A History of South Africa by Leonard Thompson, Lynn Berat

By Leonard Thompson, Lynn Berat

A number one pupil of South Africa presents a clean and penetrating exploration of that country's heritage, from the earliest identified human inhabitation of the zone to the current, focusing totally on the reports of its black population. For this 3rd variation, Leonard Thompson provides new chapters that describe the move of energy and the recent South Africa less than the presidencies of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

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It was accompanied by a series of exchanges of property between the two groups, including the transfer of cattle from the bridegroom's kin to the kin of the bride. This custom (Nguni lobola; Sotho bohali) cemented the relations between the two groups. It also strengthened the hold of parents over their children, since the parents received the bridewealth and usually decided whom their children should marry-though young people would often find ways to flout their parents' wishes. Wealthy men, especially chiefs, were polygynous.

All the mixed farming people in Southern Africa had much the same basic economy: swidden agriculture, pastoralism, and metallurgy. They also had similar cultures, including closely related Bantu languages. The farmers in the lands below the escarpment, who are known as Nguni, spoke dialects of the same language, of which the modern survivors are Xhosa in the south and Zulu in the north. Most of those on the plateau above the escarpment spoke dialects of another language, of which the modern survivors are Sotho in the south, Pedi in the east, and Tswana in the west.

After a case had been argued at great length by interested parties, the chief would announce his verdict. That would be based on custom, but custom could be modified to suit the occasion. In theory, the primary objective was to heal divisions in society and restore harmony rather than to punish offenders, but people guilty of disloyalty or witchcraft might be killed. In other cases, the normal penalty was a fine, shared between the chief and the successful litigant. A chief's powers were limited by necessity as well as by custom.

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