South Africa

South Africa

Overview
The Republic of South Africa (also referred to as South Africa, SA or RSA) is a country
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

. Located at the southern tip of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, it is divided into nine provinces, with 2798 kilometres (1,738.6 mi) of coastline on the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and Indian ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

s. To the north of the country lie the neighbouring territories of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 and Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

; to the east are Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 and Swaziland
Swaziland
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland , and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique...

; while Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

 is an enclave
Enclave and exclave
In political geography, an enclave is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory.An exclave, on the other hand, is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.These are two...

 surrounded by South African territory.

South Africa is multi-ethnic and has diverse cultures and languages.
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Timeline

1795   The first occupation by United Kingdom of Cape Colony, South Africa with the Battle of Hout Bay, after successive victories at the Battle of Muizenberg and Wynberg, after William V requested protection against revolutionary France's occupation of the Netherlands.

1815   The East Indiaman ship Arniston is wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans, near Cape Agulhas, present-day South Africa, with the loss of 372 lives.

1829   South African College is founded in Cape Town, South Africa; it will later separate into the University of Cape Town and the South African College Schools.

1838   Battle of Blood River: Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius combat Zulu impis, led by Dambuza (Nzobo) and Ndlela kaSompisi in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

1899   Second Boer War begins: In South Africa, a war between the United Kingdom and the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State erupts.

1900   British troops are defeated by Boers at Ladysmith, South Africa.

1900   Second Boer War: In South Africa, 20,000 British troops invade the Orange Free State.

1900   In South Africa, Boers and British troops fight in the Battle of Hart's Hill.

1900   Second Boer War: In South Africa, British military leaders receive an unconditional notice of surrender from Boer General Piet Cronje at the Battle of Paardeberg.

1902   Second Boer War: The Treaty of Vereeniging ends the war and ensures British control of South Africa.

 
Encyclopedia
The Republic of South Africa (also referred to as South Africa, SA or RSA) is a country
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

. Located at the southern tip of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, it is divided into nine provinces, with 2798 kilometres (1,738.6 mi) of coastline on the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and Indian ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

s. To the north of the country lie the neighbouring territories of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 and Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

; to the east are Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 and Swaziland
Swaziland
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland , and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique...

; while Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

 is an enclave
Enclave and exclave
In political geography, an enclave is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory.An exclave, on the other hand, is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.These are two...

 surrounded by South African territory.

South Africa is multi-ethnic and has diverse cultures and languages. Eleven official languages are recognised in the constitution
Constitution of South Africa
The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the country of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the government. The current constitution, the country's fifth, was...

. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans
Afrikaans
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch .Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see , , , , , .Afrikaans was historically called Cape...

, a language which originated mainly from Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 that is spoken by the majority of white and Coloured
Coloured
In the South African, Namibian, Zambian, Botswana and Zimbabwean context, the term Coloured refers to an heterogenous ethnic group who possess ancestry from Europe, various Khoisan and Bantu tribes of Southern Africa, West Africa, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaya, India, Mozambique,...

 South Africans, and South African English
South African English
The term South African English is applied to the first-language dialects of English spoken by South Africans, with the L1 English variety spoken by Zimbabweans, Zambians and Namibians, being recognised as offshoots.There is some social and regional variation within South African English...

. Though English is commonly used in public and commercial life, it is only the fifth most-spoken home language. All ethnic and language groups have political representation in the country's constitutional democracy
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

 comprising a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

; unlike most parliamentary republics, the positions of head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 are merged in a parliament-dependent President
President of South Africa
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under South Africa's Constitution. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President....

.

About 79.5% of the South African population is of black African
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages
Bantu languages
The Bantu languages constitute a traditional sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 250 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility, though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages...

, nine of which have official status. South Africa also contains the largest communities of European, Asian, and racially mixed ancestry in Africa.

South Africa is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, one of only four countries in Africa in this category (the others being Botswana, Gabon and Mauritius). It has the largest economy in Africa, and the 28th-largest in the world. About a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US $1.25 a day.

Prehistoric


South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological and human fossil sites in the world. Extensive fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

 remains have been recovered from a series of caves in Gauteng Province. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been termed the Cradle of Humankind
Cradle of Humankind
The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site first named by UNESCO in 1999, about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa in the Gauteng province. This site currently occupies ; it contains a complex of limestone caves, including the Sterkfontein Caves, where the 2.3-million...

. The sites include Sterkfontein
Sterkfontein
-References:-References:-References:: : : :...

, one of the richest hominin fossil sites in the world. Other sites include Swartkrans
Swartkrans
Swartkrans is a location in South Africa, around from Johannesburg.Swartkrans is a farm near to Sterkfontein, notable for being extremely rich in archaeological material, particularly hominid remains. It was purchased by the University of the Witwatersrand in 1968...

, Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. The first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child
Taung Child
The Taung Child — or Taung Baby — is the fossilized skull of a young Australopithecus africanus individual. It was discovered in 1924 by quarrymen working for the Northern Lime Company in Taung, South Africa...

 was found near Taung in 1924. Further hominin remains have been recovered from the sites of Makapansgat
Makapansgat
Makapansgat is an archeological location within the Makapansgat and Zwartkrans Valleys, northeast of Mokopane in Limpopo province, South Africa. It is an important paleontological site, with the local limeworks containing Australopithecus-bearing deposits dating to between 3.0 and 2.6 million years...

 in Northern Province
Northern Province
Northern Province or North Province may refer to:*North Province *Far North Province, Cameroon*North Kazakhstan Province*Northern Province, Rwanda*North Province, New Caledonia*Northern Province, Papua New Guinea...

, Cornelia
Cornelia, Free State
Cornelia is a small town in the Free State province of South Africa. In 1894 it was named after the wife of former Free State President Francis William Reitz.The town is situated near the Skoonriver .-Fossil Discoveries:...

 and Florisbad in the Free State
Free State
The Free State is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, which is also South Africa's judicial capital. Its historical origins lie in the Orange Free State Boer republic and later Orange Free State Province. The current borders of the province date from 1994 when the Bantustans...

, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal, Klasies River Mouth in eastern Cape and Pinnacle Point, Elandsfontein and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape
Western Cape
The Western Cape is a province in the south west of South Africa. The capital is Cape Town. Prior to 1994, the region that now forms the Western Cape was part of the much larger Cape Province...

.
These sites suggest that various hominin species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago starting with Australopithecus africanus
Australopithecus africanus
Australopithecus africanus was an early hominid, an australopithecine, who lived between 2–3 million years ago in the Pliocene. In common with the older Australopithecus afarensis, A. africanus was slenderly built, or gracile, and was thought to have been a direct ancestor of modern humans. Fossil...

. These were succeeded by various species, including Australopithecus sediba
Australopithecus sediba
Australopithecus sediba is a species of Australopithecus of the early Pleistocene, identified based on fossil remains dated to about 2 million years ago....

, Homo ergaster
Homo ergaster
Homo ergaster is an extinct chronospecies of Homo that lived in eastern and southern Africa during the early Pleistocene, about 2.5–1.7 million years ago.There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

, Homo erectus
Homo erectus
Homo erectus is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about . The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

, Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis is a hominin species described from the fossil Kabwe skull. Other morphologically-comparable remains have been found from the same, or earlier, time period in southern Africa , East Africa and North Africa...

, Homo helmei and modern humans, Homo sapiens.
Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen
Herder
A herder is a worker who lives a possibly semi-nomadic life, caring for various domestic animals, in places where these animals wander pasture lands....

, were already present south of the Limpopo River
Limpopo River
The Limpopo River rises in central southern Africa, and flows generally eastwards to the Indian Ocean. It is around long, with a drainage basin in size. Its mean annual discharge is 170 m³/s at its mouth...

 (now the northern border with Botswana and Zimbabwe) by the fourth or fifth century CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. (See Bantu expansion
Bantu expansion
The Bantu expansion or the Bantu Migration was a millennia-long series of migrations of speakers of the original proto-Bantu language group...

.) They displaced, conquered and absorbed the original Khoisan
Khoisan
Khoisan is a unifying name for two ethnic groups of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San and the pastoral Khoi...

 speakers, the Khoikhoi
Khoikhoi
The Khoikhoi or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen . They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD...

 and San
Bushmen
The indigenous people of Southern Africa, whose territory spans most areas of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola, are variously referred to as Bushmen, San, Sho, Barwa, Kung, or Khwe...

 peoples. The Bantu slowly moved south. The earliest ironworks
Ironworks
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and/or steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e...

 in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people. The Xhosa reached the Great Fish River
Great Fish River
The Great Fish River is a river running through the South African province of the Eastern Cape, it originates east of Graaff-Reinet and runs through Cradock, just south of this the Tarka River joins it...

, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 populations displaced or assimilated earlier peoples, who often had hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 societies.

Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. At the time of European contact, the dominant indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 were Bantu-speaking peoples who had migrated from other parts of Africa about one thousand years before. The two major historic groups were the Xhosa and Zulu peoples.

In 1487, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

 became the first European known to have reached southern Africa. On 4 December, he landed at Walfisch Bay (now known as Walvis Bay in present-day Namibia). This was south of the furthest point reached in 1485 by his predecessor, the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão (Cape Cross, north of the bay). Dias continued down the western cost of southern Africa. After 8 January 1488, prevented by storms from proceeding along the coast, he sailed out of sight of land and passed the southernmost point of Africa without seeing it. After he had reached as far up the eastern coast of Africa as what he called Rio do Infante, probably the present-day Groot River
Groot River (Eastern Cape)
The Groot River is a river in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces of South Africa.The Touws River tributary rises in the Matroosberg Mountains and flows east through the town of the same name and south into the Little Karoo, where it joins the Groot River...

, in May 1488 on his return he saw the Cape, which he first named Cabo das Tormentas (Cape of Storms). His King, John II
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

, renamed the point Cabo da Boa Esperança or Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

, as it led to the riches of the East Indies. Dias' feat of navigation was later memorialised in Luís de Camões
Luís de Camões
Luís Vaz de Camões is considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas...

' epic Portuguese poem, The Lusiads (1572).

Colonization


In 1652, a century and a half after the discovery of the Cape Sea Route, Jan van Riebeeck
Jan van Riebeeck
Johan Anthoniszoon "Jan" van Riebeeck was a Dutch colonial administrator and founder of Cape Town.-Biography:...

 established a refreshment station
History of Cape Colony
The written history of Cape Colony South Africa began when Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese navigator, discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. In 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed along the whole coast of South Africa on his way to India. The Portuguese, attracted by the riches of Asia, made no...

 at the Cape of Good Hope, at what would become Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

, on behalf of the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

. The Dutch transported slaves
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 from Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Madagascar, and India as labour for the colonists in Cape Town. As they expanded east, the Dutch settlers met the southwesterly migrating Xhosa people in the region of the Fish River. A series of wars, called the Cape Frontier Wars
Xhosa wars
The Xhosa Wars, also known as the Cape Frontier Wars, were a series of nine wars between the Xhosa people and European settlers, from 1779 to 1879 in what is now the Eastern Cape in South Africa....

, were fought over conflicting land and livestock interests.

The discovery of diamonds and later gold triggered the 19th-century conflict known as the Anglo-Boer War, as the Boers (original Dutch, Flemish
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

, German, and French settlers) and the British fought for the control of the South African mineral wealth. Cape Town became a British colony
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 in 1806. European settlement expanded during the 1820s as the Boers and the British 1820 Settlers
1820 Settlers
The 1820 Settlers were several groups or parties of white British colonists settled by the British government and the Cape authorities in the South African Eastern Cape in 1820....

 claimed land in the north and east of the country. Conflicts arose among the Xhosa, Zulu, and Afrikaner
Afrikaner
Afrikaners are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch, French and German settlers whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch, and a variety of other languages.-Related ethno-linguistic groups:The...

 groups who competed for territory.

Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 took over the Cape of Good Hope area in 1795, to prevent it from falling under control of the French First Republic
French First Republic
The French First Republic was founded on 22 September 1792, by the newly established National Convention. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First French Empire in 1804 under Napoleon I...

, which had invaded
Flanders Campaign
This feature refers to the conflict that took place during the Wars of the French Revolution 1792–1801.For the Low Countries campaigns of the War of the Grand Alliance 1688–97 see Nine Years' War...

 the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

. Given its standing interests in Australia and India, Great Britain wanted to use Cape Town as an interim port for its merchants' long voyages. The British returned Cape Town to the Dutch in 1803, but soon afterwards the Dutch East India Company declared bankruptcy.

The British annexed the Cape Colony in 1806 and continued the frontier wars against the Xhosa; the British pushed the eastern frontier through a line of forts established along the Fish River. They consolidated the territory by encouraging British settlement. Due to pressure of abolitionist
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 societies in Britain, the British parliament
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland...

 stopped its global slave trade
History of slavery
The history of slavery covers slave systems in historical perspective in which one human being is legally the property of another, can be bought or sold, is not allowed to escape and must work for the owner without any choice involved...

 with the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807 and then abolished slavery in all its colonies with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.

