,000 Chinese, despite the bitter opposition of white workers, and ambitious schemes were hatched to reduce the cost of both black and white labour. Africans were effectively disarmed and systematically taxed for the first time, and the pass laws were made more efficient. These changes also benefited white farmers, who were assisted in a variety of ways by the state. By 190607 the British were sufficiently confident of the new order they had established to grant self-governing institutions to male whites in the conquered territories, and in 1910 under the South Africa Act passed by the British parliament in 1909 the four South African colonies of Transvaal, Natal, Orange Free State, and the Cape were unified as provinces of the Union of South Africa. Although much British propaganda before and during the South African War had been concerned with the political rights of British subjects, regardless of colour, outside the Cape province blacks remained excluded from citizenship. Southern Africa, 191045 The nature of colonial rule By the beginning of the 20th century the subcontinent was under European rule, and its disparate societies were increasingly meshed into a single political economy. The annexation of African territories meant the establishment of new states, and colonial rule was given perceptible effect by policemen and soldiers, administrators, tax collectors, traders, prospectors, and labour recruiters. Railroads connected the coast with the interior, opening up new markets and releasing new sources of labour. New boundaries were drawn that lasted beyond the colonial period, and the Zambezi became the frontier between the settler south and the tropical dependencies of East and Central Africa, although Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) occupied a middle ground. The exploitation of minerals, the capitalization of settler agriculture, and the establishment of manufacturing industries drew Africans into the world economy as workers and peasants, transforming class structures and political alignments and shifting the division of labour between men and women. Previously male occupations, such as hunting and warfare, declined. Indigenous production of nonagricultural commodities from cotton to iron suffered from the competition of cheap, mass-produced imports. The costs of colonialism were unequally distributed. In the areas of white colonization, the BSAC and the colonial powers supported the settlers. Elsewhere African ruling elites were able to strike compromises with their new overlords. On the reserves and protectorates of southern Africa, chiefs and hereditary headmen still controlled their following, although their authority was eroded as they became appointees of the colonial authorities. Again the process varied from area to area. Whereas colonial authorities initially attempted to destroy the overarching powers of the African kings and paramounts, who had led the military resistance to colonialism and symbolized the cohesion of their people, the role of intermediate chiefs in providing a cheap administrative infrastructure was soon recognized. Some blacks and whites, particularly those who had been educated or had prior experience, were able to take advantage of economic opportunities developing in new towns and markets. Yet for the growing numbers of mission-educated Africans and Coloured and for Indian communities in southern Africa, the period was probably one of regression rather than advance. European racist ideology replaced an older tradition in the Cape of social dominance through economic control. Strident settler demands for urban segregation classified even wealthy Indian merchants as uncivilized natives. Indian immigration into all the South African colonies was restricted, and in Natal a number of anti-Indian discriminatory measures followed the grant of responsible government in 1893. In the Cape, institutions became increasingly segregated. While the establishment of new colonial states contributed to the creation of new forms of national consciousness, black hopes of inclusion in the wider society were dashed by the South Africa Act of 1909 and by the establishment of settler-only representative institutions elsewhere. White racism, though still embryonic outside South Africa, fueled African nationalism throughout the region. Many Afrikaners also experienced a period of rapid change. In 1886 the South African Republic was still a preindustrial state controlled by a livestock-owning elite; by 1910 it was dominated by mining capital and formed the hub of the industrializing subcontinent. The injection of international capital, inflated land prices, the South African War, and imperial social engineering transformed Afrikaner society as painfully and perhaps more completely than African society. For Afrikaners, too, there were winners and losers. Racially discriminatory policies were prompted by settlers' fears of competition from blacks and the growth of black class consciousness; they were given an intellectual underpinning by anthropologists and administrators fearful of rapid social change. The Portuguese espoused policies of African assimilation, yet obstacles to progress for the Afro-Portuguese and acculturated African elite were more rigidly enforced in the 20th century than they had been in the 19th. Thus, before 1945 the ideology of segregation was espoused by virtually all the governments of the region and by most whites regardless of political persuasion. Segregation had different meanings for different groups, but throughout southern Africa it unified contradictory white interests under a single political slogan, buttressed white power and protected white workers and farmers, and attempted to defuse black militancy at a time of urbanization and social change. For blacks segregation meant exclusion from citizenship; incorporation into a restricted and racially segmented labour market based on