Union of South Africa

The Union of South Africa (Dutch: Unie van Zuid-Afrika, Afrikaans: Unie van Suid-Afrika pronunciation ) is the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the Cape Colony, the Natal Colony, the Transvaal, and the Orange River Colony. It included the territories that were formerly a part of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State.

Following the First World War, the Union of South Africa was granted the administration of South West Africa (now known as Namibia) as a League of Nations mandate. It became treated in most respects as another province of the Union, but it never was formally annexed.

Like Canada and Australia, the Union of South Africa was a self-governing autonomous dominion of the British Empire. Its independence from the United Kingdom was confirmed in the Balfour Declaration 1926 and the Statute of Westminster 1931. It was governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with the Crown being represented by a governor-general. The Union came to an end with the enactment of the constitution of 1961, by which it became a republic and temporarily left the Commonwealth.

Union of South Africa

Unie van Zuid-Afrika  (Dutch)
Unie van Suid-Afrika  (Afrikaans)
Motto: Ex Unitate Vires
(Latin for "From Unity, Strength")
Anthem: "God Save the King" (1910–52); "God Save the Queen" (1952–57)[a]

"Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" (1938–61)[1]
(English: "The Call of South Africa")
Location of the Union of South Africa. South West Africa shown as disputed area (occupied in 1915, administered as 5th province of the Union under a C-mandate from the League of Nations).
Location of the Union of South Africa. South West Africa shown as disputed area (occupied in 1915, administered as 5th province of the Union under a C-mandate from the League of Nations).
CapitalCape Town (legislative)
Pretoria (administrative)
Bloemfontein (judicial)
Pietermaritzburg (archival)
Largest cityJohannesburg[2][3]
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• 1910–36
George V
• 1936
Edward VIII
• 1936–52
George VI
• 1952–61
Elizabeth II
• 1910–14
The Viscount Gladstone (first)
• 1959–61
Charles Robberts Swart (last)
Prime Minister 
• 1910–19
Louis Botha
• 1919–24, 1939–48
Jan Smuts
• 1924–39
J.B.M. Hertzog
• 1948–54
D.F. Malan
• 1954–58
J.G. Strijdom
• 1958–61
H.F. Verwoerd
House of Assembly
• Union
31 May 1910
• Republic
31 May 1961
19612,045,320 km2 (789,700 sq mi)
• 1961
CurrencySouth African pound (1910–61), South African rand (1961)
ISO 3166 codeZA
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Cape Colony
Colony of Natal
Orange River Colony
Transvaal Colony
South Africa
Today part of Namibia
 South Africa
Red Ensign of South Africa (1912–1951)
Union of South Africa Red Ensign (1912–1928) Merchant ensign until 1951
Blue Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912)
Union of South Africa Blue Ensign (1910–1928)


Main features

Map of the provinces of South Africa 1910-1976 with English labels
The provinces of the Union

The Union of South Africa was a unitary state, rather than a federation like Canada and Australia, with each colony's parliaments being abolished and replaced with provincial councils.[4] A bicameral parliament was created, consisting of the House of Assembly and Senate, with members of the parliament being elected mostly by the country's white minority.[5] During the course of the Union, the franchise changed on several occasions always to suit the needs of the government of the day.[6] Parliamentary supremacy was a convention of the constitution, inherited from the United Kingdom; save for procedural safeguards in respect of the entrenched sections of franchise and language, the courts were unable to intervene in Parliament's decisions.[7]


Owing to disagreements over where the Union's capital should be, a compromise was reached in which every province would be dealt a share of the benefits of the capital: the administration would be seated in Pretoria[8] (Transvaal), Parliament would be in Cape Town[9] (Cape Province), the Appellate Division would be in Bloemfontein[10] (Orange Free State). Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg (Natal) were given financial compensation.[11]

Relationship to the Crown

The Union initially remained under the British Crown as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire. With the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the Union and other dominions became equal in status to the United Kingdom and it could no longer legislate on behalf of them.[12] The Monarch was represented in South Africa by a Governor-General, while effective power was exercised by the Executive Council, headed by the Prime Minister.[13] Louis Botha, formerly a Boer general, was appointed first Prime Minister of the Union, heading a coalition representing the white Afrikaner and English-speaking British diaspora communities. Prosecutions before courts were instituted in the name of the Crown (cited in the format Rex v Accused) and government officials served in the name of the Crown.