In the first two decades of the 19th century, the Zulu people grew in power and expanded their territory under their leader, Shaka
Shaka
Shaka kaSenzangakhona , also known as Shaka Zulu , was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom....

. Shaka’s warfare led indirectly to the Mfecane
Mfecane
Mfecane , also known by the Sesotho name Difaqane or Lifaqane, was a period of widespread chaos and warfare among indigenous tribes in southern Africa during the period between 1815 to about 1840....

 (“crushing”) that devastated and depopulated the inland plateau in the early 1820s. An offshoot of the Zulu, the Matabele people created a larger empire that included large parts of the highveld
Highveld
The Highveld is a high plateau region of inland South Africa which is largely home to the largest metropolitan area in the country, the Gauteng City Region, which accounts for one-third of South Africa's population.-Location and description:...

 under their king Mzilikazi
Mzilikazi
Mzilikazi , also sometimes called Mosilikatze, was a Southern African king who founded the Matabele kingdom , Matabeleland, in what became Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe. He was born the son of Matshobana near Mkuze, Zululand and died at Ingama, Matabeleland...

.

During the 1830s, approximately 12,000 Boers (later known as Voortrekkers
Voortrekkers
The Voortrekkers were emigrants during the 1830s and 1840s who left the Cape Colony moving into the interior of what is now South Africa...

), departed from the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take...

, where they had been subjected to British control. They migrated to the future Natal, Orange Free State
Orange Free State
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province...

, and Transvaal regions. The Boers founded the Boer Republics
Boer Republics
The Boer Republics were independent self-governed republics created by the northeastern frontier branch of the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the north eastern Cape Province and their descendants in mainly the northern and eastern parts of what is now the country of...

: the South African Republic
South African Republic
The South African Republic , often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African...

 (now Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West provinces) and the Orange Free State (Free State).

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1884 in the interior started the Mineral Revolution
Mineral Revolution
The Mineral Revolution is a term used by historians to refer to the rapid industrialisation and economic changes which occurred in South Africa from the 1870s onwards. The Mineral Revolution was largely driven by the need to create a permanent workforce to work in the mining industry, and saw South...

 and increased economic growth and immigration. This intensified the European-South African subjugation of the indigenous people. The struggle to control these important economic resources was a factor in relations between Europeans and the indigenous population and also between the Boers and the British.

Boer Wars



The Boer Republics successfully resisted British encroachments during the First Boer War
First Boer War
The First Boer War also known as the First Anglo-Boer War or the Transvaal War, was fought from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881-1877 annexation:...

 (1880–1881) using guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 tactics, which were well suited to local conditions. The British returned with greater numbers, more experience, and new strategy in the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 (1899–1902) but suffered heavy casualties through attrition
Attrition warfare
Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent side attempts to win a war by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and matériel....

, but were ultimately successful.

20th century



Within the country, anti-British policies among white South Africans focused on independence. During the Dutch and British colonial years, racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 was mostly informal, though some legislation were enacted to control the settlement and movement of native people, including the Native Location Act of 1879
Native Location Act of 1879
The Native Location Act of 1879 was an act of racial segregation in South Africa.-External links:* from Nelson Mandela.org...

 and the system of pass laws
Pass laws
Pass laws in South Africa were designed to segregate the population and limit severely the movements of the non-white populace. This legislation was one of the dominant features of the country's apartheid system. The Black population were required to carry these pass books with them when outside...

. Power was held by the ethnic European colonists.

After four years of negotiating, the South Africa Act 1909
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 the Transvaal Colony. The Act also made provisions for admitting Rhodesia as a fifth province of the Union in...

 created the Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

 from the Cape and Natal
Colony of Natal
The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on May 4, 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Republic of Natalia, and on 31 May 1910 combined with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa, as one of its...

 colonies, as well as the republics of Orange Free State and Transvaal, on 31 May 1910, eight years after the end of the Second Boer War. The newly created Union of South Africa was a dominion of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. The Natives' Land Act of 1913 severely restricted the ownership of land by blacks; at that stage natives controlled only 7% of the country. The amount of land reserved for indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 was later marginally increased.

In the Boer republics, from as early as the Pretoria Convention
Pretoria Convention
The Pretoria Convention was the peace treaty that ended the First Boer War between the Transvaal Boers and the United Kingdom. The treaty was signed in Pretoria on 3 August, 1881, but was subject to ratification by the Volksraad within 3 months from the date of signature...

 (chapter XXVI), and subsequent South African governments, the legislature passed legally institutionalised segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

, later known as apartheid. The government established three racial classes: white, coloured (people of Asian or mixed racial ancestry), and black, with rights and restrictions for each.

In 1931 the union was effectively granted independence from the United Kingdom with the passage of the Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

. In 1934, the South African Party and National Party
National Party (South Africa)
The National Party is a former political party in South Africa. Founded in 1914, it was the governing party of the country from 4 June 1948 until 9 May 1994. Members of the National Party were sometimes known as Nationalists or Nats. Its policies included apartheid, the establishment of a...

 merged to form the United Party
United Party (South Africa)
The United Party was South Africa's ruling political party between 1934 and 1948. It was formed by a merger of most of Prime Minister Barry Hertzog's National Party with the rival South African Party of Jan Smuts, plus the remnants of the Unionist Party...

, seeking reconciliation between Afrikaners and English-speaking "Whites". In 1939 the party split over the entry of the Union into World War II as an ally of the United Kingdom, a move which the National Party followers strongly opposed.

In 1948, the National Party was elected to power. It strengthened the racial segregation begun under Dutch and British colonial rule, and subsequent South African governments since the Union was formed. The Nationalist Government classified all peoples into three races, developed rights and limitations for each, such as pass laws and residential restrictions. The white minority controlled the vastly larger black majority. The system of segregation became known collectively as apartheid.

While the White minority enjoyed the highest standard of living
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

 in all of Africa, comparable to First World
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

 Western nations, the Black majority remained disadvantaged by almost every standard, including income, education, housing, and life expectancy. On 31 May 1961, following a whites-only referendum, the country became a republic and left the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

. Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, and the last Governor-General
Governor-General of the Union of South Africa
The Governor-General of the Union of South Africa was the representative of the British and later South African Crown in the Union of South Africa between 31 May 1910 and 31 May 1961...

 became State President
State President of South Africa
State President, or Staatspresident in Afrikaans, was the title of South Africa's head of state from 1961 to 1994. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be head of state...

.

Despite opposition both within and outside the country, the government legislated for a continuation of apartheid. Apartheid became increasingly controversial, and some Western nations and institutions began to boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

 doing business with South Africa because of its racial policies and oppression of civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

. International sanctions
International sanctions
International sanctions are actions taken by countries against others for political reasons, either unilaterally or multilaterally.There are several types of sanctions....

, divestment of holdings
Disinvestment from South Africa
Disinvestment from South Africa was first advocated in the 1960s, in protest of South Africa's system of Apartheid, but was not implemented on a significant scale until the mid 1980s...

 by investors accompanied growing unrest and oppression within South Africa. The government harshly oppressed resistance movements, and violence became widespread, with anti-apartheid activists using strikes, marches, protests, and sabotage
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

 by bombing and other means. The African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 (ANC) was a major resistance movement.

In the late 1970s, South Africa began a programme of nuclear weapons development
South Africa and weapons of mass destruction
From the 1960s to the 1980s, South Africa pursued research into weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Six nuclear weapons were assembled...

. In the following decade, it produced six deliverable nuclear weapons.

End of apartheid


The Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith
Mahlabatini Declaration
The Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith was a statement of core principles laid down by South African political leaders Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Harry Schwarz on 4 January 1974. It was signed in Mahlabatini, KwaZulu-Natal, hence its name...

, signed by Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi is a South African Zulu politician who founded the Inkatha Freedom Party in 1975 and continues to lead the party today.His praise name is Shenge.-Early life:...

 and Harry Schwarz
Harry Schwarz
Harry Heinz Schwarz was a South African lawyer, statesman and long-time political opposition leader against apartheid, who eventually served as the South African ambassador to the United States during the country’s transition to representative democracy.Schwarz rose from the childhood poverty he...

 in 1974, enshrined the principles of peaceful transition of power and equality for all, the first of such agreements by acknowledged black and white political leaders in South Africa. Ultimately, F. W. de Klerk negotiated with Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 in 1993 for a transition of policies and government.

In 1990 the National Party government took the first step towards dismantling discrimination when it lifted the ban on the African National Congress and other political organisations. It released Nelson Mandela from prison after twenty-seven years' serving a sentence for sabotage. A negotiation process followed. The government repealed apartheid legislation. South Africa destroyed its nuclear arsenal and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

. South Africa held its first universal elections in 1994
South African general election, 1994
The South African general election of 1994 was an election held in South Africa to mark the end of apartheid, therefore also the first held with universal adult suffrage. The election was conducted under the direction of the Independent Electoral Commission .Millions queued in lines over a three...

, which the ANC won by an overwhelming majority. It has been in power ever since. The country rejoined the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

.

Post-apartheid South Africa



In post-apartheid South Africa, unemployment has been extremely high as the country has struggled with many changes. While many blacks have risen to middle or upper classes, the overall unemployment rate of blacks worsened between 1994 and 2003. Poverty among whites, previously rare, increased. In addition, the current government has struggled to achieve the monetary and fiscal discipline to ensure both redistribution of wealth and economic growth. Since the ANC-led government took power, the United Nations Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 of South Africa has fallen, while it was steadily rising until the mid-1990s. Some may be attributed to the AIDS pandemic
AIDS pandemic
The acquired immune deficiency syndrome pandemic is a widespread disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus .Since AIDS was first recognized in 1981, it has led to the deaths of more than 25 million people, making it one of the most destructive diseases in recorded history.Despite recent...

, and the failure of the government to take steps to address it in the early years.

Government and politics


South Africa is a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

, although unlike most such republics the President
President of South Africa
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under South Africa's Constitution. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President....

 is both head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and depends for his tenure on the confidence
Confidence and supply
In a parliamentary democracy confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation votes by voting in favour...

 of Parliament
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....

. The executive, legislature and judiciary are all subject to the supremacy of the Constitution
Constitution of South Africa
The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the country of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the government. The current constitution, the country's fifth, was...

, and the superior courts have the power to strike down executive actions and acts of Parliament if they are unconstitutional.

The National Assembly
National Assembly of South Africa
The National Assembly is the lower house of the Parliament of South Africa, located in Cape Town, Western Cape Province. It consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members...

, the lower house of Parliament, consists of 400 members and is elected every five years by a system of party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems emphasizing proportional representation in elections in which multiple candidates are elected...

. In the most recent election
South African general election, 2009
South Africa held national and provincial elections to elect a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province on 22 April 2009....

, held on 22 April 2009, the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 (ANC) won 65.9% of the vote and 264 seats, while the main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) won 16.7% of the vote and 67 seats. The National Council of Provinces
National Council of Provinces
The National Council of Provinces is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa under the constitution which came into full effect in 1997...

, the upper house, consists of ninety members, with each of the nine provincial legislatures
Provincial legislature (South Africa)
In South Africa, a provincial legislature is the legislative branch of the government of a province. The provincial legislatures are unicameral and vary in size from 30 to 80 members depending on the population of the province...

 electing ten members.

After each parliamentary election, the National Assembly elects one of its members as President; hence the President serves a term of office the same as that of the Assembly, normally five years. No President may serve more than two terms in office. The President appoints a Deputy President
Deputy President of South Africa
The Deputy President of South Africa is the acting President of South Africa when the President is outside the country's borders, unable to fulfill the duties of the office, or when the Presidency is vacant. The Deputy President is also a member of the National Assembly and the Cabinet...

 and Ministers
Minister (government)
A minister is a politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional government. Senior ministers are members of the cabinet....

, who form the Cabinet. The President and the Cabinet may be removed by the National Assembly by a motion of no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

.

The judicial system consists of the magistrates' courts, which hear lesser criminal cases and smaller civil cases; the High Courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction
General jurisdiction
A court of general jurisdiction is one that has the authority to hear cases of all kinds - criminal, civil, family, probate, and so forth.-Courts of general jurisdiction in the United States:All federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Many U.S...

 for specific areas; the Supreme Court of Appeal
Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa
The Supreme Court of Appeal is an appellate court in South Africa; it is the highest appeal court except in constitutional matters, which are ultimately decided by the Constitutional Court...

