From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa
South Africa has experienced a different history from other nations in Africa as a result of early immigration from Europe and the strategic importance of the Cape Sea Route. European immigration started shortly after the Dutch East India Company founded a station at (what was to become) Cape Town in 1652. South Africa is an ethnically diverse nation with the largest white, Indian, and racially-mixed communities in Africa. Black South Africans, who speak nine officially-recognised languages and many more dialects, account for slightly less than 80% of the population.
Racial strife between the white minority and the black majority has played a large part in the country’s history and politics, culminating in apartheid, which was instituted in 1948 by the National Party (although segregation existed prior to that date). The laws that defined apartheid began to be repealed or abolished by the National Party in 1990 after a long and sometimes violent struggle (including economic sanctions from the international community) by the Black majority as well as many White, Coloured, and Indian South Africans.