An entrenched clause in the Constitution mentioned Dutch and English as official languages of the Union, but the meaning of Dutch was changed by the Official Languages of the Union Act, 1925 to include both Dutch and Afrikaans.[14]

Final days of the South Africa Act and legacy

Most English-speaking whites in South Africa supported the United Party of Jan Smuts, which favoured close relations with the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Unlike the Afrikaans-speaking National Party, which had held anti-British sentiments, and was opposed to South Africa's intervention in the Second World War. Some Nationalist organisations, like the Ossewa Brandwag, were openly supportive of Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Most English-speaking South Africans were opposed to the creation of a republic, many of them voting "no" in the 5 October 1960 referendum. But due to the much larger number of Afrikaans-speaking voters, the referendum passed, leading to the establishment of a republic in 1961. The Afrikaner-dominated Government consequently withdrew South Africa from the Commonwealth. Following the results of the referendum, some whites in Natal, which had an English-speaking majority, called for secession from the Union.[15] Five years earlier, some 33,000 Natalians had signed the Natal Covenant in opposition to the plans for a republic.[16]

Subsequently, the National Party government had passed a Constitution that repealed the South Africa Act. The features of the Union were carried over with very little change to the newly formed Republic. The decision to transform from a Union to Republic was narrowly decided in the referendum. The decision together with the South African Government's insistence on adhering to its policy of apartheid resulted in South Africa's de facto expulsion from the Commonwealth of Nations.


Encyclopedia Britannica Films documentary about South Africa from 1956

The South Africa Act dealt with race in two specific provisions. First it entrenched the liberal (by South African standards) Cape Qualified Franchise system of the Cape Colony which operated free of any racial considerations (although due to socio-economic restrictions no real political expression of non-whites was possible).[17][18] The Cape Prime Minister at the time, John X. Merriman, fought hard, but ultimately unsuccessfully, to extend this system of multi-racial franchise to the rest of South Africa.

Second it made "native affairs" a matter for the national government. The practice therefore was to establish a Minister of Native Affairs.

According to Stephen Howe, colonialism in some cases—most obviously among white minorities in South Africa—meant mainly that these violent settlers wanted to maintain more racial inequalities than the colonial empire found just.[19]

Previous attempts at unification

Several previous unsuccessful attempts to unite the colonies were made, with proposed political models ranging from unitary, to loosely federal.

Early unification attempt under Sir George Grey (1850s)

Sir George Grey, the Governor of Cape Colony from 1854 to 1861, decided that unifying the states of southern Africa would be mutually beneficial. The stated reasons were that he believed that political divisions between the white-controlled states "weakened them against the natives", threatened an ethnic divide between British and Boer, and left the Cape vulnerable to interference from other European powers. He believed that a united "South African Federation", under British control, would resolve all three of these concerns.[20]

His idea was greeted with cautious optimism in southern Africa; the Orange Free State agreed to the idea in principle and the Transvaal may also eventually have agreed. However, he was overruled by the British Colonial Office which ordered him to desist from his plans. His refusal to abandon the idea eventually led to him being recalled.

The imposition of confederation (1870s)

In the 1870s, the London Colonial Office, under Secretary for the Colonies Lord Carnarvon, decided to apply a system of Confederation onto southern Africa. On this occasion however, it was largely rejected by southern Africans, primarily due to its very bad timing. The various component states of southern Africa were still simmering after the last bout of British expansion, and inter-state tensions were high. The Orange Free State this time refused to even discuss the idea, and Prime Minister John Molteno of the Cape Colony called the idea badly informed and irresponsible. In addition, many local leaders resented the way it was imposed from outside without understanding of local issues.[21] The Confederation model was also correctly seen as unsuitable for the disparate entities of southern Africa, with their wildly different sizes, economies and political systems.[22]

The Molteno Unification Plan (1877), put forward by the Cape government as a more feasible unitary alternative to confederation, largely anticipated the final act of Union in 1909. A crucial difference was that the Cape's liberal constitution and multiracial franchise were to be extended to the other states of the union. These smaller states would gradually accede to the much larger Cape Colony through a system of treaties, whilst simultaneously gaining elected seats in the Cape parliament. The entire process would be locally driven, with Britain's role restricted to policing any set-backs. While subsequently acknowledged to be more viable, this model was rejected at the time by London.[23] At the other extreme, another powerful Cape politician at the time, Saul Solomon, proposed an extremely loose system of federation, with the component states preserving their very different constitutions and systems of franchise.[24]