, which is the highest court in all but constitutional matters; and the Constitutional Court
Constitutional Court of South Africa
The Constitutional Court of South Africa was established in 1994 by South Africa's first democratic constitution: the Interim Constitution of 1993. In terms of the 1996 Constitution the Constitutional Court established in 1994 continues to hold office. The court began its first sessions in February...

, which hears only constitutional matters.
South Africa has three capital cities: Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

, as the seat of Parliament, is the legislative capital; Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

, as the seat of the President and Cabinet, is the administrative capital; and Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals – the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.Bloemfontein is popularly and...

, as the seat of the Supreme Court of Appeal, is the judicial capital.

The primary sources of South African law are Roman-Dutch mercantile law and personal law with English Common law, as imports of Dutch settlements and British colonialism. The first European based law in South Africa was brought by the Dutch East India Company and is called Roman-Dutch law. It was imported before the codification of European law into the Napoleonic Code
Napoleonic code
The Napoleonic Code — or Code Napoléon — is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified...

 and is comparable in many ways to Scots law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

. This was followed in the 19th century by English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

, both common
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 and statutory
Statutory law
Statutory law or statute law is written law set down by a legislature or by a legislator .Statutes may originate with national, state legislatures or local municipalities...

. Starting in 1910 with unification, South Africa had its own parliament which passed laws specific for South Africa, building on those previously passed for the individual member colonies. During the years of apartheid, the country's political scene was dominated by figures like B. J. Vorster and P. W. Botha, as well as opposition figures such as Harry Schwarz
Harry Schwarz
Harry Heinz Schwarz was a South African lawyer, statesman and long-time political opposition leader against apartheid, who eventually served as the South African ambassador to the United States during the country’s transition to representative democracy.Schwarz rose from the childhood poverty he...

, Joe Slovo
Joe Slovo
For Joe Slovo Informal Settlement in Cape Town, see: Joe Slovo .Joe Slovo was a South African politician, long-time leader of the South African Communist Party , and leading member of the African National Congress.-Life:Slovo was born in Obeliai, Lithuania to a Jewish family who emigrated to South...

 and Helen Suzman
Helen Suzman
Helen Suzman, DBE was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician.-Biography:Helen Suzman, a life-long citizen of South Africa, was born as Helen Gavronsky in 1917 to Jewish immigrants....

.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South African politics have been dominated by the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 (ANC), which has been the dominant party with 60–70% of the vote. The main challenger to the rule of the ANC is the Democratic Alliance. The National Party
National Party (South Africa)
The National Party is a former political party in South Africa. Founded in 1914, it was the governing party of the country from 4 June 1948 until 9 May 1994. Members of the National Party were sometimes known as Nationalists or Nats. Its policies included apartheid, the establishment of a...

, which ruled from 1948 to 1994, renamed itself in 1997 to the New National Party, and chose to merge with the ANC in 2005. Other major political parties represented in Parliament are the Congress of the People, which split from the ANC and won 7.4% of the vote in 2009, and the Inkatha Freedom Party
Inkatha Freedom Party
The Inkatha Freedom Party is a political party in South Africa. Since its founding, it has been led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi. It is currently the fourth largest party in the National Assembly of South Africa.-History:...

, which mainly represents Zulu voters and took 4.6% of the vote in the 2009 election.

Since 2004, the country has had many thousands of popular protests, some violent, making it, according to one academic, the "most protest-rich country in the world". Many of these protests have been organised from the growing shanty town
Shanty town
A shanty town is a slum settlement of impoverished people who live in improvised dwellings made from scrap materials: often plywood, corrugated metal and sheets of plastic...

s that surround South African cities.

In 2008, South Africa placed 5th out of 48 sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

n countries on the Ibrahim Index of African Governance
Ibrahim Index of African Governance
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is an attempt to statistically monitor African governance levels throughout all the countries of Africa. Funded and led by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, it uses a number of different indicators to compile an overall ranking of countries, which is designed to be...

. South Africa scored well in the categories of Rule of Law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

, Transparency
Transparency (social)
Transparency is a general quality. It is implemented by a set of policies, practices and procedures that allow citizens to have accessibility, usability, utility, understandability, informativeness and auditability of information and process held by centers of authority...

 & Corruption and Participation
Participation (decision making)
Participation in social science refers to different mechanisms for the public to express opinions - and ideally exert influence - regarding political, economic, management or other social decisions. Participatory decision making can take place along any realm of human social activity, including...

 & Human Rights, but was let down by its relatively poor performance in Safety & Security. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African governance, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens.

Provinces




At the end of apartheid in 1994, the "independent" and "semi-independent" Bantustans were abolished, as were the four original provinces (Cape
Cape Province
The Province of the Cape of Good Hope was a province in the Union of South Africa and subsequently the Republic of South Africa...

, Natal
Natal Province
Natal, meaning "Christmas" in Portuguese, was a province of South Africa from 1910 until 1994. Its capital was Pietermaritzburg. The Natal Province included the bantustan of KwaZulu...

, Orange Free State
Orange Free State Province
Orange Free State Province was one of the four provinces of South Africa from 1910-1994.Its predecessor was the Orange River Colony.In 1994 it was dissolved. Its borders were largely conterminous with those of the modern Free State Province...

 and Transvaal
Transvaal Province
Transvaal Province was a province of the Union of South Africa from 1910 to 1961, and of its successor, the Republic of South Africa, from 1961 until the end of apartheid in 1994 when a new constitution subdivided it.-History:...

), and nine new provinces were created. Each province is governed by a unicameral legislature
Provincial legislature (South Africa)
In South Africa, a provincial legislature is the legislative branch of the government of a province. The provincial legislatures are unicameral and vary in size from 30 to 80 members depending on the population of the province...

, which is elected every five years by party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems emphasizing proportional representation in elections in which multiple candidates are elected...

. The legislature elects a Premier
Premier (South Africa)
In South Africa, a Premier is the head of government of one of South Africa's nine provinces. The Premier of a province plays for that province a role similar to that played by the President for the country as a whole.-Election:...

 as head of government, and the Premier appoints an Executive Council
Executive Council (South Africa)
In South Africa, the Executive Council of a province is the cabinet-equivalent in the provincial government. The Executive Council consists of the Premier and five to ten other members, who have the title "Member of the Executive Council", commonly abbreviated to "MEC".MECs are appointed by the...

 as a provincial cabinet. The powers of provincial governments are limited to topics listed in the Constitution; these topics include such fields as health, education, public housing and transport.
Province Capital Largest city Area (km²) Population (2011 est.)
Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bhisho, but its two largest cities are Port Elizabeth and East London. It was formed in 1994 out of the "independent" Xhosa homelands of Transkei and Ciskei, together with the eastern portion of the Cape Province...

 
Bhisho  Port Elizabeth  168,966 6,829,958
Free State
Free State
The Free State is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, which is also South Africa's judicial capital. Its historical origins lie in the Orange Free State Boer republic and later Orange Free State Province. The current borders of the province date from 1994 when the Bantustans...

 
Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals – the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.Bloemfontein is popularly and...

 
Bloemfontein 129,825 2,759,644
Gauteng
Gauteng
Gauteng is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. It was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa's first all-race elections on 27 April 1994...

 
Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

 
Johannesburg 18,178 11,328,203
KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal is a province of South Africa. Prior to 1994, the territory now known as KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the province of Natal and the homeland of KwaZulu....

 
Pietermaritzburg
Pietermaritzburg
Pietermaritzburg is the capital and second largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was founded in 1838, and is currently governed by the Msunduzi Local Municipality. Its "purist" Zulu name is umGungundlovu, and this is the name used for the district municipality...

 
Durban
Durban
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism...

 
94,361 10,819,130
Limpopo
Limpopo
Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa. The capital is Polokwane, formerly named Pietersburg. The province was formed from the northern region of Transvaal Province in 1994, and initially named Northern Transvaal...

 
Polokwane
Polokwane
Polokwane, meaning "Place of Safety",is a city in the Polokwane Local Municipality and the capital of the Limpopo province, South Africa. It is also often referred to by its former name, Pietersburg. Polokwane is a major urban centre, the biggest and most important north of Gauteng. The population...

 
Polokwane 125,754 5,554,657
Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga , is a province of South Africa. The name means east or literally "the place where the sun rises" in Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu. Mpumalanga lies in eastern South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal and bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. It constitutes 6.5% of South Africa's land area...

 
Nelspruit
Nelspruit
Nelspruit is a city of more than 500,000 people situated in northeastern South Africa. It is the capital of the Mpumalanga province . Located on the Crocodile River, Nelspruit lies about west of the Mozambique border and east of Johannesburg. The towns of Nelspruit are Kanyamazane and Pienaar...

 
Nelspruit 76,495 3,657,181
North West
North West (South African province)
North West is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Mafikeng. The province is located to the west of the major population centre of Gauteng.-History:...

 
Mafikeng
Mafikeng
Mahikeng – formerly legally, but still commonly known as Mafikeng – is the capital city of the North-West Province of South Africa. It is best known internationally for the Siege of Mafeking, the most famous engagement of the Second Boer War.Located on South Africa's border with Botswana, it is ...

 
Rustenburg  104,882 3,253,390
Northern Cape
Northern Cape
The Northern Cape is the largest and most sparsely populated province of South Africa. It was created in 1994 when the Cape Province was split up. Its capital is Kimberley. It includes the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, part of an international park shared with Botswana...

 
Kimberley  Kimberley 372,889 1,096,731
Western Cape
Western Cape
The Western Cape is a province in the south west of South Africa. The capital is Cape Town. Prior to 1994, the region that now forms the Western Cape was part of the much larger Cape Province...

 
Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

 
Cape Town 129,462 5,287,863


The provinces are in turn divided into 52 districts
Districts of South Africa
South Africa is divided into 52 districts . The 12th amendment to the Constitution reduced this number from 53. Another effect of this amendment is that each district is now completely contained within a province, thus eliminating cross-border districts. The districts also cover the entire area of...

: 8 metropolitan
Metropolitan municipality (South Africa)
In South Africa, a metropolitan municipality or Category A municipality is a municipality which executes all the functions of local government for a city or conurbation...

 and 44 district municipalities
District municipality (South Africa)
In South Africa, a district municipality or Category C municipality is a municipality which executes some of the functions of local government for a district. The district municipality will in turn comprise several local municipalities, with which it shares the functions of local government...

. The district municipalities are further subdivided into 226 local municipalities
Local municipality (South Africa)
In South Africa, a local municipality or Category B municipality is a type of municipality that serves as the third, and most local, tier of local government...

. The metropolitan municipalities, which govern the largest urban agglomerations, perform the functions of both district and local municipalities.

Military affairs



The South African National Defence Force
South African National Defence Force
The South African National Defence Force is the armed forces of South Africa. The military as it exists today was created in 1994, following South Africa's first post-apartheid national elections and the adoption of a new constitution...

 (SANDF) was created in 1994, as an all volunteer force composed of the former South African Defence Force
South African Defence Force
The South African Defence Force was the South African armed forces from 1957 until 1994. The former Union Defence Force was renamed to the South African Defence Force in the Defence Act of 1957...

, the forces of the African nationalist groups (Umkhonto we Sizwe
Umkhonto we Sizwe
Umkhonto we Sizwe , translated "Spear of the Nation," was the armed wing of the African National Congress which fought against the South African apartheid government. MK launched its first guerrilla attacks against government installations on 16 December 1961...

 and Azanian People's Liberation Army
Azanian People's Liberation Army
The Azanian People's Liberation Army was the military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress in South Africa. It was originally called Poqo.-History:...

), and the former Bantustan defence forces. The SANDF is subdivided into four branches, the South African Army
South African Army
The South African Army is the army of South Africa, first formed after the Union of South Africa was created in 1910.The South African military evolved within the tradition of frontier warfare fought by commando forces, reinforced by the Afrikaners' historical distrust of large standing armies...

, the South African Air Force
South African Air Force
The South African Air Force is the air force of South Africa, with headquarters in Pretoria. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra...

, the South African Navy
South African Navy
The South African Navy is the navy of the Republic of South Africa.-Formation:The South African Navy can trace its official origins back to the SA Naval Service, which was established on 1 April 1922....

, and the South African Medical Service. In recent years, the SANDF has become a major peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 force in Africa, and has been involved in operations in Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

, and Burundi, amongst others. It has also served in multi-national UN peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 forces.

South Africa is the only African country to have successfully developed nuclear weapons
South Africa and weapons of mass destruction
From the 1960s to the 1980s, South Africa pursued research into weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Six nuclear weapons were assembled...

