Over 3 million years ago evidence of earliest human existence was found in Southern Africa. The area which is known as South Africa has been inhabited by bushmen for many thousand years.
Dutch people began to migrate to and settle in South Africa over 200 years ago, and due to the sugar plantations on the east coast Indian people started to come into South Africa in the 1860's to work on the sugar farms. Due to European migration the white population grew considerably in the 19th Century with people being caught in the lure of South Africa's gold mines, hoping to make their fortune.
In South Africa today black Africans make up about 80% of the population, this number not only being those of South African origin, but many immigrants from other African countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique; whites account for about 8%, coloured or mixed race 9% and 2.5% of the population are Asians.
There is still noticeable division in many areas of South African culture, with different ethnic groups leading largely separate lives - making South Africa far from the idyllic ‘Rainbow-Nation’ it is portrayed to be. Nevertheless, the South Africa’s democratisation is gradually progressing.
South Africa’s future depends on the people who live there, although there are many, many people who live in multi-cultural lives, it does seem it has an awful long way to go before all of the ethnic groups there live in complete harmony. Perhaps with passing generations, South Africa will become the Rainbow Nation for real.