the use of migrant labour; government control of movement, urban residence, and trade union organization; the consolidation of the authority of the chiefs; and a recognition or invention of black ethnic identity in the African reserves. The economy The economies of those countries constituting southern Africa are highly diverse in terms of human and natural resources; the structures of these economies are also extremely heterogeneous. They have, however, shared many of the problems that have plagued the continent as a whole. These include wars, political instability, drought, fluctuations in export commodity prices, and declines in the capacity to import. As a consequence, in the 1980s many of these countries were compelled to adopt severely deflationary structural adjustment programs, usually under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank). At the same time, all of the countries in the region have had to come to terms with demands to alter radically their relations with the dominant industrial power in the area, South Africa. The world's condemnation of apartheid and the brutally nondemocratic political system in South Africa has had profound effects not only on that country but also on social, political, and economic development throughout the region. Historically, the long-standing economic ties between the other countries in this region and South Africa made it difficult for those countries to attempt to sever relations with their powerful neighbour. The delegates to the first Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) in 1979 included Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. By 1980 Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, and the newly independent Zimbabwe had joined the group, which adopted the Lusaka Declaration at its first major regional economic summit in April of that year. An explicit aim of this declaration was to reduce the region's dependence on South Africa for transport, trade, and the supply of electric power. In 1986 SADCC adopted a resolution implementing economic sanctions against South Africa, but no timetable was prescribed. Moreover, several of the participating members actually increased their transport and trade links with South Africa during the late 1980s, while trade between SADCC members has remained much smaller than trade with South Africa. The unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC) and the release of ANC leader Nelson Mandela in 1990 suggested the possibility of a resolution of major conflicts. There is now some optimism not only concerning future economic prospects within South Africa but also in the region as a whole. Indicators of levels of development Two widely used general development indicatorsnamely, the World Bank's ranking of economies from lowest to highest according to per capita income and the United Nations Development Program's ranking of countries according to the mortality of children under the age of five yearsshow that some of the countries in southern Africa are among the least developed in the world. South Africa and Botswana are clearly exceptions. In the early 1990s the World Bank ranked Mozambique as having the lowest per capita income in the world, while Malawi, Zambia, and Lesotho also fell into the category of lowest income economies, with annual per capita incomes below $500 (U.S.). Angola, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana are categorized as lower-middle-income economies, where income ranges between $600 and $2,400. South Africa just exceeds this level of per capita income and is the only country in the region classified as an upper-middle-income economy. South Africa and Botswana have achieved much lower rates of under-age-five mortality than the other countries. Mozambique, Angola, and Malawi suffer from under-five mortality rates that are among the highest in the world. These aggregate indicators of development must be treated with caution. The measurement of income is fraught with difficulties in economies where a high proportion of output is not marketed or accurately recorded, as is the case in all the economies in the region. Equally important, aggregate indicators shed no light on the crucial issue of the distribution of the benefits of growth. In South Africa, for example, the racially based historical pattern of development means that the living conditions of the majority of the population are poorly represented by the aggregate measures of income and child mortality. Nevertheless, it is important to stress that several countries in the region have achieved remarkable progress in the late 20th century with respect to some of the indicators of human welfare. All of these countries have seen a substantial improvement in life expectancy in the period since 1960. In Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Botswana there have been dramatic changes in the number and proportion of children attending secondary schools, which will radically alter the skill composition of the labour force in the 1990s. The regional gross national product (GNP) of the economies in southern Africa is dominated by the contribution of South Africa, which alone accounts for more than three-quarters of regional GNP; the next largest contribution to regional GNP is provided by Angola, followed by Zimbabwe and Zambia, each with only a few percent. The land Geology During the Triassic Period (245 to 208 million years ago) the continents formed a single landmass known as Pangaea. A southern continent, Gondwana (or Gondwanaland), formed about 180 million years ago as Pangaea began to divide. At this time Africa was attached to South America, but Antarctica had begun to split away. The separation of South America, Africa, and Madagascar began some 115 million years later. The Sand River Gneisses of northern Transvaal formed about 3.8 billion years ago in the earliest part of the Precambrian (3.8 billion? to 