The Dominion of South Africa (Afrikaans: Dominium van Suid-Afrika; Xhosa: Ulawulo Mzantsi Afrika) is a kingdom in the eastern part of South Africa's former territory. The Dominion was founded by leaders of South Africa's opposition during the period when the apartheid state was collapsing. Initially the opposition hoped to simply replace the national government with a more liberal system built on what had existed before apartheid, when South Africa was part of the British Empire. Andrew Windsor, head of the British monarchy after the death of Elizabeth II, was present in the country and accepted the role of head of state. But the leaders very quickly had to abandon the idea of governing all of South Africa, instead becoming a regional power in the Eastern Cape.
The Dominion was founded on principles of multiracial liberalism, and since its first elections in 1989 has functioned as a stable democracy, reversing the apartheid policies of the previous regime. On the other hand, it has faced criticism for its de-facto racial inequality and White dominance. Some have condemned it as a return of European imperialism, citing its British royal family and its wars for territory against neighboring KwaXhosa. The Dominion has tried instead to present itself as a pluralistic state and a peaceful member of the community of post-war African nations.
- For the years 1983-1989, see Foundation of the Dominion.
- For 1990 to the present, see History of the DSA.
- Sunday's River Valley
- Blue Crane Route
- Port Elizabeth
- East London (exclave)
- Aberdeen Plain
- Garden Route
- Klein Karoo
- Great Karoo
- WaseMantla (Northern Territory)
- Dependent Territories
- Saint Helena
- Tristan Da Cunha & Gough Island
- Ascension Island
- South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands (disputed with Argentina)
- External Territories
- South African Antarctic Territories
- Prince Edward Islands
- Bouvet Island
A slight majority of the population is Black, with significant populations of White, Indian, and Coloured groups, and a small Chinese minority. Xhosa comprise the largest single ethnic group, and their language is co-official alongside English and Afrikaans.
The DSA is a multiparty democracy governed by a bicameral Parliament. The executive power is vested in the Crown and always exercised through the Cabinet, which is responsible to Parliament.
The Crown is certainly the DSA's most famous institution. The constitution describes king as a symbol of South Africa's "past and progress." It also provides for the appointment of a Governor-General if the monarch ever permanently moves elsewhere, presumably to Great Britain.
Parliament's lower house is the House of Assembly, members of which are elected from single-member districts. The upper house is the Senate. Senators are chosen from seven senatorial districts that consist of one or more of the country's geographic regions. Members of the regional councils vote for senators, who are seated according to proportional representation. An eighth slate of senators is named by the Crown, which in practice means by the Cabinet.
For its legal basis, the Dominion points to the 1985 Durban Declaration, in which South Africa's parliamentary Opposition declared its intention to govern the country. A set of subsequent Port Elizabeth Declarations repealed apartheid and the 1960 republic referendum, essentially trying to turn back the clock to 1948 and undo four decades of National Party rule.
The starting point for the constitution was thus the 1909 South Africa Act, an act of the British Parliament that functioned as South Africa's constitution before the creation of the Republic in 1961. This act was considerably revised in 1987. Significant changes include enshrining the principle of racial equality, removing references to the old provinces, and replacing the Governor-General with a resident monarch.
- See also the list of Dominion leaders.
As a young democracy, the DSA's party system is fluid and parties frequently merge, split, and disband. Many parties have a basis in racial or ethnic identity. The two most durable have been:
- the Progressive Party, a descendant of the 1980s-era PFP, considered to be responsible for founding the nation - liberalism, strongest support among White and Indian South Africans.
- the Congress Party, descended from and affiliated with the African National Congress now based in Pretoria - social democracy, strongest support among Xhosa and other Black ethnic groups.
Other parties that have held the premiership have been Democracy (conservatism), Dominion (right-wing populism), and Labour (democratic socialism). The Democracy Party is now defunct.
The Dominion Armed Forces combine elements and traditions inherited from the South African and British militaries. In general, the navy's organization is largely inherited from Britain, since very few ships of the declining South Afrian Navy joined the opposition state. The army is much more South African in character, descending from units and individuals that defected from the South African Army. Two regiments have a British heritage, descended from detachments sent to protect the king during the mid-1980s. These are the Special Air Service, an elite special forces regiment, and the Royal Household Regiment, divided into one battalion of cavalry (considered a descendant of the Life Guards) and one of infantry (with links to the Grenadier Guards).
Though in the early years the navy was the strongest branch of the armed forces, reinforced with ships and personnel from the UK, as the years went on it was eclipsed by the army. Some of the surplus hardware was sold to Brazil as it became clear that the Dominion could not maintain it. The Air Force is the smallest armed branch, the bulk of its planes still being old models from Britain and South Africa.
