Remember Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa? He was jailed for 27 years because he fought for freedom. Before Mandela came to power, the country was ruled by a British minority government. Their rules strictly kept apart the two ethnic groups-the whites and the blacks.
This system known as apartheid started in the 1950s; black people were forced to live in places called homelands with minimal opportunities for work and education. This created tensions. At first people started protesting peacefully; it later turned to violent riots and even massacres. After a lot of struggle and mass protests led by the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela, this practice came to an end in 1991.
South Africa has rich mineral deposits. Diamonds and gold were discovered there which attracted European fortune hunters.