Lord Carnarvon rejected the (more informed) local plans for unification, as he wished to have the process brought to a conclusion before the end of his tenure and, having little experience of southern Africa, he preferred to enforce the more familiar model of confederation used in Canada. He pushed ahead with his Confederation plan, which unraveled as predicted, leaving a string of destructive wars across southern Africa. These conflicts eventually fed into the first and second Anglo-Boer Wars, with far-reaching consequences for the subcontinent.[25]

Second Boer War (1899–1902)

After gold was discovered in the 1880s, thousands of British men flocked to the gold mines of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State. The newly arrived miners were needed for the mines but were distrusted by the politically dominant Afrikaners, who called them "uitlanders" and imposed heavy taxes and very limited civil rights, with no right to vote. The British, jealous of the gold and diamond mines and highly protective of its people, demanded reforms, which were rejected. A small-scale private British effort to overthrow Transvaal's President Paul Kruger, the Jameson Raid of 1895, was a fiasco, and presaged full-scale conflict as diplomatic efforts all failed.[26][27][28]

War started on 11 October 1899 and ended on 31 May 1902 as the United Kingdom was aided by its Cape Colony, Colony of Natal and some native African allies. The British war effort was further supported by volunteers from across the Empire. All other nations were neutral, but public opinion in them was largely hostile to Britain. Inside Britain and its Empire there also was a significant Opposition to the Second Boer War because of the atrocities and military failures.[29]

The British were overconfident and underprepared. Prime Minister Salisbury and his top officials, especially colonial secretary Joseph Chamberlain, ignored the repeated warnings of military advisors that the Boers were well prepared, well armed, and fighting for their homes in a very difficult terrain. The Boers struck first, besieging Ladysmith, Kimberly, and Mafeking in early 1900, and winning important battles at Colenso, Magersfontein and Stormberg. Staggered, the British fought back, relieved its besieged cities, and prepared to invade first the Orange Free State, and then Transvaal in late 1900. The Boers refused to surrender or negotiate, and reverted to guerrilla warfare. After two years of hard fighting, Britain, using over 400,000 soldiers systematically destroyed the resistance, raising worldwide complaints about brutality. The Boers were fighting for their homes and families, which provided them with food and hiding places. The British solution was to forcefully relocate all the Boer civilians into heavily guarded concentration camps, where about 28,000 died of disease. Then it systematically blocked off and tracked down the highly mobile Boer combat units. The battles were small operations; most of the dead were victims of disease. The war ended in victory for the British and the annexation of both republics, which became the Transvaal Colony and the Orange River Colony.[30]

Reasons for unification

Botha gouvernment 1910
The first Union cabinet

At the close of the Anglo-Boer War in 1902, the four colonies were for the first time under a common flag, and the most significant obstacle which had prevented previous plans at unification had been removed. Hence the long-standing desire of many colonial administrators to establish a unified structure became feasible.

South African customs union and trade tariffs

The matter of trade tariffs had been a long-standing source of conflict between the various political units of Southern Africa. Essentially at the heart of the crisis lay the fact that the Transvaal was a landlocked economic hub that resented its dependence on its neighbours, as well as the costs it was incurring through rail and harbour customs.

The Cape Colony was heavily dependent upon customs as a source of tax revenue and subsequently was directly competing with both Natal and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). At the time of unification the bulk of cargo destined for the Witwatersrand area entered through Lourenço Marques (now Maputo in Mozambique) owing largely to the relative distance and the ZARs policy of reducing its dependence on the British Empire. The South African Customs Union came into existence in 1906, but various problems existed with the arrangements particularly because the Transvaal was insistent on dominating the Union.

After Unification the South African Customs Union continued to exist including the other British territories (the Protectorates and Rhodesia).