The DAF have fought in many engagements against KwaXhosa, the Orange Free State, and various armed groups in the Cape and northern frontier regions. Betweem 2005 and 2009 the army occupied all or part of kwaXhosa. After the League of Nations suspended the Dominion and a new government won elections, a treaty was signed to end this occupation by 2018, when all troops returned home.
Thanks mostly to the Dominion's incorporation of part of the British Royal Navy in the late 1980s, the country has control over a number of overseas territories. The Dependent Territories designate four populated islands that had been Dependent Territories of the United Kingdom (called Crown Colonies until January 1983). The external territories designate three lands with no permanent population. Formerly they belonged respectively to the United Kingdom, the Republic of South Africa, and Norway; the DSA's temporary period as the strongest naval power in the region led it to assert control of them.
The Dependent Territories all spent several years governing themselves in near-total isolation and for this reason developed more robust political institutions than had existed before the fall of the UK - though in the case of South Georgia and Tristan Da Cunha, these institutions are mostly informal and based on consensus. The Dominion manages their defence and relations with the rest of the world but otherwise mostly leaves them alone. The inhabited islands are managed by the DSA's Foreign Ministry, while the uninhabited territories fall under the Ministry of Defence. The Dependent Territories are considered in some sense to be countries in their own right with similar status to the old crown colonies, while the External Territories are treated as parts of the Dominion.
In 2021 the South Atlantic Islands Commission was established in Port Elizabeth to give the islands' leaders an official channel for communicating with the national government, with one another, with their citizens living in Africa, and (in certain limited contexts) with foreign nations. Saint Helena is expected to bear most of the responsibility for managing the Commission, but once a year leaders from all four islands will meet in a conference to discuss issues of mutual concern.
The economy of the Dominion is primarily agricultural. Many of the farms have been settled by refugees or displaced people under the auspices of government resettlement programs.
The industrial economy has recovered slowly and unevenly, supported from time to time by incentive programs that fluctuate depending on the party in power. In the early 2000s the country became a producer of automobiles and electronic goods and became known as a regional economic leader. Port Elizabeth had been the center of South Africa's prewar auto industry, giving the Dominion a solid base from which to build.
Technological progress has been slow, as the country concentrates more on building up former prosperity. It currently has little in funding for renewable resources, with its efforts aimed at utilizing the existing energy infrastructure.
The Progressives remain committed to the premises of free market economic policy, though developments in the 1980s led them to make use of nationalization as a tool. Parties to the left of the Progressives advocate more systemic changes to the capitalist economy.
In the aftermath of Doomsday, faith in organized religion was brought to the brink. Christianity is still the dominant religion. Anglicanism is prominent because of its connection to the Crown, but it does not enjoy any kind of official status. The largest Christian subgroup belong to independent African churches, including the Zion Christian Church, the largest, and many others. Dutch Reformed churches remain large and influential despite their historic connection to apartheid.
Minorities practice Islam or Hinduism, chiefly among the Indian community. A small Cape Malay community, who immigrated from around Cape Town mostly in the 90s and 2000s, also practices Islam.
While the events of Doomsday turned some people toward faith, they caused others to turn away. Atheists and other nonreligious are a significant minority of the population.
Association football proved to be the one sport that all ethnic groups had a passionate interest in, and has been a very important social unifier for the entire country. Its national side qualified for the 2010 World Cup.
Following DD sport was put on hold, including football. People didn't have time to play football while they were struggling to survive. However as the dust began to settle, and conditions began to slightly improve, the idea of football among other sports came to fruition. With Association Football being the easiest to set up, it began to be played as soon as the late 1980's. In 1991 professional clubs began to re-emerge and start playing games again. Later in 1992 several of these clubs came together to form the South African Premier League, with a South African FA being created by Parliament at the same time.
The South African Premier League quickly became incredibly popular, acting as a form of escapism from the harsh reality of the world. In fact it is the most watched sporting event in the entire country.
Football has been a method of reliving some tension between the many ethnic groups within South Africa, and this has been reflected by the varying teams within the league. There are many former South African teams, with Kaiser Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. being the most successful out of all of them, as well as many former teams reestablished by refugees from other countries, for example Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle, West Ham, Celtic, Hibernian and others from British refugees, while Chinese and Indian refugees founded clubs such as West Bengal football team and Shandong FC.
The most successful teams have been Aston Villa and Mamelodi Sundowns, with both teams winning an equal amount of Premier Leagues, and Sundowns winning 2 more FA Cups than Villa. Despite this most founding teams have seen periods of success and managed to create a more competitive football league than what would be seen in leagues pre doomsday.
Following the success of the Premier League, many teams even started paying their players, with the highest paid player earning £300 a week. Meanwhile in 1993 and 1995 football was expanded further, in 1993 an FA cup, introduced by English refugees, was made a cup competition, while in 1995 a second division was founded by teams that hadn't made it into the Premier League. A promotion and relegation system between the two leagues was also set up. In 2000 the Datsun Challenge was reborn, having been founded the year before Doomsday, to mark the turn of the millennium, and in 2001 and 2002 Division 3, 4 and 5 were set up. As well as the professional leagues, there are local leagues, youth leagues and other leagues set up by teams across the country who didn't get into the big 5 leagues.
After qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, many in the nation want the national team and facilities to receive more investment, as well as grassroots football. Not only this but there has been discussion about the Dominion making a bid to host an international competition, although whether this actually comes to fruition remains to be seen.
Rugby union, popular in both England and former South Africa, has garnered a tremendous following in its own right. The national team is nicknamed the Lions. The Dominion's national federation has approached the ANZC about beginning a series, and has discussed forming an African Series with the RZA and Union of South Africa federations.
Other sports garnering interest include cricket and tennis. Its national cricket federation has expressed interest to the ANZC, the East Caribbean Federation and the RZA about resuming Test Match series in some form by 2013.
English is the unquestioned common language of the Dominion, but a majority of its citizens natively speak either Afrikaans or Xhosa. From the start the government made a visible effort to elevate Xhosa to the same status as the two colonial languages, and trilingual signs are common throughout the country. Conflict with the KwaXhosa republic made this seem rather incongruous but did not change the language's status.
The northern edge of the country extends into a sparsely-populated part of South Africa's Tswana-speaking region, and some effort has been made to accommodate Tswana speakers in the Northern Territory. Members of indigenous Khoekhoe peoples live in pockets of the Dominion; their language is on the decline but is still spoken. Port Elizabeth has attracted people from many different parts of southern Africa who have brought their languages to the city.
The Dominon's flag was designed not long after the country adopted its new constitution in 1987. It combines different color schemes associated with different South African groups. The most common explanation is that black and yellow represent the native African people, white and blue people from Europe or Asia, and green represents the land of Africa that they share. In the design, echoes can be seen of the flags of the ANC, Great Britain, and the old Union of South Africa.
The main symbol on national arms is a springbok, the head of which appears between three roses representing the past, present and future. The shield is supported by a lion and springbok, both of which are considered national animals; ensigned by the royal crown; and featuring the motto "United in Hope" in any of the three official languages.
The king's personal flag is based on the one designed for Elizabeth II in her international role as Head of the Commonwealth. For royal heraldry, the use of the old royal arms of the United Kingdom has not completely ceased, but William does use these arms far less than his father. The crest alone (a lion wearing a crown standing on another crown) is used much more often as a royal heraldic symbol.
The DSA has two official anthems, neither of which is original with the country. The national anthem "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika", written in 1897, is associated with independence and democracy movements throughout southern Africa. The words are in Xhosa, one of the three official languages. The royal anthem is "God Save the King," associated with the British monarchy from time immemorial.
The Dominion uses animal and plant symbols, namely the springbok and the king protea, carried over from united South Africa. The lion comes over from Britain but is considered an authentic South African symbol.
The former British islands have continued using the old Union Jack as a symbol of their heritage. The badges of Ascension and Tristan were designed while the islands were under South African rule. The South Atlantic Islands Commission flies a plain British blue ensign as a combined symbol of the four islands.
The Antarctic Territories use an old British ensign but with the Jack replaced with the flag of the DSA. The Prince Edward Islands received a flag that somewhat fancifully uses a shield associated with the medieval Edward the Black Prince, even though he is not the prince who the islands are named for.
As one of the breakaway states of South Africa, the Dominion has been involved in many terriorial disputes with its neighbors. At some point in its short history, it has clashed with every state that it borders. This reached its peak in the period from 2006 to 2013, when the DSA forcibly seized territory from KwaXhosa and the collapsing Republic of the Cape. The international community allowed the Cape annexations to stand, but the ongoing military occupation in kwaXhosa resulted in the DSA's suspension from the League of Nations in 2009. After another war in KwaXhosa drew out into a stalemate, a new government came to power and agreed to return the occupied territory by 2018. After this, the League of Nations restored the Dominion's membership.
Since 2013 the Dominion's foreign policy has been guided by a desire to mend relations with its neighbors and collaborate within the developing community of southern African states. The collapse of the New Union of South Africa led to an expansion of the DSA's African Economic Community. This community had begun as a way to forcibly join the Dominion and Xhosa economies, but through its expansion has become a truly multilateral economic organization.
The presence of the British royal family has facilitated relations with other countries with historic ties to Britain and its monarchy, as well as with the diasporic British community around the world. In 1984 the British Survivors Administration (BSA) was created to help British refugees and stranded military personal in Australasia. Since regular contact was re-established with South Africa, the BSA has worked to link together the British survivor community around the world. In the early 2010s the Dominion was a driving force behind the re-establishment of the Commonwealth of Nations. While it never reached its former size, the Commonwealth has facilitated goodwill, cultural ties, and trade with a range of countries in many parts of the world.