What were the major changes in the economy of South Africa between 1887 and 1910?

What were the major changes in the economy of South Africa between 1887 and 1910?
  • Africans lost their political independence after the discovery of minerals.

  • The originally strong African societies such as the Ndebele, the Zulu, and Swazi were defeated militarily and put under the British control.
  • Conflicts between the Boers and British increased. Each of these Europeans wanted to control the rich mineral area hence the first and second Anglo –boar wars
  • Scramble and partition for South Africa increased. There was a hope that areas near mines also contained the minerals hence the rush to colonies such territories by the whites.
  • The British desire to federate South African white states increased. They wanted to join the British states and the Boer states in South Africa.
  • Many Africans from all parts of the country migrated to mines in search for employment opportunities. The industries in the mines provided jobs which attracted many Africans from surrounding areas.
  • The price and value of land in diamond rich areas increased. Prices of plots of land increased in and mineral areas.

  • Mineral discovery improved on transport and communication. Railways and roads were constructed to transport minerals. For example in 1887 Transvaal was connected by rail to Delgeo bay and Pretoria.
  • Led to quick urbanizations in the interior of South Africa Towns developed as a result of the increased economic activities arising from the discovery of minerals.
  • It led to quick industrialization in the interior of South Africa as a result of mineral exploitation. industries and factories strung in mineral areas For example smelting industries
  • Commercial agriculture developed as many Europeans settled in the interior of South Africa. This created market for food products of the Africans.
  • Africans who were employed in the mines were given low wages as compared to the whites.
  • Mineral discovery provided a new source of wealth. Before the discovery of minerals, agriculture was the only source of employment

  • Led to modernization of agriculture. There was quick introduction of commercialized agriculture in the interior of South Africa. Whites set up large farms to supply food staffs to the increasing population in the mines.
  • Money took over cattle and land as a measure of value and wealth among blacks in towns.
  • A cash economy was introduced to replace the substance sector. In fact everything become money based.
  • The mineral wealth made the cape stronger and hence less dependent on British government at home.
  • There was discrimination of Africans in the mines .They did unskilled labour while good work was left for the poor whites.
  • There was break down of African cultural norms.The youth who were employed in the mines stopped respecting their tradition leaders.
  • Family unity was broken with the discovery of minerals. This is because men left their families in villages and went to mines for employment.
  • It led to the introduction of new cultures in the interior of South Africa .For example foreign languages; dressing, eating and prostitution were adopted by the Africans in mines and towns.
  • It promoted massive European immigration into the interior of South Africa. For example Utilanders migrated from Britain and Australia to share the mineral wealth.

  • A strong foundation for African nationalism was laid by the mineral discovery .The Africans who worked in mines acquired wealth which they used to finance the Nationalist Movements.


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