540 million years ago) and are among the oldest rocks in the world. Other Precambrian rocks, as well as Cambrian and Ordovician rocks, are exposed over about a third of southern Africa. They are usually referred to as the basement complex, and, in most areas, the younger sedimentary rocks that mantle the basement complex have been metamorphosed or intruded by granite. The basement complex is well exposed on the Benguela and Niassa plateaus, in the Zambian-Zimbabwean Uplands, on the Damaraland Plain and southern African Lowveld, and in the Zambia-Niassa Trough and Limpopo Depression. Younger volcanic rocks that have intruded the Precambrian rocks occur throughout the basement complex. Important volcanic intrusions are the Witwatersrand System and Bushveld Igneous Complex in Transvaal and the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe. Linked to such intrusions are the economically important ore bodies and diamond pipes. Much of the basement complex has been uplifted and folded during periods of mountain building. The mountains formed during the Precambrian were eroded, and the resulting sediments were deposited on ancient erosion surfaces. The rocks of the Karoo (Karroo) System were deposited between the Carboniferous (360 to 286 million years ago) and Early Jurassic (208 to 187 million years ago). They are mainly sediments derived from the erosion of basement-complex rocks under a variety of climates ranging from glacial to arid, although basaltic lavas (e.g., Bataka basalts) are locally important. Later erosion and deposition have restricted outcroppings of the Karoo System to the rift valleys of Zambia and Zimbabwe and to an area encompassing much of southern Namibia and Cape Province and the Orange Free State in South Africa. The Atlantic Coastal Plain in Namibia and Angola is bounded to the east by an ancient fault line, the Lunda Axis. There the granitic basement complex is overlain by folded and faulted rocks of the Cretaceous (144 to 66.4 million years ago) and Tertiary (66.4 to 1.6 million years ago), which in turn have been partially covered by Pliocene (5.3- to 1.6-million-year-old) sediments. The Mozambique Plain along the Indian Ocean coast probably formed during the detachment of Madagascar from the mainland, after which the plain was uplifted. There Cretaceous and Tertiary limestones, marls, and calcareous sandstones are overlain by Pliocene and Pleistocene (1,600,000- to 10,000-year-old) marine sands and clays. The Kalahari Basin covers Botswana, northeastern Namibia, eastern Angola, and western Zambia. Its Tertiary and Quaternary rocks (those that formed from 1.6 million years ago to the present), which constitute the Kalahari System, have been deposited on Cretaceous sediments, which themselves were deposited on a Gondwana surface. These are for the most part sedimentary rocks derived from the erosion of the surrounding mountains. Fluvial (deposited by water) in origin, almost all the sediments have been reworked by the wind. The oldest rocks, the Botletle Sandstones and Grits, are overlain by the Kalahari Limestone Group, and overlying these are the Kalahari Sands. Sequences such as these can reach 1,000 feet (300 metres) in thickness. Relief Cattle watering on the rolling farmland of the southern African plateau in Eastern Cape province, The interior of southern Africa is dominated by a series of undulating plateaus that extend from the Cape provinces to central Angola. This area includes the southern African plateau, which covers most of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Contiguous with this are the Zambian-Zimbabwean Uplands and Niassa and Manica plateaus in the northeast. This area is sometimes known as High Africa. The coastal margins are characterized by mountain ranges and coastal plains. Coastal mountains and escarpments, flanking the high ground, are well developed in northern Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and along the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border. Coastal plains abut the Indian Ocean in Mozambique and the Atlantic in Angola and Namibia. The Kalahari Basin forms the central depression of the southern African plateau. Its elevation increases toward the plateau edge, and the highest ground, some 30 to 150 miles (50 to 240 kilometres) inland, forms the Great Escarpment that flanks the plateau in an almost unbroken line from the Zambezi River to Angola. The Great Escarpment was formed by prolonged uplift and includes ranges such as the Drakensberg and Stormberg and the Sneeu and Nuweveld mountains. The relative relief of some mountain ranges at the plateau edge is accentuated by the occurrence of deposits of Mesozoic lava (those formed from about 245 to 66.4 million years ago). The Drakensberg, which include the region's highest mountainLesotho's Mount Ntlenyana at 11,424 feet (3,482 metres)are partially formed from such lava. The plateau is divided into three altitudinal zones: the Highveld at altitudes greater than 4,000 feet, the Middleveld from 2,000 to 4,000 feet, and the Lowveld below 2,000 feet. The Highveld is well developed in the southern Transvaal region and Orange Free State, with important outliers such as the dolomitic Kaap Plateau, the Basotho Highlands, and the Transvaal Bushveld Basin, which is dominated by the Bushveld Igneous Complex. The Middleveld merges with the Highveld in most areas and is best developed in the western part of the region. It extends from the Namaqualand Plain northward through Namibia and into central Angola as far as the Bi Plateau. It includes the Namaland, Khomas, Otavi, and Chela highlands in Namibia, all of which are developed on the basement complex. The maximum extent of the Lowveld is in the Kalahari desert, the largest continuous sand surface in the world. Many dune fields are no longer active, and the fields of long parallel dunes have been attributed to drier paleoclimates that prevailed in