Union of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia

In 1922 the colony of Southern Rhodesia had a chance (ultimately rejected) to join the Union through a referendum. The referendum resulted from the fact that by 1920 British South Africa Company rule in Southern Rhodesia was no longer practical with many favouring some form of 'responsible government'. Some favoured responsible government within Southern Rhodesia while others (especially in Matabeleland) favoured membership in the Union of South Africa. Politician Sir Charles Coghlan claimed that such membership with the Union would make Southern Rhodesia the "Ulster of South Africa".[31]

Prior to the referendum, representatives of Southern Rhodesia visited Cape Town where the Prime Minister of South Africa, Jan Smuts, eventually offered terms he considered reasonable and which the United Kingdom government found acceptable. Although opinion among the United Kingdom government, the South African government and the British South Africa Company favoured the union option (and none tried to interfere in the referendum), when the referendum was held the results saw 59.4% in favour of responsible government for a separate colony and 40.6% in favour of joining the Union of South Africa.

Union of South Africa and South West Africa


The inhospitable coast of what is now the Republic of Namibia remained uncolonised up until the end of the 19th century.

From 1874, the leaders of several indigenous peoples, notably Maharero of the Herero nation, approached the Cape Parliament to the south. Anticipating invasion by a European power and already suffering Portuguese encroachment from the north and Afrikaner encroachment from the south, these leaders approached the Cape Colony government to discuss the possibility of accession and the political representation it would entail. Accession to the Cape Colony, a self-governing state with a system of multi-racial franchise and legal protection for traditional land rights, was at the time considered marginally preferable to annexation by Portugal or Germany.

In response, the Cape Parliament appointed a special Commission under William Palgrave, to travel to the territory between the Orange and Cunene rivers and to confer with these leaders regarding accession to the Cape. In the negotiations with the Palgrave Commission, some indigenous nations such as the Damara and the Herero responded positively (Oct 1876), other reactions were mixed. Discussions regarding the magisterial structure for the area's political integration into the Cape dragged on until, from 1876, it was blocked by Britain. Britain relented, insofar as allowing the Cape to incorporate Walvis Bay, which was brought under the magisterial district of Cape Town, but when the Germans established a protectorate over the area in 1884, South West Africa was predominantly autonomous.[32][33][34]

Thereafter, South West Africa became a German colony, except for Walvis Bay and the Offshore Islands which remained part of the Cape, outside of German control.

South African occupation

SWA sur AfSud filles royales 1947
South West Africa stamp: Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret on the 1947 Royal Tour of South Africa

Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the Union of South Africa occupied and annexed the German colony of German South West Africa. With the establishment of the League of Nations and cessation of the war, South Africa obtained a Class C Mandate to administer South West Africa "under the laws of the mandatory (South Africa) as integral portions of its territory". Subsequently, the Union of South Africa generally regarded South West Africa as a fifth province, although this was never an official status.

With the creation of the United Nations, the Union applied for the incorporation of South West Africa, but its application was rejected by the U.N., which invited South Africa to prepare a Trusteeship agreement instead. This invitation was in turn rejected by the Union, which subsequently did not modify the administration of South West Africa and continued to adhere to the original mandate. This caused a complex set of legal wranglings that were not finalised when the Union was replaced with the Republic of South Africa. In 1949, the Union passed a law bringing South West Africa into closer association with it including giving South West Africa representation in the South African parliament.

Walvis Bay, which is now in Namibia, was originally a part of the Union of South Africa as it was a part of the Cape Colony at the time of Unification. In 1921 Walvis Bay was integrated with the Class C Mandate over South West Africa for the rest of the Union's duration and for part of the republican era.

Statute of Westminster

The Statute of Westminster passed by the British Parliament in December 1931, which repealed the Colonial Laws Validity Act and implemented the Balfour Declaration 1926, had a profound impact on the constitutional structure and status of the Union. The most notable effect was that the South African Parliament was released from many restrictions concerning the handling of the so-called "native question". However the repeal was not sufficient to enable the South African Parliament to ignore the entrenched clauses of its constitution (the South Africa Act) which led to the coloured-vote constitutional crisis of the 1950s wherein the right of coloureds to vote in the main South African Parliament was removed and replaced with a separate, segregated, and largely powerless assembly.

See also


  1. ^ Remained the royal anthem until 1961.