. It became the first country (followed by Ukraine) with nuclear capability to voluntarily renounce and dismantle its programme and in the process signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 in 1991. South Africa undertook a nuclear weapons programme
South African nuclear program
As a member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, South Africa uses nuclear science for peaceful means. The South African nuclear program includes both nuclear energy and nuclear medicine...

 in the 1970s According to former state president FW de Klerk, the decision to build a "nuclear deterrent" was taken "as early as 1974 against a backdrop of a Soviet expansionist threat." South Africa may have conducted
Vela Incident
The Vela Incident was an unidentified "double flash" of light that was detected by an American Vela Hotel satellite on September 22, 1979....

 a nuclear test over the Atlantic in 1979, though De Klerk asserted that South Africa had "never conducted a clandestine nuclear test." Six nuclear devices were completed between 1980 and 1990, but all were destroyed before South Africa signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 in 1991.

International relations



As the Union of South Africa, the country was a founding member of the United Nations. The then Prime Minister Jan Smuts
Jan Smuts
Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRS, PC was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948...

 wrote the preamble to the United Nations Charter
Preamble to the United Nations Charter
The Preamble to the United Nations Charter is the opening of the United Nations Charter.-History:Jan Smuts originally wrote the opening lines of the Preamble as, "The High Contracting Parties, determined to prevent a recurrence of the fratricidal strife which twice in our generation has brought...

. The country is one of the founding members of the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 (AU), and has the largest economy of all the members. It is also a founding member of the AU's New Partnership for Africa's Development
New Partnership for Africa's Development
The New Partnership for Africa's Development is an economic development program of the African Union. NEPAD was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia...

 (NEPAD). South Africa has played a key role as a mediator in African conflicts over the last decade, such as in Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Comoros
Comoros
The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar...

, and Zimbabwe. After apartheid ended, South Africa was readmitted to the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

. The country is a member of the Group of 77
Group of 77
The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization has...

 and chaired the organisation in 2006. South Africa is also a member of the Southern African Development Community
Southern African Development Community
The Southern African Development Community is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states...

, South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone
South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone
The South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone was created in 1986 through a UN resolution on Brazil's initiative, with the aim of promoting regional cooperation and the maintenance of peace and security in the region...

, Southern African Customs Union
Southern African Customs Union
The Southern African Customs Union is a customs union among five countries of Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.-History:SACU is the oldest still existing customs union in the world...

, Antarctic Treaty System
Antarctic Treaty System
The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land...

, World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

, International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, G20
G20 industrial nations
The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies: 19 countries plus the European Union, which is represented by the President of the European Council and by the European Central Bank...

 and G8+5
G8+5
The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government from the G8 nations , plus the heads of government of the five leading emerging economies .-February 2007 Declaration:On February 16, 2007, The Global Legislators Organisation The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government...

.
South African President Jacob Zuma and Chinese President Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

 upgraded bilateral ties between the two countries on 24 August 2010, when they signed the Beijing Agreement, which elevated South Africa's earlier "strategic partnership" with China to the higher level of "comprehensive strategic partnership" in both economic and political affairs, including the strengthening of exchanges between their respective ruling parties and legislatures. In April 2011, South Africa formally joined the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRICS
BRICS
BRICS is an international political organisation of leading emerging economies, arising out of the inclusion of South Africa into the BRIC group in 2010. As of 2011, its five members are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa...

) grouping of countries, identified by President Zuma as the country's largest trading partners, and also the largest trading partners with Africa as a whole. All five BRICS member countries are currently on the UN Security Council; Brazil, India and South Africa as non-permanent members. Zuma asserted that BRICS member countries would also work with each other through the UN, the Group of Twenty (G20) and the India, Brazil South Africa (IBSA) forum.

Geography and environment


South Africa is located at the southernmost region of Africa, with a long coastline that stretches more than abbr=on 2500 and along two oceans (the South Atlantic and the Indian). At abbr=on 1219912, South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world and is comparable in size to Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

. Mafadi
Mafadi
Mafadi is a peak on the border of South Africa and Lesotho. At a height of , it is the highest mountain in South Africa, but is lower than Thabana Ntlenyana, the highest peak in Lesotho which is, at , the highest point in Southern Africa...

 in the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to in height. In Zulu, it is referred to as uKhahlamba , and in Sesotho as Maluti...

 at abbr=on 3450 is the highest peak in South Africa. Excluding the Prince Edward Islands
Prince Edward Islands
The Prince Edward Islands are two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean that are part of South Africa. The islands, named Marion Island and Prince Edward Island, are located at ....

, the country lies between latitudes 22°
22nd parallel south
The 22nd parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 22 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean and South America....

 and 35°S
35th parallel south
The 35th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 35 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean and South America....

, and longitudes 16°
16th meridian east
The meridian 16° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 33°E
33rd meridian east
The meridian 33° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Turkey, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

The interior of South Africa is a vast, flat, and sparsely populated scrubland, the Karoo
Karoo
The Karoo is a semi-desert region of South Africa. It has two main sub-regions - the Great Karoo in the north and the Little Karoo in the south. The 'High' Karoo is one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger South African Platform division.-Great Karoo:The Great Karoo has an area of...

, which is drier towards the northwest along the Namib desert. In contrast, the eastern coastline is lush and well-watered, which produces a climate similar to the tropics.

To the north of Johannesburg, the altitude drops beyond the escarpment of the Highveld, and turns into the lower lying Bushveld, an area of mixed dry forest and an abundance of wildlife. East of the Highveld, beyond the eastern escarpment, the Lowveld stretches towards the Indian Ocean. It has particularly high temperatures, and is also the location of extended subtropical agriculture.

South Africa also has one possession, the small sub-Antarctic archipelago of the Prince Edward Islands
Prince Edward Islands
The Prince Edward Islands are two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean that are part of South Africa. The islands, named Marion Island and Prince Edward Island, are located at ....

, consisting of Marion Island (abbr=on 290) and Prince Edward Island (abbr=on 45) (not to be confused with the Canadian province of the same name
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

).

Climate


South Africa has a generally temperate climate, due in part to being surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides, by its location in the climatically milder southern hemisphere
Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' or "half sphere"...

 and due to the average elevation rising steadily towards the north (towards the equator) and further inland. Due to this varied topography and oceanic influence, a great variety of climatic zones exist. Winters in South Africa occur between June and August.

The climatic zones vary, from the extreme desert of the southern Namib
Namib Desert
The Namib Desert is a desert in Namibia and southwest Angola that forms part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the largest game reserve in Africa. The name "Namib" is of Nama origin and means "vast place"...

 in the farthest northwest to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the Mozambique border and the Indian ocean. From the east, the land quickly rises over a mountainous escarpment towards the interior plateau known as the Highveld
Highveld
The Highveld is a high plateau region of inland South Africa which is largely home to the largest metropolitan area in the country, the Gauteng City Region, which accounts for one-third of South Africa's population.-Location and description:...

. Even though South Africa is classified as semi-arid, there is considerable variation in climate as well as topography.

The extreme southwest has a climate remarkably similar to that of the Mediterranean with wet winters and hot, dry summers, hosting the famous Fynbos
Fynbos
Fynbos is the natural shrubland or heathland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, mainly in winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate...

 Biome
Biome
Biomes are climatically and geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, and are often referred to as ecosystems. Some parts of the earth have more or less the same kind of abiotic and biotic factors spread over a...

 of grassland and thicket
Albany thickets
The Albany thickets are an ecoregion of dense woodland near the southern point of South Africa, concentrated around the Albany region of the Eastern Cape .-Location and description:...

. This area also produces much of the wine in South Africa. This region is also particularly known for its wind, which blows intermittently almost all year. The severity of this wind made passing around the Cape of Good Hope particularly treacherous for sailors, causing many shipwrecks. Further east on the south coast, rainfall is distributed more evenly throughout the year, producing a green landscape. This area is popularly known as the Garden Route
Garden Route
The Garden Route is a popular stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. It stretches from Heidelberg in the Western Cape to the Storms River which is crossed along the N2 coastal highway over the Paul Sauer Bridge in the extreme western reach of the neighbouring Eastern Cape...

.

The Free State is particularly flat because it lies centrally on the high plateau. North of the Vaal River
Vaal River
The Vaal River is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. The river has its source in the Drakensberg mountains in Mpumalanga, east of Johannesburg and about 30 km north of Ermelo and only about 240 km from the Indian Ocean. It then flows westwards to its conjunction...

, the Highveld becomes better watered and does not experience subtropical extremes of heat. Johannesburg, in the centre of the Highveld, is at abbr=on 1740 and receives an annual rainfall of abbr=on 760. Winters in this region are cold, although snow is rare.

The high Drakensberg mountains, which form the south-eastern escarpment of the Highveld, offer limited skiing opportunities in winter. The coldest place in South Africa is Sutherland
Sutherland, Northern Cape
- External links :* * *...

 in the western Roggeveld Mountains
Roggeveld Mountains
The Roggeveld Mountains is a mountain range situated mainly in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The range is named after the Roggeveld plateau, lying east of the eponymous mountain range. Unmarked on many regional maps, it occupies a remote part of the Northern Cape, seldom visited by...

, where midwinter temperatures can reach as low as abbr=on -15. The deep interior has the hottest temperatures: a temperature of abbr=on 51.7 was recorded in 1948 in the Northern Cape Kalahari near Upington
Upington, Northern Cape
Upington is a town founded in 1884 and located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, on the banks of the Orange River. The town was named after Sir Thomas Upington, Attorney-General and then Prime Minister of the Cape. It originated as a mission station established in 1875 and run by...

.

Flora and fauna



South Africa is ranked sixth out of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries
Megadiverse countries
The megadiverse countries are a group of countries that harbor the majority of the Earth's species and are therefore considered extremely biodiverse...

, with more than 20,000 different plants, or about 10% of all the known species of plants on Earth, making it particularly rich in plant biodiversity. The most prevalent biome in South Africa is the grassland, particularly on the Highveld
Highveld
The Highveld is a high plateau region of inland South Africa which is largely home to the largest metropolitan area in the country, the Gauteng City Region, which accounts for one-third of South Africa's population.-Location and description:...

, where the plant cover is dominated by different grasses
Poaceae
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...

, low shrubs, and acacia trees, mainly camel-thorn and whitethorn. Vegetation becomes even more sparse towards the northwest due to low rainfall
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

. There are several species of water-storing succulents like aloe
Aloe
Aloe , also Aloë, is a genus containing about 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most common and well known of these is Aloe vera, or "true aloe"....

s and euphorbias in the very hot and dry Namaqualand
Namaqualand
Namaqualand is an arid region of Namibia and South Africa, extending along the west coast over and covering a total area of 170,000 square miles/440,000 km². It is divided by the lower course of the Orange River into two portions - Little Namaqualand to the south and Great Namaqualand to the...

 area. The grass and thorn savannah
Savannah
Savannah or savanna is a type of grassland.It can also mean:-People:* Savannah King, a Canadian freestyle swimmer* Savannah Outen, a singer who gained popularity on You Tube...

 turns slowly into a bush savannah towards the north-east of the country, with denser growth. There are significant numbers of baobab
Baobab
Adansonia is a genus of eight species of tree, six native to Madagascar, one native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and one to Australia. The mainland African species also occurs on Madagascar, but it is not a native of that island....

 trees in this area, near the northern end of Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers and extends from north to south and from east to west.To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is...

.

The Fynbos
Fynbos
Fynbos is the natural shrubland or heathland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, mainly in winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate...

 Biome, which makes up the majority of the area and plant life in the Cape floristic region
Cape floristic region
The Cape Floristic Region is a floristic region located near the southern tip of South Africa. It is the only floristic region of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, and includes only one floristic province, known as the Cape Floristic Province.The Cape Floristic Region, the smallest of the six recognised...

, one of the six floral kingdoms, is located in a small region of the Western Cape
Western Cape
The Western Cape is a province in the south west of South Africa. The capital is Cape Town. Prior to 1994, the region that now forms the Western Cape was part of the much larger Cape Province...

 and contains more than 9,000 of those species, making it among the richest regions on earth in terms of floral biodiversity. The majority of the plants are evergreen hard-leaf plants with fine, needle-like leaves, such as the sclerophyllous plants. Another uniquely South African plant is the protea
Protea
Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of flowering plants, sometimes also called sugarbushes.-Etymology:...

 genus of flowering plants. There are around 130 different species of protea
Protea
Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of flowering plants, sometimes also called sugarbushes.-Etymology:...

 in South Africa.

While South Africa has a great wealth of flowering plants, only 1% of South Africa is forest, almost exclusively in the humid coastal plain of KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Cape coastal forest mosaic
The Kwazulu-Cape coastal forest mosaic is a subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of South Africa. It covers an area of in South Africa's Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces....

, where there are also areas of Southern Africa mangroves
Southern Africa mangroves
The Southern Africa mangroves are an ecoregion of mangrove swamps in rivers and estuaries on the eastern coast of South Africa.-Location and description:...

 in river mouths. There are even smaller reserves of forests that are out of the reach of fire, known as montane forests
Knysna-Amatole montane forests
The Knysna-Amatole montane forests ecoregion, of the Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Biome, is in South Africa. It covers an Afromontane area of in South Africa's Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces.-Setting:...