the region in the late Quaternary. Saline depressionspansthat occasionally fill with water are common landforms, although they vary greatly in size. The area includes two of the largest salt flats in the worldthe Makgadikgadi and Etosha pans in northern Botswana and northern Namibia, respectively. The occurrence of river and lake sediments from these areas also attests to periods of wetter paleoclimates. The Zambian-Zimbabwean Uplands are contiguous with the southern African plateau and form a flat planation surface at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,500 feet. The monotony is occasionally broken by isolated hills (inselbergs), mountain ranges (e.g., the Muchinga Mountains in northern Zambia), and volcanic intrusions (such as Zimbabwe's long Great Dyke). On the plateaus most valleys are shallow, and the heads of drainage networks often form wide, streamless depressions known as dambos. Shallow lakes and swamps, such as Lake Bangweulu and the Kafue Flats in Zambia, are common. The only substantial valleys are formed by the Zambezi and Luangwa (Arungua) rivers. Their courses are often fault-controlled, which has led to the creation of deep valleys, sometimes as much as 3,300 feet in depth. Dissection and local lithology often combine to create spectacles such as the Victoria Falls. To the east of the Zambian-Zimbabwean Uplands are the related Niassa and Manica plateaus, which form an undulating surface between 1,300 and 4,000 feet in altitude. These plateaus are formed from the basement complex, and exposed granitic intrusions in the complex give rise to a series of resistant hills. Whaleback outcroppings of Precambrian granite of the basement complex in the Matopo Hills, The level to gently undulating plains in interior southern Africa are known as erosion surfaces. The breakup of Gondwana gave rise to a series of new erosion base levels as periodic regional uplift took place. Streams eroded down to these base levels, giving rise to plains that are still seen throughout the region today and that are known as the African erosion surface. At the end of the Miocene (23.7 to 5.3 million years ago) renewed tectonic uplift and tilting again created new base levels. Rejuvenated fluvial activity at this time cut down into previously weathered surfaces exposing resistant hills (bornhardts) and piles of partially weathered rocks (castle kopjes). The new plains formed at this time are known as the Post-African I erosion surface. Dissecting the northeastern highlands and plateaus are the rift valleys of the Zambia-Niassa Trough. These were formed by a combination of pre-Karoo folding and post-Karoo faulting and are an extension of the East African Rift Valley. The main trough floor lies 1,000 to 3,300 feet below the adjacent plateaus. The best-developed rift valley in this region is occupied by Lake Nyasa (Malawi). It is bounded by the Kipengere Range and Livingstone Mountains in Tanzania and by the Nyika Plateau and Viphya Mountains in Malawi. Several troughs branch from it, such as along the Shire valley and the Gwembe-Lungwa trough. Flanking the interior plateaus from southern Mozambique to northern Angola lies the Marginal Zone, which mainly comprises well-dissected rolling topography, although the extreme south is dominated by the basin-and-range topography of the Cape Ranges. These mountains were formed during the Permian (286 to 245 million years ago); the valleys deepened during the Triassic and Jurassic periods, forming the present landscape by the mid-Cretaceous. An important series of arid basins known as the Great Karoo lie at altitudes of 1,000 to 2,600 feet between the Great Escarpment and the Cape Ranges. In Namibia the coastal margin includes the Namib (Momedes) desert and consists of four geomorphological regions: ridged topography (trough Namib), debris-covered surfaces (plain Namib), dune fields (dune Namib), and an interior range of well-dissected table mountains (Kaokoveld). The coastal plains of Mozambique expand from a narrow strip in the north to a wide plain south of the Save River. The combination of low relief and runoff from the high ground to the west causes a considerable amount of flooding in the lagoons and swamps found on these plains. The coastal plain in northern Angola exhibits similar topography, although the south is occupied by the Namib desert. The people Contemporary ethnicity and class structure were forged in southern Africa within a crucible of interacting ethnic units, not through a process of timeless, apartheid-like separation of one cultural tradition from another. Many of these transformations were indigenously inspired and followed upon the introduction and adoption of agricultural and pastoral economies and metallurgy at the beginning of the 1st millennium AD. Others came about as responses to new opportunities and conditions originating outside the continent, first with the introduction of intercontinental trade at the end of the 1st millennium and, later, with European colonization. In the first instance, principles of kinship, residence, and tenure were flexibly adjusted to accommodate changing political and economic opportunities. In the second, a 20th-century ethnic consciousness was constructed using past history, language, and culture as the building blocks from which to create a new ideology. Language groups The peoples of southern Africa today can be divided into speakers of two language families, Khoisan and Bantu. The linguistic differences separating these families are great, attesting to a long history of separate development before their present juxtaposition south of the Zambezi River. In earlier times, Khoisan languages were spoken over most of eastern and southern Africa. They have now been displaced in many areas by Bantu languages and, in parts of Namibia and in the Cape region of South Africa, by European languages.
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