south africa mineral wealth apartheid soweto. describe the landscape surrounding johannesburg

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  • South AfricaMineral wealthApartheidSoweto

  • Describe the landscape surrounding Johannesburg.

  • What do you think the climate is like here? What was the weather like on the day this photo was taken?What evidence do you see in the picture that supports your answer?

  • Describe the fencesWhy do you think each house has one?

  • What do you notice about the windows of the Qampie familys house?

  • What is the street life like at this time of day? Do people seem afraid to be outside? What does this tell you about nighttime versus daytime in Soweto?

  • Do you think the Qampie family is poor, middle class, or wealthy by black South African standards? How can you tell?

  • Do you see any cars in this picture? Why do you think this might be the case?

  • What are these two towers in the distance? What do they tell you about the city of Johannesburg and its power supply?

    Lying at the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa has vast mineral wealth and is famous for its gold and diamond industries. It is also known for its system of apartheid, which was repealed in the 1990s. Apartheid legally segregated South Africas population, placing black, colored, and Indian people into separate categories inferior to whites. The people of South Africa still have to deal with the ramifications of apartheid, and many racial struggles continue to this day.The Qampie family pictured in the following slides lives in Soweto, a neighborhood of Johannesburg, South Africas largest city. Soweto developed as a group of South African townships (areas in which non-white South Africans were forced to live in order to separate them from whites). Sowetos townships are overwhelmingly black, and it is one of the poorest areas of Johannesburg. The name Soweto comes from South West Township (the first two letters of each word).Johannesburg is surrounded by hills and mesas. Many of the mesas are actually slag (waste) heaps from gold mines. Nevertheless, the natural landscape is hilly.Johannesburg has a Mediterranean climate, with mild temperatures most of the year and very hot weather in the summer (similar to the climate in much of California). The palm tree in the upper right indicates that the country has a mild climate. However, the winters in South Africa can get quite chilly because the country lies so far below the equatorin fact, its actually closer to Antarctica than it is to the equator.This picture was taken on a rainy day. The sky is cloudy, and we can see a woman carrying a red umbrella. The grass is also very green, which in a Mediterranean region suggests recent rainfall.The fences completely surround each house and have small spikes on their tops to deter potential intruders. The fence in the foreground (in the lower left of the photograph) has barbed wire on top.Soweto is not a safe place. Families make sure to stay inside their homes after 8:00 p.m. because its dangerous to be outside at night. Although not particularly high, the fences provide the houses with some security. Most of the fences dont have barbed wire, which would offer more protection.

    The windows have bars on them. Like the fences, this is a security measure designed to keep out intruders. The Qampies neighbors also have bars on their windows.We can see many people walking down the street. They dont appear to be in a hurry or seem afraid of being outdoors at this hour. This indicates that people feel much safer in the daytime, although Soweto is still a relatively dangerous place night or day.This Qampie family appears to be relatively middle class and is certainly more wealthy than many black South Africans who live in the slums of Soweto and other townships across the country. The family has a small but relatively neat-looking house. They own several pieces of wood furniture, a refrigerator, a TV, a radio, a white tablecloth, and some other amenities that would not likely be seen in the poorest homes.There are no cars in the photograph. This reflects the neighborhoods economic and safety levels. Many families are probably too poor to own cars, and cars parked on the street would not be secure from theft. However, the houses dont appear to have garages, so the few who own cars usually park them in their yards. Most people in this neighborhood get around by walking or, when traveling across town, by train.These are cooling towers for a coal-powered electrical generating plant. They indicate that Johannesburg is an industrialized city that gets at least some of its power from coal. South Africa gets 87% of its power from coal-burning plants. The country also has two nuclear power plants at Koeberg, which lies near the city of Cape Town.(Teachers note: Though these houses have power, most do not have indoor toilets, showers, or hot water. However, most do have running cold water in the kitchen sink.)


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