. Plantations of imported tree species are predominant, particularly the non-native eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

 and pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

. South Africa has lost a large area of natural habitat in the last four decades, primarily due to overpopulation, sprawling development patterns and deforestation during the nineteenth century. South Africa is one of the worst affected countries in the world when it comes to invasion by alien species with many (e.g. Black Wattle, Port Jackson
Acacia saligna
Acacia saligna, commonly known by various names including coojong, golden wreath wattle, orange wattle, blue-leafed wattle, Western Australian golden wattle, and, in Africa, Port Jackson willow, is a small tree in the family Fabaceae...

, Hakea
Hakea
Hakea is a genus of 149 species of shrubs and small trees in the Proteaceae, native to Australia. They are found throughout the country, with the highest species diversity being found in the south west of Western Australia....

, Lantana
Lantana
Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region. The genus includes both...

 and Jacaranda
Jacaranda
Jacaranda is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America , Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It is also found in Asia, especially in Nepal...

) posing a significant threat to the native biodiversity and the already scarce water resources. The original temperate forest
Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
Mixed forests are a temperate and humid biome. The typical structure of these forests includes four layers. The uppermost layer is the canopy composed of tall mature trees ranging from 33 to 66 m high. Below the canopy is the three-layered, shade-tolerant understory that is roughly 9 to...

 found by the first European settlers was exploited ruthlessly until only small patches remained. Currently, South African hardwood trees like Real Yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius), stinkwood
Ocotea bullata
Ocotea bullata is a species of flowering tree in the family Lauraceae, native to South Africa. It produces very fine and valuable timber which, along with Yellowood, was much sought after to make traditional furniture. Due to over-exploitation it is now a protected species. Other names for it are...

 (Ocotea bullata), and South African Black Ironwood
Olea laurifolia
Olea laurifolia is a species of flowering plant belonging to the olive family Oleaceae. It is native to KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa....

 (Olea laurifolia) are under government protection.

Numerous mammals are found in the bushveld
Bushveld
The Bushveld is a sub-tropical woodland ecoregion of Southern Africa that encompasses most of Limpopo Province and a small part of the North West Province of South Africa, the Central and North-East Districts of Botswana and the Matabeleland South and part of th Matabeleland North provinces of...

 including lions, leopards, white rhinos, blue wildebeest
Blue Wildebeest
The Blue Wildebeest , also called the Common Wildebeest, is a large antelope and one of two species of wildebeest. It grows to 115–145 cm shoulder height and attains a body mass of 168–274 kg. They range the open plains, bushveld and dry woodlands of Southern and East Africa, living for...

, kudu
Kudu
The kudus are two species of antelope of the genus Tragelaphus:*Lesser Kudu, Tragelaphus imberbis*Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros- Etymology :...

s, impala
Impala
An impala is a medium-sized African antelope. The name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "gazelle"...

s, hyena
Hyena
Hyenas or Hyaenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae of suborder feliforms of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora , and one of the smallest in the mammalia...

s, hippopotamus and giraffes. A significant extent of the bushveld
Bushveld
The Bushveld is a sub-tropical woodland ecoregion of Southern Africa that encompasses most of Limpopo Province and a small part of the North West Province of South Africa, the Central and North-East Districts of Botswana and the Matabeleland South and part of th Matabeleland North provinces of...

 exists in the north-east including Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers and extends from north to south and from east to west.To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is...

 and the Mala Mala Reserve, as well as in the far north in the Waterberg Biosphere
Waterberg Biosphere
The Waterberg Biosphere is a massif of approximately 15,000 square kilometers in north Limpopo Province, South Africa. Waterberg is the first region in the northern part of South Africa to be named as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The extensive rock formation was shaped by hundreds of millions of...

. Statistics from South African National Parks show a record 333 rhinos have been killed in 2010.

Climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 is expected to bring considerable warming and drying to much of this already semi-arid region, with greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves
Heat wave
A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. There is no universal definition of a heat wave; the term is relative to the usual weather in the area...

, flooding and drought. According to computer generated climate modelling produced by the South African National Biodiversity Institute parts of southern Africa will see an increase in temperature by about one degree Celsius along the coast to more than four degrees Celsius in the already hot hinterland such as the Northern Cape
Northern Cape
The Northern Cape is the largest and most sparsely populated province of South Africa. It was created in 1994 when the Cape Province was split up. Its capital is Kimberley. It includes the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, part of an international park shared with Botswana...

 in late spring and summertime by 2050.

The Cape Floral Kingdom has been identified as one of the global biodiversity hotspots since it will be hit very hard by climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 and has such a great diversity of life. Drought, increased intensity and frequency of fire and climbing temperatures are expected to push many of these rare species towards extinction.

South Africa houses many endemic species, among them the critically endangered Riverine Rabbit
Riverine Rabbit
The Riverine Rabbit , also known as the Bushman Rabbit or Bushman Hare, is one of the rarest and most endangered mammals in the world, with probably no more than 200 individuals left. This rabbit has an extremely limited distribution area, found only in the central and southern regions of the Karoo...

 (Bunolagus monticullaris) in the Karoo
Karoo
The Karoo is a semi-desert region of South Africa. It has two main sub-regions - the Great Karoo in the north and the Little Karoo in the south. The 'High' Karoo is one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger South African Platform division.-Great Karoo:The Great Karoo has an area of...

.

Economy



South Africa has a mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

 with high rate of poverty and low GDP per capita. Unemployment is extremely high and South Africa is ranked in the top 10 countries in the world for income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient
Gini coefficient
The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability" ....

. During 1995–2003, the number of formal jobs decreased and informal jobs increased; overall unemployment worsened. In 2000 the average white household was earning six times more than the average black household.

The government's Black Economic Empowerment
Black Economic Empowerment
Black Economic Empowerment is a programme launched by the South African government to redress the inequalities of Apartheid by giving previously disadvantaged groups economic opportunities previously not available to them...

 policies have drawn criticism from the Development Bank of Southern Africa's lead economist for focusing "almost exclusively on promoting individual ownership by black people (which) does little to address broader economic disparities, though the rich may become more diverse." Official affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 policies have seen a rise in black economic wealth and an emerging black middle class. Other problems include state ownership and interference, which impose high barriers to entry in many areas. Restrictive labour regulations have contributed to the unemployment malaise.

After 1994 government policy brought down inflation, stabilised public finances, and some foreign capital was attracted, however growth was still subpar. From 2004 onward economic growth picked up significantly; both employment and capital formation
Capital formation
Capital formation is a concept used in macroeconomics, national accounts and financial economics. Occasionally it is also used in corporate accounts. It can be defined in three ways:...

 increased.

South Africa is a popular tourist destination
Tourist destination
A tourist destination is a city, town, or other area that is dependent to a significant extent on the revenues accruing from tourism. It may contain one or more tourist attractions and possibly some "tourist traps."...

, and a substantial amount of revenue comes from tourism. Illegal immigrants are involved in informal trading. Many immigrants to South Africa continue to live in poor conditions, and the immigration policy has become increasingly restrictive since 1994.

Principal international trading partners of South Africa—besides other African countries—include Germany, the United States, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Income and human development


South Africa is a developing country with a wide income gap between its wealthiest citizens and its poorest. World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 research shows that South Africa has one of the widest gaps between per capita GNP
GNP
Gross National Product is the market value of all products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the residents of a country...

 versus its Human Development Index ranking, with only Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 showing a larger gap. One study using calculations based on National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) data suggests that 47% of South Africans live below the poverty line: 56% of blacks live in poverty compared to 2% of whites, using an arbitrary income poverty line of R502 per capita. The United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 (HDI) ranked South Africa 110 out of 169 countries in 2010. The report notes, however, that the region's assessment has improved slowly since 1980. The HDI includes a Human Poverty Index (HPI-1), which ranked South Africa 85 out of 135 countries.

The HPI-1 includes the following human poverty indicators:
Indicator Percentage International ranking (2010)
Probability of not surviving to age 40 36 143
Adult illiteracy rate (15 years and older) 12 80
People not using an improved water source 7 56
Children underweight for age (aged 5 years and younger) 12 68

Income inequality in South Africa is strongly influenced by the country's Apartheid legacy and large differences can be identified along racial lines, unlike other countries in the region. The number of South Africans living below the poverty line, identified according to Apartheid-era social categories, was calculated in one study as 56% "black", 27% "coloured", 9% "India", and 2% "white". In the past inequality in South Africa was largely defined along race lines, but it has become increasingly defined by inequality within population groups as the gap between rich and poor within each group has increased substantially.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development proposals for addressing income inequality included: encouraging more saving and investment; a liberalisation of product-market regulation; easier access to credit for small businesses; greater co-ordination in wage bargaining; and measures to tackle the high level of youth unemployment. Some proposals have included wage subsidies for people being trained, a minimum wage differentiated by age, and extended periods of probation for young workers.

A 2011 study published by the University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town
The University of Cape Town is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, and is the oldest university in South Africa and the second oldest extant university in Africa.-History:The roots of...

 about the richest 10% found that nearly 40% are black, where this group had once been almost exclusively white. While only 29% of the absolute wealthiest South Africans are black, this jumps to 50% among the “entry-level” rich (defined as earning more than $4,000). Factors that were found to be common among those in the entry-level rich group include being young, entrepreneurial and having some post-secondary education.

Unlike most of the world’s poor countries, South Africa does not have a thriving informal economy; according to OECD estimates, only 15% of South African jobs are in the shadow economy, compared with around half in Brazil and India and nearly three-quarters in Indonesia. The OECD attributes this difference to South Africa's widespread welfare system.

Science and technology



Several important scientific and technological developments have originated in South Africa. The first human-to-human heart transplant was performed by cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard
Christiaan Barnard
Christiaan Neethling Barnard was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world's first successful human-to-human heart transplant.- Early life :...

 at Groote Schuur Hospital
Groote Schuur Hospital
Groote Schuur Hospital is a large, government-funded, teaching hospital situated on the slopes of Devil's Peak in the city of Cape Town, South Africa...

 in December 1967. Max Theiler
Max Theiler
Max Theiler was a South African/American virologist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for developing a vaccine against yellow fever.-Career development:...

 developed a vaccine against Yellow Fever, Allan McLeod Cormack
Allan McLeod Cormack
Allan MacLeod Cormack was a South African-born American physicist who won the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on X-ray computed tomography ....

 pioneered x-ray Computed tomography
Computed tomography
X-ray computed tomography or Computer tomography , is a medical imaging method employing tomography created by computer processing...

, and Aaron Klug
Aaron Klug
Sir Aaron Klug, OM, PRS is a Lithuanian-born British chemist and biophysicist, and winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes.-Biography:Klug was...

 developed crystallographic electron microscopy techniques. These advancements were all (with the exception of that of Barnard) recognised with Nobel Prizes. Sydney Brenner
Sydney Brenner
Sydney Brenner, CH FRS is a South African biologist and a 2002 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate, shared with H...

 won most recently, in 2002, for his pioneering work in molecular biology
Molecular biology
Molecular biology is the branch of biology that deals with the molecular basis of biological activity. This field overlaps with other areas of biology and chemistry, particularly genetics and biochemistry...

.

Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Richard Shuttleworth is a South African entrepreneur who was the second self-funded space tourist. Shuttleworth founded Canonical Ltd. and as of 2010, provides leadership for the Ubuntu operating system...

 founded an early Internet security company Thawte
Thawte
Thawte Consulting is a certificate authority for X.509 certificates. Thawte was founded in 1995 by Mark Shuttleworth in South Africa and is the second largest public CA on the Internet.-Origins:...

, that was subsequently bought out by world-leader VeriSign
VeriSign
Verisign, Inc. is an American company based in Dulles, Virginia that operates a diverse array of network infrastructure, including two of the Internet's thirteen root nameservers, the authoritative registry for the .com, .net, and .name generic top-level domains and the .cc and .tv country-code...

. Despite government efforts to encourage entrepreneurship in biotechnology, IT and other high technology fields, no other notable groundbreaking companies have been founded in South Africa. It is the expressed objective of the government to transition the economy to be more reliant on high technology, based on the realisation that South Africa cannot compete with Far Eastern economies in manufacturing, nor can the republic rely on its mineral wealth in perpetuity.

South Africa has cultivated a burgeoning astronomy community. It hosts the Southern African Large Telescope
Southern African Large Telescope
The Southern African Large Telescope is a 66m2 area optical telescope with a nominally 9.2 meter aperture but up to about 11.1m x ~9.8 m diameter aperture, and designed mainly for spectroscopy. It is located close to the town of Sutherland in the semi-desert region of the Karoo, South Africa...