  1. ^ "South Africa Will Play Two Anthems Hereafter". The New York Times. New York. 3 June 1938. p. 10. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  2. ^ travelfilmarchive (8 November 2012). "The Union of South Africa, 1956" – via YouTube.
  3. ^ darren lennox (23 February 2017). "British Empire: The British Colony Of The Union Of South Africa 1956" – via YouTube.
  4. ^ South Africa Act, 1909, Part V, sections 68 to 94.
  5. ^ "The South Africa Act, 1909". The American Journal of International Law. 1 January 1910 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ See Representation of Natives Act, No. 12 of 1936 and Separate Representation of Voters Act, No. 46 of 1951.
  7. ^ Hahlo & Kahn, Union of South Africa, Stevens & Sons Limited, London, 1960, pp. 146 to 163.
  8. ^ Section 18 of South Africa Act, 1909.
  9. ^ Section 23 of South Africa Act, 1909.
  10. ^ Section 109 of South Africa Act, 1909.
  11. ^ "The South Africa Act, 1909". The American Journal of International Law. 1 January 1910 – via Internet Archive.
  12. ^ Hahlo & Kahn, supra, p. 146 et seq.
  13. ^ "The South Africa Act, 1909". The American Journal of International Law. 1 January 1910 – via Internet Archive.
  14. ^ "The South Africa Act, 1909". The American Journal of International Law. 1 January 1910 – via Internet Archive.
  15. ^ Secession Talked by Some Anti-Republicans, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 11 October 1960
  16. ^ Jeffery, Keith (1996). An Irish Empire?: Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire. Manchester University Press. pp. 199–201.
  17. ^ Robertson, Janet (1971). Liberalism in South Africa: 1948–1963. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  18. ^ "EISA South Africa: Historical franchise arrangements". Eisa.org.za. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  19. ^ Howe, Stephen (2002). Empire A very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 75.
  20. ^ V.C. Malherbe: What They Said. 1795–1910 History Documents. Cape Town: Maskew Miller. 1971.
  21. ^ P.A. Molteno: A Federal South Africa. Sampson Low, Marston & Co, 1896. ISBN 1-4367-2682-4
  22. ^ Phyllis Lewsen (ed.). Selections from the correspondence of John X. Merriman, 1905–1924. South Africa: Van Riebeeck Society, 1969
  23. ^ Frank Richardson Cana: South Africa: From the Great Trek to the Union. London: Chapman & Hall, ltd., 1909. Chapter VII "Molteno's Unification Plan". p.89
  24. ^ Solomon, W. E. C: Saul Solomon – the Member for Cape Town. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1948.
  25. ^ Illustrated History of South Africa. The Reader's Digest Association South Africa (Pty) Ltd, 1992. ISBN 0-947008-90-X. p.182, "Confederation from the Barrel of a Gun"
  26. ^ J.A.S.Grenville, Lord Salisbury, and Foreign Policy (1964) pp 235–64.
  27. ^ Iain R. Smith, The Origins of the South African War, 1899–1902 (1996).
  28. ^ William L. Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism (1950), pp. 605–28, 651–76
  29. ^ Denis Judd and Keith Surridge, The Boer War: A History (2013) pp 1–54.
  30. ^ Judd and Surridge, The Boer War: A History (2013) pp 55–302.
  31. ^ Jeffrey, Keith (1996). An Irish Empire?: Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire. Manchester University Press. p. 196. ISBN 0719038731.
  32. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ P. A. Molteno: The life and times of Sir John Charles Molteno, K. C. M. G., First Premier of Cape Colony, Comprising a History of Representative Institutions and Responsible Government at the Cape. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1900. Vol.I. p.284.
  34. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)


Wikimedia Atlas of Union of South Africa

  • Beck, Roger B. The History of South Africa (Greenwood, 2000).
  • Davenport, Thomas, and Christopher Saunders. South Africa: A modern history (Springer, 2000).
  • Eze, M. Intellectual history in contemporary South Africa (Springer, 2016).
  • Robinson, G. G. (1905). "The Prospects of a United South Africa" . The Empire and the century. London: John Murray. pp. 521–538.
  • Ross, Robert. A Concise History of South Africa (2009)
  • Thompson, Leonard, and Lynn Berat. A History of South Africa (4th ed. 2014)
  • Thompson, Leonard. The Unification of South Africa 1902 – 1910 (Oxford UP, 1960).
  • Welsh, Frank. A History of South Africa (2000).

External links

Coordinates: 30°S 25°E / 30°S 25°E

1911 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1911 were appointments by King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by members of the British Empire. They were announced on 3 January 1911.

