The Mineral Revolution is a term used by historians to refer to the rapid industrialization and economic changes that occurred in South Africa from the 1870s onwards.
MINERAL RESOURCES IN S.AFRICA
- Before the minerals were discovered in South Africa. It mainly depended on agriculture.
- The cape depended on wine and pastoral farming, Orange Free State on cereals and sheep rearing and Transvaal on sheep and cattle rearing.
- The economy was controlled by the Europeans mainly the British and Africans provided labour.
- Generally the economy was weak i.e. South Africa had poor communication and low standards of living.
- Later in 1867, the diamond was discovered at Kimberly and in 1885; gold was discovered at Witwatersrand or at the Rand.
- Other minerals like manganese were discovered in various places in South Africa.
- By 1892, diamond export fetched more than four million pounds a year hence south Africa was experiencing a mineral revolution.
- The minerals encouraged the development of the cash crop farming on a large scale especially around the mines
- Later the economy changed from an agricultural to an industrial one and local markets were enlarged.
- Communication was improved quickly and greatly for example in 1887 the Transvaal railway was constructed in 1891, the natal railway was constructed.
- In 1892, the delgea Pretoria railway was completed and the cape railway was also finished.
- Telephones, telegrams, roads were built and improved.
- Boer states rapidly came out of poverty in an economic boom.
- Rich mining companies for example De- Boers and the british Africa company was set up and heavily taxed by the boers.
- There was growth of agricultural processing industries and urbanization took place for example in Transvaal, Johannesburg, Vereniging among others.
- The white population in the interior increased and the migrant system labour developed.
- Banks were constructed for example the standard orient bank. Modern steamers were introduced on the Orange and Vaal river.
- The price of land in areas around the mine rose and many Africans sold much the inland.
- Africans massively started searching for cash jobs leading to rural-urban migration.
TYPES OF MINERALS IN SOUTH AFRICAN
EFFECTS OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE AFRICANS
- Some Africans got chances for new jobs in the mines
- They got market for their agricultural produces especially near the mines
- It led to rural-urban migration as Africans went to town they were powerless
- There was social disintegration as husbands separated from their wives
- Africans were discriminated in employment centres as they were given lowly jobs.
- Africans who migrated to the cities lived in camps reserves and shantytowns for example Soweto.
- Africans lost their independence
- Africans lost their land where the minerals were located for example Griqualand
- There was a breakdown of African culture and traditional practices
- There was an emergency of new African behavior for example money not wives and cows became the new symbols of success and status.
- The marriage was postponed and tended to be monogamous
- New elite class emerged and included men, for example, Luthuli Albert and Walter Sisulu
- A cash economy was introduced though Africans were paid low wages
- Africans were forced to work on contract
- Africans acquired bad European habits, for example, prostitution crime and alcoholism.
- They lost their lives in mine accidents and got European diseases
- British influence over Africans increased and they annexed Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana.
EFFECTS OF THE MINERALS TO THE WHITES
- They were put into an industrial revolution as gold and diamonds became and life led to many industries.
- It increased their wealth and their capital investment
- Bad practices for example prostitution, theft and crimes increased
- They became richer especially in the infrastructures for example Delgia Transvaal railway and natal Transvaal railway were constructed by 1891.
- Steamships linked south Africa plus telephones, telegraph and bridges
- Social infrastructure for example banks, schools, hospitals came into existence
- It led to growth of towns for example Pretoria, Johannesburg
- The whites conquered some African states as their military strength increased
- There was an influx of British settles called utilanders into Transvaal
- Britain encircled the Boer state so as to occupy them
- British imperialism increased and they fronted the idea of a federation which the Boers rejected
- It led to the Anglo Boer wars of 1880-1881, 1895 and 1899-1902
- It led to loss or destruction of property between the Boers and British
- It strengthened Boer nationalism and unity
- It led to rise of new strong men for example Paul Kruger and Cecil Rhodes
- It increased the prosperity of the cape which on her own without help from Britain
- This led to the cape limited independence in 1872
THIS VIDEO EXPLAINS MORE ABOUT THE MINERAL REVOLUTION