, the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. South Africa is currently building the Karoo Array Telescope as a pathfinder for the €1.5 billion Square Kilometer Array project. South Africa is a finalist, with Australia, to be the host of the SKA.

Agriculture


The South African agricultural industry contributes around 10% of formal employment, relatively low compared to other parts of Africa, as well as providing work for casual labourers and contributing around 2.6% of GDP for the nation. Due to the arid
Arid
A region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life...

ity of the land, only 13.5% can be used for crop production, and only 3% is considered high potential land.

According to FAOSTAT, South Africa is one of world's largest producers of: chicory roots (4th); grapefruit
Grapefruit
The grapefruit , is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour fruit, an 18th-century hybrid first bred in Barbados. When found, it was named the "forbidden fruit"; it has also been misidentified with the pomelo or shaddock , one of the parents of this hybrid, the other being sweet orange The...

 (4th); cereals (5th); green maize and maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 (7th); castor oil seed (9th); pears (9th); sisal
Sisal
Sisal is an agave that yields a stiff fibre traditionally used in making twine, rope and also dartboards. The term may refer either to the plant or the fibre, depending on context...

 (10th); fibre crops (10th).

The dairy industry consists of around 4,300 milk producers providing employment for 60,000 farm workers and contributing to the livelihoods of around 40,000 others.

The South African government has set a target of transferring 30% of productive farmland from whites to 'previously disadvantaged' blacks by 2014. Land reform has been criticised both by farmers' groups and by landless workers, the latter alleging that the pace of change has not been fast enough, and the former alleging 'racist' treatment and expressing concerns that a similar situation to Zimbabwe's land reform policy
Land reform in Zimbabwe
Land reform in Zimbabwe officially began in 1979 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, an effort to more equitably distribute land between the historically disenfranchised blacks and the minority-whites who ruled Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1979...

 may develop, a fear exacerbated by comments made by former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is a South African politician who was Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008. She was the first woman to hold the position and was the highest ranking woman in the history of South Africa...

.

The government has been accused of either putting in too much effort, or not enough effort, to tackle the problem of farm attacks as opposed to other forms of violent crime.

Some predictions show surface water supply could decrease by 60% by the year 2070 in parts of the Western Cape. To reverse the damage caused by land mismanagement, the government has supported a scheme which promotes sustainable development
Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

 and the use of natural resources. Maize production, which contributes to a 36% majority of the gross value of South Africa’s field crops, has also experienced negative effects due to climate change. The estimated value of loss, which takes into consideration scenarios with and without the carbon dioxide fertilisation effect, ranges between tens and hundreds of millions of Rands.

Electricity crisis



After unsuccessful attempts by the government to encourage private construction of power generation capacity, the state-owned power supplier Eskom
Eskom
Eskom is a South African electricity public utility, established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission by the government of South Africa in terms of the Electricity Act . It was also known by its Afrikaans name Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie . The two acronyms were combined in 1986 and...

 started experiencing deficiency in capacity in the electrical generating and reticulation infrastructure in 2007. This lack led to an inability to meet the routine demands of industry and consumers, resulting in countrywide rolling blackouts. Initially, the lack of capacity was triggered by a failure at Koeberg nuclear power station
Koeberg nuclear power station
Koeberg nuclear power station is the only nuclear power station in South Africa and the entire African continent. It is located 30 km north of Cape Town, near Melkbosstrand on the west coast of South Africa. Koeberg is owned and operated by the country's only national electricity supplier, Eskom...

, but a general lack of capacity due to increased demand then become evident. The supplier has been widely criticised for failing to adequately plan for and construct sufficient electrical generating capacity, although ultimately the government admitted that it was at fault for refusing to approve funding for investment in infrastructure.

The crisis was resolved within a few months, but the margin between national demand and available capacity is still low (particularly in peak hours), and power stations are under strain, such that another phase of rolling blackouts is probable if parts of the supply are halted for whatever reason. The government and Eskom are currently planning new power stations. The power utility plans to have 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power in its grid by 2025.

Demographics


South Africa is a nation of about 50 million people of diverse origins, cultures, language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

s, and religions. The last census
South African National Census of 2001
The South African National Census of 2001 is the most recent national census of South Africa.The census was undertaken by Statistics South Africa and undertook to enumerate every person present in South Africa on the census night, 9–10 October 2001. The enumeration primarily took place from 10 to...

 was held in 2001 and the next will be in 2011. Even though the population of South Africa has increased in the past decade (primarily due to immigration), the country had an annual population growth rate of −0.051% in 2010 (CIA est.), where the birth rate is higher than the death rate but there is a net emigration rate. South Africa is home to an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants, including some 3 million Zimbabweans. A series of anti-immigrant riots occurred in South Africa beginning on 11 May 2008.

Statistics South Africa
Statistics South Africa
Statistics South Africa is the national statistical service of South Africa, with the goal of producing timely, accurate, and official statistics in order to advance economic growth, development, and democracy. To this end, Statistics South Africa produces official demographic, economic, and...

 provided five racial categories by which people could classify themselves, the last of which, "unspecified/other" drew negligible responses, and these results were omitted. The 2010 midyear estimated figures for the other categories were Black African at 79.4%, White at 9.2%, Coloured at 8.8%, and Indian or Asian at 2.6%. The first census in South Africa in 1911 showed that whites made up 22% of the population; it declined to 16% in 1980.

By far the major part of the population classified itself as African or black, but it is not culturally or linguistically homogeneous. Major ethnic groups include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho
Basotho
The ancestors of the Sotho people have lived in southern Africa since around the fifth century. The Sotho nation emerged from the accomplished diplomacy of Moshoeshoe I who gathered together disparate clans of Sotho–Tswana origin that had dispersed across southern Africa in the early 19th century...

 (South Sotho), Bapedi (North Sotho), Venda
Venda people
The Venda are a Southern African people living mostly near the South African-Zimbabwean border.- History :The Venda were originally from either the Congo or the Great Rift Valley, migrating across the Limpopo river during the Bantu expansion.The Venda of today are descendants of many heterogeneous...

, Tswana, Tsonga
Shangaan
The Tsonga people inhabit the southern coastal plain of Mozambique, parts of Zimbabwe and Swaziland, and the Limpopo Province of South Africa...

, Swazi and Ndebele, all of which speak Bantu languages
Bantu languages
The Bantu languages constitute a traditional sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 250 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility, though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages...

.

The colored population is mainly concentrated in the Cape region, and come from a combination of of ethnic backgrounds including White, Khoi
Khoi
Khoi may refer to:*The common name of Siamese Rough Bush, Streblus asper Lour*The Khoikhoi people*One of the Khoe languages*The Khoekhoe language*Khoy, a city in Iran*Khoy County, an administrative subdivision of Iran...

, San, Griqua
Griqua
The Griqua are a subgroup of South Africa's heterogeneous and multiracial Coloured people....

, Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 and Malay
Cape Malays
The Cape Malay community is an ethnic group or community in South Africa. It derives its name from the present-day Western Cape of South Africa and the people originally from Maritime Southeast Asia, mostly Javanese from modern-day Indonesia, a Dutch colony for several centuries, and Dutch...

.

White South Africans are descendants of Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

, German, French Huguenots, English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 and other European and Jewish
Jewish population of South Africa
According to the 2001 census there are 75,745 Jews in South Africa. Their distribution according to the municipal boundaries are as follows:...

 settlers. Culturally and linguistically, they are divided into the Afrikaners, who speak Afrikaans, and English-speaking groups. The white population
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

 has been on the decrease due to a low birth rate and emigration; as a factor in their decision to emigrate, many cite the high crime
Crime in South Africa
Crime is a prominent issue in South Africa. South Africa has a high rate of murders, assaults, rapes, and other crimes compared to most countries. Many emigrants from South Africa state that crime was a big factor in their decision to leave...

 rate and the affirmative action policies of the government. Since 1994, approximately 440,000 white South Africans have permanently emigrated. Despite high emigration levels, a few immigrants from Europe have settled in the country. By 2005, an estimated 212,000 British citizens were residing in South Africa. By 2011, this number may have grown to 500,000. Some white Zimbabwean
Whites in Zimbabwe
White Zimbabweans are people from the southern African country Zimbabwe who identify themselves as white...

 emigrated to South Africa. Some of the more nostalgic members of the community are known in popular culture as "Whenwe
Whenwe
The term whenwe is a derogatory term used to describe former British settlers or expatriates, known to talk nostalgically about their former homes in colonial Africa, i.e.: "when we lived in..." . The original 'whenwes' came from eastern Africa, mostly Kenya...

s", because of their nostalgia for their lives in Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

 "when we were in Rhodesia".

The Indian population
Indian South Africans
Indian South Africans are people of Indian descent living in South Africa and mostly live in and around the city of Durban, making it 'the largest 'Indian' city outside India'. Most Indians in South Africa are descendents of migrants from colonial India during late 19th-century through early...

 came to South Africa as indentured labourers to work in the sugar plantations in Natal in the late 19th and early 20th century. They came from different parts of the Indian subcontinent, adhered to different religions and spoke different languages. Serious riots in Durban
Durban Riot
The Durban riots was an inter-ethnic conflict between Zulus and Indians in Durban, South Africa in January 1949. The riots, in which 142 people were killed and 1,087 injured, began when a black youth was killed by an Indian shopkeeper....

 between Indians and Zulus erupted in 1949. There is also a significant group of Chinese South Africans (approximately 100,000 individuals) and Vietnamese South Africans (approximately 50,000 individuals). In 2008, the Pretoria High Court has ruled that Chinese South Africans who arrived before 1994 are to be reclassified as Coloureds. As a result of this ruling, about 12,000–15,000 ethnically Chinese citizens who arrived before 1994, numbering 3%–5% of the total Chinese population in the country, will be able to benefit from government BEE
Black Economic Empowerment
Black Economic Empowerment is a programme launched by the South African government to redress the inequalities of Apartheid by giving previously disadvantaged groups economic opportunities previously not available to them...

 policies.

South Africa hosts a sizeable refugee and asylum seeker population. According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, this population numbered approximately 144,700 in 2007. Groups of refugees and asylum seekers numbering over 10,000 included people from Zimbabwe (48,400), The Democratic Republic of the Congo (24,800), and Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 (12,900). These populations mainly lived in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth. Many refugees have now also started to work and live in rural areas in provinces such as Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga , is a province of South Africa. The name means east or literally "the place where the sun rises" in Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu. Mpumalanga lies in eastern South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal and bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. It constitutes 6.5% of South Africa's land area...

 and KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal is a province of South Africa. Prior to 1994, the territory now known as KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the province of Natal and the homeland of KwaZulu....

.

Religion


According to the 2001 national census, Christians accounted for 79.7% of the population. This includes Zion Christian (11.1%), Pentecostal
Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

 (Charismatic
Charismatic movement
The term charismatic movement is used in varying senses to describe 20th century developments in various Christian denominations. It describes an ongoing international, cross-denominational/non-denominational Christian movement in which individual, historically mainstream congregations adopt...

) (8.2%), Roman Catholic
Roman Catholicism in South Africa
The Roman Catholic Church in South Africa is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome. There are 26 dioceses and archdioceses, plus an apostolic vicariate....

 (7.1%), Methodist
Methodist Church of Southern Africa
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa is a member church of the World Methodist Council.Methodism in Southern Africa began as a result of lay Christian work by an Irish soldier of the English Regiment, John Irwin, who was stationed at the Cape and began to hold prayer meetings as early as 1795...

 (6.8%), Dutch Reformed
Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk
The Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk is a Reformed Christian denomination in South Africa. It also has a presence in neighboring countries, such as Namibia, Swaziland, and parts of Botswana and Zimbabwe...

 (6.7%), Anglican (3.8%); members of other Christian churches accounted for another 36% of the population. Muslims
Islam in South Africa
Islam in South Africa pre-dates the colonial period, and consisted of isolated contact with Arab and East Africa traders. Many South African Muslims are described as Coloureds, notably in the Western Cape, including those whose ancestors came as slaves from the Indonesian archipelago...

 accounted for 1.5% of the population, Hindus
Hinduism in South Africa
Hinduism in South Africa has a following primarily in KwaZulu-Natal, due to historical patterns of migration to the region from India. But now a significant population exists also in Gauteng, especially around Lenasia...

 about 1.3%, and Judaism 0.2%. 15.1% had no religious affiliation, 2.3% were other and 1.4% were unspecified.

African Indigenous Churches were the largest of the Christian groups. It was believed that many of these persons who claimed no affiliation with any organised religion adhered to traditional indigenous religions
African Traditional Religion
The traditional religions indigenous to Africa have, for most of their existence, been orally rather than scripturally transmitted. They are generally associated with animism. Most have ethno-based creations stories...

. Many peoples have syncretic
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 religious practices combining Christian and indigenous influences.