Die Stem van Suid-Afrika

"Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" (Afrikaans: [di ˈstɛm fan sœi̯t ˈɑːfrika], lit. "The Voice of South Africa"), also known as "The Call of South Africa" or simply "Die Stem" (dee-STE-mmm), is a former national anthem of South Africa. There are two versions of the song, one in English and the other in Afrikaans, which were used during much of the apartheid era. It was the sole national anthem from 1957 to 1994, and shared co-national anthem status with "God Save the King" from 1938 to 1957. After the end of apartheid in the early 1990s, it was retained as a co-national anthem along with "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" from 1994 to 1997, when a new hybrid song incorporating elements of both songs was adopted as the country's new national anthem, which is still in use today.

Executive Council (Commonwealth countries)

An Executive Council in Commonwealth constitutional practice based on the Westminster system is a constitutional organ which exercises executive power and (notionally) advises the governor or governor-general. Executive Councils often make decisions via Orders in Council.

Executive Councillors are informally called "ministers". Some Executive Councils, especially in Australia, and the provinces and territories of Canada, are chaired by a President or a Vice-President. In other Commonwealth countries there is no formal president of the Executive Council, although meetings are held in the presence of the Governor-General, Governor or President (except in rare cases) and decisions require his or her assent.

These Councils have almost the same functions as the privy councils in Canada, and the United Kingdom and accordingly, decisions of the cabinet gain legal effect by being formally adopted by the Executive Council, if the cabinet itself is not also the Executive Council.

Flag of South Africa (1928–1994)

The flag of South Africa from 1928 to 1994 was used by the Union of South Africa and its successor state, the Republic of South Africa until 1994. It was also used in South-West Africa (now Namibia) when the territory was under South African rule. Based on the Dutch Prince's Flag, it contained the flag of the United Kingdom, the flag of the Orange Free State and the flag of the South African Republic in the centre. A nickname for the flag was Oranje, Blanje, Blou (Afrikaans for: "orange, white, blue").It was adopted in 1928 by an act of Parliament from the first Afrikaner majority government. In 1948, after their election victory, the National Party unsuccessfully tried to amend the flag design to remove what they called the “Blood Stain" (the flag of the United Kingdom). In 1968 Prime Minister John Vorster proposed the adoption of a new flag in 1971 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the declaration of South Africa as an independent republic. Vorster's idea did not gain Parliamentary support and the flag change never happened. As such this flag was used during the entirety of the apartheid era as well, leading to it being labeled the "Apartheid flag". It was replaced by the current flag of South Africa in 1994 with the commencement of the republic's transitional constitution and the end of apartheid.

Following its retirement in 1994 the flag has been controversial within South Africa, with some people viewing it as historic and a symbol of Afrikaner heritage while others view it as a symbol of apartheid and of white supremacy.

Governor-General of South Africa

The Governor-General of the Union of South Africa (Afrikaans: Goewerneur-generaal van Unie van die Suid-Afrika, Dutch: Gouverneur-generaal van de Unie van Zuid-Afrika) was the highest state official in the Union of South Africa between 31 May 1910 and 31 May 1961. The Union of South Africa was founded as a self-governing Dominion of the British Empire in 1910 and the office of governor-general was established as the representative of the monarch. Fifty-one years later the country declared itself a republic and the historic link with the British monarchy was broken. The office of governor-general was abolished.

Some of the first holders of the post were members of the British royal family including Prince Arthur of Connaught between 1920 and 1924, and the Earl of Athlone, who served between 1924 and 1931, before becoming the Governor General of Canada. As in other Dominions, this would change, and from 1943 onward only South Africans (in fact, only Afrikaners) held the office.

The office was established by the South Africa Act 1909. Although the Governor-General was nominally the country's chief executive, in practice he was bound by convention to act on the advice of the prime minister and the cabinet of South Africa.

Het Volk (political party)

Het Volk was a Transvaal political party, established in May 1904 under the leadership of Louis Botha and his deputy Jan Smuts. Upon the creation of the Union of South Africa in May 1910, it merged with Afrikaner Bond, the South African Party, and the Orangia Unie, the dominant political parties of the Cape Colony and Orange River Colony (formerly the Orange Free State), creating the pan-Union South African Party.