Islam in South Africa
Islam in South Africa
Islam in South Africa pre-dates the colonial period, and consisted of isolated contact with Arab and East Africa traders. Many South African Muslims are described as Coloureds, notably in the Western Cape, including those whose ancestors came as slaves from the Indonesian archipelago...

 constitute mostly of those are described as Coloureds and those who are described as Indians. They have been joined by black or white South African converts as well as others from other parts of Africa. South African Muslims claim that their faith is the fastest-growing religion of conversion in the country, with the number of black Muslims growing sixfold, from 12,000 in 1991 to 74,700 in 2004

The Hindu population was primarily established during British colonial period, but later waves of immigration from India have also contributed to it. Most Hindus are ethnically South Asian but there are many who come from mixed racial stock, and some are converts with the efforts of Hindu missionaries such as ISKCON
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness , known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organization. It was founded in 1966 in New York City by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada...

.

Other minority religions in South Africa are Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, and Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith in South Africa
The Bahá'í Faith in South Africa began with the holding of Bahá'í meetings in the country in 1911. A small population of Bahá'ís remained until 1950 when large numbers of international Bahá'í pioneers settled in South Africa. In 1956, after members of various tribes in South Africa became Bahá'ís,...

.

Languages


South Africa has eleven official languages: Afrikaans
Afrikaans
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch .Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see , , , , , .Afrikaans was historically called Cape...

, English
South African English
The term South African English is applied to the first-language dialects of English spoken by South Africans, with the L1 English variety spoken by Zimbabweans, Zambians and Namibians, being recognised as offshoots.There is some social and regional variation within South African English...

, Ndebele
Southern Ndebele language
The Southern Ndebele language is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the amaNdebele . There are two dialects of Southern Ndebele in South Africa:* the Northern Transvaal Ndebele or Nrebele...

, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana
Tswana language
Tswana or Setswana is a language spoken in Southern Africa by about 4.5 million people. It is a Bantu language belonging to the Niger–Congo language family within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S , and is closely related to the Northern- and Southern Sotho languages, as well as the Kgalagadi...

, Tsonga
Tsonga language
The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan.- Classification :Tsonga belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger–Congo languages...

, Venda
Venda language
Venda, also known as or , is a Bantu language and an official language of South Africa. The majority of Venda speakers live in the northern part of South Africa's Limpopo Province, but about 10% of speakers live in Zimbabwe. The Venda language is related to Kalanga which is spoken in Botswana...

, Xhosa
Xhosa language
Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. Like most Bantu languages, Xhosa is a tonal language, that is, the same sequence of consonants and vowels can have different meanings when said...

, and Zulu
Zulu language
Zulu is the language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority of whom live in South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa as well as being understood by over 50% of the population...

. In this regard it is third only to Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 and India in number. While all the languages are formally equal, some languages are spoken more than others. According to the 2001 National Census, the three most spoken first home languages are Zulu (23.8%), Xhosa (17.6%), and Afrikaans (13.3%). Despite the fact that English is recognised as the language of commerce and science, it was spoken by only 8.2% of South Africans at home in 2001, an even lower percentage than in 1996 (8.6%).

The country also recognises several unofficial languages, including Fanagalo, Khoe, Lobedu
Lobedu language
Lobedu is a Bantu language regarded as a dialect of Northern Sotho. It exists only in an unwritten form and the standard Northern Sotho language and orthography is usually used for teaching and writing by this language community. The monarch associated with this language community is Queen Modjadji...

, Nama
Nama language
The Khoekhoe language, or Khoekhoegowab, also known by the ethnic term Nàmá and previously the now-discouraged term Hottentot, is the most widespread of the Khoisan languages. It belongs to the Khoe language family, and is spoken in Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa by three ethnic groups, the...

, Northern Ndebele
Northern Ndebele language
The Northern Ndebele language, isiNdebele, or Ndebele is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the Ndebele or Matabele people of Zimbabwe. It is commonly known as Sindebele....

, Phuthi
Phuthi language
Phuthi is a Nguni Bantu language spoken in southern Lesotho and areas in South Africa adjacent to the same border. The closest substantial living relative of Phuthi is Swati , spoken in Swaziland and the Mpumalanga province of South Africa...

, San, and South African Sign Language
South African Sign Language
South African Sign Language is the name of the sign language favoured by the South African government. SASL was formally recognised in 1995, and is still being codified...

. These unofficial languages may be used in certain official uses in limited areas where it has been determined that these languages are prevalent. Nevertheless, their populations are not such that they require nationwide recognition.

Many of the "unofficial languages" of the San and Khoikhoi people contain regional dialects stretching northwards into Namibia and Botswana, and elsewhere. These people, who are a physically distinct population from other Africans, have their own cultural identity based on their hunter-gatherer societies. They have been marginalised to a great extent, and many of their languages are in danger of becoming extinct
Extinct language
An extinct language is a language that no longer has any speakers., or that is no longer in current use. Extinct languages are sometimes contrasted with dead languages, which are still known and used in special contexts in written form, but not as ordinary spoken languages for everyday communication...

.

Many white South Africans also speak other European languages, such as Portuguese (also spoken by black Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

ns and Mozambicans
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

), German, and Greek, while some Asians and Indians in South Africa speak South Asian languages, such as Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, and Telugu. French is still widely spoken by French South Africans especially in places like Franschhoek, where many South Africans are of French origin. South African French is spoken by fewer than 10,000 individuals. Congolese French is also spoken in South Africa by migrants.

Largest municipalities


In 2007, there were 6 municipalities with more than 1 million inhabitants, and 8 with between 500,000 and 1 million inhabitants (in 2001 there were 6). Municipalities in the list may include several towns. Some of them consist of hundreds of tiny settlements in very close proximity to each other. This is particularly true of municipalities made up of former Bantustans, e.g. KaNgwane
KaNgwane
KaNgwane was a bantustan in South Africa, intended by the apartheid government to be a semi-independent homeland for the Swazi people. Formerly called the "Swazi Territory", the homeland was granted nominal self-rule in 1981. Schoemansdal was designated as its capital. Its official capital was at...

 and QwaQwa
QwaQwa
QwaQwa was a Bantustan, or homeland, in the eastern part of South Africa. It encompassed a very small region of in the east of the former South African province of Orange Free State, bordering Lesotho. Its capital was Phuthaditjhaba...

, and Libode
Libode
Libode is a small town of 5000 inhabitants in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is situated on the R61 road from Port St Johns to Umtata and serves as the administrative seat of the Nyandeni Local Municipality, which is part of the OR Tambo District Municipality...

 in Transkei
Transkei
The Transkei , officially the Republic of Transkei , was a Bantustan—an area set aside for members of a specific ethnicity—and nominal parliamentary democracy in the southeastern region of South Africa...

, where distributed, non-Western settlement models are practised.

Health




The spread of AIDS (acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome)
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 is an alarming problem in South Africa with up to 31% of pregnant women found to be HIV infected in 2005 and the infection rate among adults estimated at 20%. The link between HIV, a virus spread primarily by sexual contact, and AIDS was long denied by prior president Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki is a South African politician who served two terms as the second post-apartheid President of South Africa from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008. He is also the brother of Moeletsi Mbeki...

 and then health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
Dr. Mantombazana 'Manto' Edmie Tshabalala-Msimang was a South African politician. She was Deputy Minister of Justice from 1996 to 1999 and controversially served as Minister of Health from 1999 to 2008 under President Thabo Mbeki...

, who insisted that the many deaths in the country are due to malnutrition, and hence poverty, and not HIV. According to the South African Institute of Race Relations
South African Institute of Race Relations
Established in 1929 the South African Institute of Race Relations is a leading research and policy organisation in South Africa. The Institute is "one of the oldest liberal institutions in the country," and is independent of government and all political parties; it sees its role as serving its...

, the life expectancy in 2009 was 71 years for a white South African and 48 years for a black South African.

In 2007, in response to international pressure, the government made efforts to fight AIDS. In September 2008 Thabo Mbeki was recalled by the ANC and chose to resign and Kgalema Motlanthe was appointed for the interim. One of Motlanthe's first actions was to replace Tshabalala-Msimang with Barbara Hogan
Barbara Hogan
Barbara Hogan is the former Minister of Public Enterprises in the Cabinet of South Africa.-Early life:Hogan attended St Dominic's Catholic School for Girls, Boksburg and gained a degree at the University of the Witwatersrand....

 who immediately started working to improve the Government's approach to AIDS. After the 2009 General Elections
South African general election, 2009
South Africa held national and provincial elections to elect a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province on 22 April 2009....

, President Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is the President of South Africa, elected by parliament following his party's victory in the 2009 general election....

 appointed Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
Aaron Motsoaledi
Aaron Motsoaledi is the minister of health of South Africa.He was formerly an MEC in the Limpopo province for transport, agriculture and environment,and education.-References:...

 as the new minister and committed his government to increasing funding for and widening the scope of AIDS treatment.

AIDS affects mainly those who are sexually active and is far more prevalent in the black population. Most deaths are people who are also economically active, resulting in many families losing their primary wage earners. This has resulted in many 'AIDS orphans' who in many cases depend on the state for care and financial support. It is estimated that there are 1,200,000 orphans in South Africa. Many elderly people also lose the support from lost younger members of their family. Roughly 5 million people are infected with the disease.

Society and culture


South African culture is diverse; foods from many cultures are enjoyed by all and especially marketed to tourists who wish to sample the large variety of South African cuisine. In addition to food, music and dance feature prominently.

South African cuisine is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as a braai
Braai
The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for "grilled meat."The word braai is Afrikaans for "barbecue" or "grill" and is a social custom in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The term originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of many...

, or barbecue. South Africa has also developed into a major wine producer, with some of the best vineyard
Vineyard
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...

s lying in valleys around Stellenbosch, Franschoek, Paarl
Paarl
Paarl is a town with 191,013 inhabitants in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Its the third oldest European settlement in the Republic of South Africa and the largest town in the Cape Winelands. Due to the growth of the Mbekweni township, it is now a de facto urban unit with Wellington...

 and Barrydale
Barrydale
Barrydale is a village located on the border of the Overberg and Klein Karoo regions of the Western Cape Province in South Africa. Named after James Barry, it is situated at the northern end of the Tradouw's pass which winds its way through the mountains to Swellendam.-History:Barrydale's history...

.

The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as blacks have become increasingly urbanised and Westernised
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue. There are smaller but still significant groups of speakers of Khoisan languages
Khoisan languages
The Khoisan languages are the click languages of Africa which do not belong to other language families. They include languages indigenous to southern and eastern Africa, though some, such as the Khoi languages, appear to have moved to their current locations not long before the Bantu expansion...

 who are not included in the eleven official languages, but are one of the eight other officially recognised languages. There are small groups of speakers of endangered language
Endangered language
An endangered language is a language that is at risk of falling out of use. If it loses all its native speakers, it becomes a dead language. If eventually no one speaks the language at all it becomes an "extinct language"....

s, most of which are from the Khoi-San family, that receive no official status; some groups within South Africa are attempting to promote their use and revival.

Members of the middle class, who are predominantly white but whose ranks include growing numbers of black, coloured and Indian people, have lifestyles similar in many respects to that of people found in Western Europe, North America and Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

. Members of the middle class often study and work abroad for greater exposure to the markets of the world.

Asians, predominantly of Indian origin, preserve their own cultural heritage, languages and religious beliefs, being either Christian, Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 or Sunni Muslim and speaking English, with Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 or Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

 being spoken less frequently, but the majority of Indians being able to understand their mother tongue. The first Indians arrived on the famous Truro ship
Truro (ship)
The Truro was the ship containing the first batch of 342 indentured Indian labourers to arrive in Durban on 16 November 1860. The second batch of 342 arrived in Durban on board the Belvedere 10 days later. Passenger lists have been made available online...

 as indentured labourers
Indentured servant
Indentured servitude refers to the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed period of time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed...

 in Natal to work the Sugar Cane Fields. There is a much smaller Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

 community in South Africa, although its numbers have increased due to immigration from Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan).

South Africa has also had a large influence in the Scouting
Scouting
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

 movement, with many Scouting traditions and ceremonies coming from the experiences of Robert Baden-Powell
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, Bt, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB , also known as B-P or Lord Baden-Powell, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement....

 (the founder of Scouting) during his time in South Africa as a military officer in the 1890s. The South African Scout Association
South African Scout Association
The South African Scout Association is the World Organization of the Scout Movement recognized Scouting association in South Africa. Scouting began in the United Kingdom in 1907 through the efforts of Robert Baden-Powell and rapidly spread to South Africa, with the first Scout troops appearing in...

 was one of the first youth organisations to open its doors to youth and adults of all races in South Africa. This happened on 2 July 1977 at a conference known as Quo Vadis.