History of South Africa (1815–1910)

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Cape Colony was annexed by the British and officially became their colony in 1815. Britain encouraged settlers to the Cape, and in particular, sponsored the 1820 Settlers to farm in the disputed area between the colony and the Xhosa in what is now the Eastern Cape. The changing image of the Cape from Dutch to British excluded the Dutch farmers in the area, the Boers who in the 1820s started their Great Trek to the northern areas of modern South Africa. This period also marked the rise in power of the Zulu under their king Shaka Zulu. Subsequently several conflicts arose between the British, Boers and Zulus, which led to the Zulu defeat and the ultimate Boer defeat in the Second Anglo-Boer War. However, the Treaty of Vereeniging established the framework of South African limited independence as the Union of South Africa.

Kennel Union of Southern Africa

The Kennel Union of Southern Africa (formerly The Kennel Union of South Africa) was founded in 1891 through the merge of the Southern African Kennel Club of Port Elizabeth (founded in 1883) and the South African Kennel Club of Cape Town (founded in 1889), ranking it among the world’s oldest kennel clubs.KUSA is primarily a registration and administrative organization for nearly two hundred affiliated breed clubs with over six thousand members.Over four hundred Championship or non-Championship events are licensed annually. Dog sports administered are competitive breed (beauty/conformation shows); field trials and the following competitive working disciplines: obedience classes, working trials, dog jumping, dog carting (draughtwork), and agility. Although breed (conformation) shows are limited to purebred dogs, any dog, purebred or not, if registered or recorded, may enter the working disciplines.

KUSA is a fully federated member of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and has reciprocal agreements with bodies such as The Kennel Club (UK) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) which are not members of the FCI. It also has agreements with other national member countries of the FCI such as the Australian National Kennel Council. KUSA represents the South African Dog world on the National Sports Commission and is recognized with the South African Stud Book Society. KUSA currently recognizes and promotes two developing South African breeds, the Africanis and the Boerboel.

List of years in South Africa

This is a list of years in South Africa.

Louis Botha

Louis Botha (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈlu.i ˈbʊəta]; 27 September 1862 – 27 August 1919) was a South African politician who was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa—the forerunner of the modern South African state. A Boer war hero during the Second Boer War, he would eventually fight to have South Africa become a British Dominion.

In 1905, as prime minister, he called for the newly discovered Cullinan Diamond to be presented to King Edward VII.

Musicians Union of South Africa

The Musicians Union of South Africa (MUSA) was a South African trade union. It had a membership of 700 and was affiliated with the Congress of South African Trade Unions. It merged with Performing Arts Workers' Equity (PAWE) to form the Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA).

Orange River Colony

The Orange River Colony was the British colony created after Britain first occupied (1900) and then annexed (1902) the independent Orange Free State in the Second Boer War. The colony ceased to exist in 1910, when it was absorbed into the Union of South Africa as Orange Free State Province.

Parliament of South Africa

The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa's legislature and under the country's current Constitution is composed of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.It has undergone 28 transformations as a result of the country's tumultuous history. From 1910 to 1994, it was elected mainly by South Africa's white minority, before the first elections with universal suffrage were held in 1994.

Performing Arts Workers' Equity

The Performing Arts Workers' Equity (PAWE) was a small trade union in South Africa. It had a membership of only 365, but was affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions. It merged with the Musicians Union of South Africa (MUSA) to form the Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA).

South Africa Act 1909

The South Africa Act 1909 was an Act of the British Parliament which created the Union of South Africa from the British colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, and Transvaal. The Act also made provisions for admitting Rhodesia as a fifth province of the Union in the future, but Rhodesian colonists rejected this option in a referendum held in 1922. The South Africa Act was the third major piece of legislation passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the intent of uniting various British colonies and granting them some degree of autonomy. Earlier, the British North America Act, 1867 had united three colonies (Canada – which became Ontario and Quebec – Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) and the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900 had united the Australian colonies.

South African Party

The South African Party was a political party that existed in the Union of South Africa from 1911 to 1934.

Union of South Africa Commemoration Medal

The Union of South Africa Commemoration Medal is a military and civil commemorative medal which was awarded to commemorate the opening of the first Union Parliament by the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn in 1910. It may be considered as the first of many independence medals which were instituted throughout the Commonwealth during the 20th century.

Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold

The Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold was the highest South African civilian decoration during the period between 1910 and 1961, when the country was a constitutional monarchy in the British Commonwealth. The medal was instituted by King George VI on 23 June 1939.

Political history of South Africa
Defunct polities
Political culture
Histories of
political parties
Provinces of South Africa
Non-independent homelands
Independent homelands1
Dependent territories

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