In 2006, South Africa became the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage in South Africa
Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 30 November 2006, when the Civil Union Act, 2006 came into force, having been passed by Parliament earlier that month. A ruling by the Constitutional Court on 1 December 2005 had given Parliament one year to make same-sex marriage legal...

.

Art



The oldest art objects in the world were discovered in a South African cave. Dating from 75,000 years ago, these small drilled snail shells could have no other function than to have been strung on a string as a necklace. South Africa was one of the cradles of the human species. One of the defining characteristics of our species is the making of art (from Latin 'ars' meaning worked or formed from basic material).
The scattered tribes of Khoisan
Khoisan
Khoisan is a unifying name for two ethnic groups of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San and the pastoral Khoi...

 peoples moving into South Africa from around 10000 BC
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

 had their own fluent art styles seen today in a multitude of cave paintings. They were superseded by Bantu/Nguni people
Nguni people
-History:The ancient history of the Nguni people is wrapped up in their oral history. According to legend they were a people who migrated from Egypt to the Great Lakes region of sub-equatorial Central/East Africa...

s with their own vocabularies of art forms. In the 20th century, traditional tribal forms of art were scattered and re-melded by the divisive policies of apartheid.

New forms of art evolved in the mines and townships: a dynamic art using everything from plastic strips to bicycle spokes. The Dutch-influenced folk art of the Afrikaner Trekboer
Trekboer
The Trekboers were nomadic pastoralists descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch colonists, French Huguenots and German Protestants. The Trekboere began migrating from the areas surrounding what is now Cape Town during the 17th century throughout the 18th century.-Origins:The Trekboere were...

s and the urban white artists earnestly following changing European traditions from the 1850s onwards also contributed to this eclectic mix, which continues to evolve today.

Literature




South Africa's unique social and political history have generated a strong group of local writers, with themes that span the days of apartheid to the lives of people in the "new South Africa".

Many of the first black South African authors were missionary-educated, and the majority of which thus wrote in either English or Afrikaans. One of the first well known novels written by a black author in an African language was Solomon Thekiso Plaatje
Sol Plaatje
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje was a South African intellectual, journalist, linguist, politician, translator, and writer. The Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, which includes the city of Kimberley, was named after him.-Early life:...

's Mhudi, written in 1930.

Notable white South African authors include Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer is a South African writer and political activist. She was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature when she was recognised as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity".Her writing has long dealt...

 who was, in Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet, writer and lecturer. He lives in Dublin. Heaney has received the Nobel Prize in Literature , the Golden Wreath of Poetry , T. S. Eliot Prize and two Whitbread prizes...

's words, one of "the guerrillas of the imagination", and who became the first South African and the seventh woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. Her most famous novel, July's People
July's People
July's People is a 1981 novel by 1991 Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer. Nadine Gordimer wrote this book before the end of apartheid as her prediction of how it would end.-Banning:The book was notably banned in South Africa after its publication....

, was released in 1981, depicting the collapse of white-minority rule.

J.M. Coetzee was the second South African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 2003. When awarding the prize, the Swedish Academy stated that Coetzee "in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider". The press release for the award also cited his "well-crafted composition, pregnant dialogue and analytical brilliance," while focusing on the moral nature of his work.

Athol Fugard
Athol Fugard
Athol Fugard is a South African playwright, novelist, actor, and director who writes in English, best known for his political plays opposing the South African system of apartheid and for the 2005 Academy-Award winning film of his novel Tsotsi, directed by Gavin Hood...

, whose plays have been regularly premiered in fringe theatre
Fringe theatre
Fringe theatre is theatre that is not of the mainstream. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International Festival as a ‘fringe’, writing: ‘Round the fringe...

s in South Africa, London (The Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

) and New York. Olive Schreiner
Olive Schreiner
Olive Schreiner was a South African author, anti-war campaigner and intellectual. She is best remembered today for her novel The Story of an African Farm which has been highly acclaimed ever since its first publication in 1883 for the bold manner in which it dealt with some of the burning issues...

's The Story of an African Farm
The Story of an African Farm
For the 2004 film of The Story of an African Farm see The Story of an African Farm The Story of an African Farm was South African author Olive Schreiner's first published novel...

 (1883) was a revelation in Victorian literature: it is heralded by many as introducing feminism into the novel form.

Alan Paton
Alan Paton
Alan Stewart Paton was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist.-Family:Paton was born in Pietermaritzburg, Natal Province , the son of a minor civil servant. After attending Maritzburg College, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Natal in his hometown, followed...

 published the acclaimed novel Cry, the Beloved Country
Cry, The Beloved Country
Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel by South African author Alan Paton. It was first published in New York City in 1948 by Charles Scribner's Sons and in London by Jonathan Cape; noted American publisher Bennett Cerf remarked at that year's meeting of the American Booksellers Association that there...

 in 1948. He told the tale of a black priest who comes to Johannesburg to find his son, which became an international best-seller. During the 1950s, Drum magazine became a hotbed of political satire, fiction, and essays, giving a voice to urban black culture.

Afrikaans-language writers also began to write controversial material. Breyten Breytenbach
Breyten Breytenbach
Breyten Breytenbach is a South African writer and painter with French citizenship.-Biography:Breyten Breytenbach was born in Bonnievale, Western Cape, approximately 180 km from Cape Town and 100 km from the southernmost tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas...

 was jailed for his involvement with the guerrilla movement against apartheid. Andre Brink
André Brink
André Philippus Brink, OIS, is a South African novelist. He writes in Afrikaans and English and is a Professor of English at the University of Cape Town....

 was the first Afrikaner writer to be banned by the government after he released the novel A Dry White Season
A Dry White Season
A Dry White Season is a film released in 1989 by Davros Films and Sundance Productions and distributed by MGM. It was directed by Euzhan Palcy and produced by Paula Weinstein, Mary Selway and Tim Hampton. The screenplay was by Colin Welland and Euzhan Palcy, based upon André Brink's novel of the...

 about a white South African who discovers the truth about a black friend who dies in police custody.

J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

, author of The Hobbit
The Hobbit
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, better known by its abbreviated title The Hobbit, is a fantasy novel and children's book by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald...

, The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

 and The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkien's mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who later became a noted fantasy writer. The Silmarillion, along with J. R. R...

, was born in Bloemfontein in 1892.

Cinema



While many foreign films have been produced about South Africa (usually involving race relations), few local productions are known outside South Africa itself. One exception was the film The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 film, written and directed by Jamie Uys. The film is the first in The Gods Must Be Crazy series of films. Set in Botswana and South Africa, it tells the story of Xi, a Sho of the Kalahari Desert whose band has no knowledge of the world beyond...

in 1980, set in the Kalahari. This is about how life in a traditional community of Bushmen is changed when a Coke
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

 bottle, thrown out of an aeroplane, suddenly lands from the sky. The late Jamie Uys
Jamie Uys
Jacobus Johannes Uys , better known as Jamie Uys, was a South African film director.-Early life:Prior to his foray into film, Uys was a math teacher in his hometown of Boksburg. He then married Hettie, a fellow math teacher and the couple started farming and opening trading posts along the Palala...

, who wrote and directed The Gods Must Be Crazy, also had success overseas in the 1970s with his films Funny People and Funny People II, similar to the TV series Candid Camera
Candid Camera
Candid Camera is a hidden camera/practical joke reality television series created and produced by Allen Funt, which initially began on radio as Candid Microphone June 28, 1947...

in the US. Leon Schuster
Leon Schuster
Leon Ernest "Schuks" Schuster is a South African filmmaker, comedian, actor, presenter and singer.- Early life :Schuster was drawn to the filmmaking process at an early age...

's You Must Be Joking! films are in the same genre, and hugely popular among South Africans.

Arguably, the most high-profile film portraying South Africa in recent years was District 9
District 9
District 9 is a 2009 South African science fiction thriller film directed by Neill Blomkamp. It was written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham. The film stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, and David James...

. Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Neill Blomkamp
Neill Blomkamp is an Afrikaner-Canadian film and advertisement writer and director. Blomkamp employs a documentary-style, hand-held, cinéma vérité technique, blending naturalistic and photo-realistic computer-generated effects. He is best known as the co-writer and director of critically acclaimed...

, a native South African, and produced by Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
Sir Peter Robert Jackson, KNZM is a New Zealand film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter, known for his The Lord of the Rings film trilogy , adapted from the novel by J. R. R...

, the action/science-fiction film depicts a sub-class of alien refugees forced to live in the slums of Johannesburg in what many saw as a creative allegory for apartheid. The film was a critical and commercial success worldwide, and was nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards
82nd Academy Awards
The 82nd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , honored the best films of 2009 and took place March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. The ceremony was scheduled well after...

.

Other notable exceptions are the film Tsotsi
Tsotsi
Tsotsi is a 2005 film written and directed by Gavin Hood. The film is an adaptation of the novel Tsotsi, by Athol Fugard. The soundtrack features Kwaito music performed by popular South African artist Zola as well as a score by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker featuring the voice of South African...

, which won the Academy Award for Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards
78th Academy Awards
The 78th Academy Awards honored the best films of 2005 and were held on March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. They were hosted by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, with Tom Kane making his first appearance as the show's announcer...

 in 2006 as well as U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha, which won the Golden Bear
Golden Bear
According to legend, the Golden Bear was a large golden Ursus arctos. Members of the Ursus arctos species can reach masses of . The Grizzly Bear and the Kodiak Bear are North American subspecies of the Brown Bear....

 at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival
Berlin International Film Festival
The Berlin International Film Festival , also called the Berlinale, is one of the world's leading film festivals and most reputable media events. It is held in Berlin, Germany. Founded in West Berlin in 1951, the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978...

.

Music



There is great diversity in music from South Africa. Many black musicians who sang in Afrikaans or English during apartheid have since begun to sing in traditional African languages, and have developed a unique style called Kwaito
Kwaito
Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the 1990s. It is a variant of house music featuring the use of African sounds and samples. Typically at a slower tempo range than other styles of house music, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples,...

. Of note is Brenda Fassie
Brenda Fassie
Brenda Fassie , was a South African pop singer. She was known for her "outrageousness" and widely considered a voice for disenfranchised blacks during apartheid. She was affectionately known as the Queen of African Pop and her nickname amongst fans was Mabrr.-Biography:Brenda was born in Langa,...

, who launched to fame with her song "Weekend Special", which was sung in English. More famous traditional musicians include Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a male choral group from South Africa that sings in the vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube. They rose to worldwide prominence as a result of singing with Paul Simon on his album, Graceland and have won multiple awards, including three Grammy Awards...

, while the Soweto String Quartet
Soweto String Quartet
The Soweto String Quartet is a string quartet from Soweto in South Africa composed of Reuben Khemese, Makhosini Mnguni, Sandile Khemese and Thami Khemese. Their music is a fusion of the "dance rhythms of Kwela, the syncopated guitars of Mbaqanga, the saxophones and trumpets of swaying African jazz...

 performs classic music with an African flavour. White and Coloured South African singers are historically influenced by European musical styles. South Africa has produced world-famous jazz musicians, notably Hugh Masekela
Hugh Masekela
Hugh Ramopolo Masekela is a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer.-Early life:Masekela was born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, South Africa. He began singing and playing piano as a child...

, Jonas Gwangwa
Jonas Gwangwa
Jonas Mosa Gwangwa has been an important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years. He first gained significance playing trombone with The Jazz Epistles...

, Abdullah Ibrahim
Abdullah Ibrahim
Abdullah Ibrahim , born Adolph Johannes Brand, 9 October 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa, and formerly known as Dollar Brand, is a South African pianist and composer...

, Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba , nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award winning South African singer and civil rights activist....

, Jonathan Butler
Jonathan Butler
Jonathan Butler is a singer-songwriter and guitarist. His music is often classified as R&B, jazz fusion or worship music.-Biography:...

, Chris McGregor
Chris McGregor
Christopher McGregor , was a South African jazz pianist, bandleader and composer born in Somerset West, South Africa.- Early influences :...

, and Sathima Bea Benjamin
Sathima Bea Benjamin
Sathima Bea Benjamin , is a South African vocalist and composer born in Johannesburg, raised in Cape Town, and now based in New York City.-Early life:...

. Afrikaans music covers multiple genres, such as the contemporary Steve Hofmeyr
Steve Hofmeyr
-Career:Hofmeyr matriculated in 1982 at Grey College. After two years compulsory army and border duty, he went to Pretoria Technikon Drama School.-Recording star and performer:...

 and the punk rock
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

 band Fokofpolisiekar
Fokofpolisiekar
Fokofpolisiekar is an Afrikaans punk rock band from Bellville, near Cape Town, South Africa. Due to the obscenity in the name, they are also commonly known simply as Polisiekar or FPK.-Band history:...

. Crossover artists such as Verity
Verity Price
Verity is a singer, songwriter, actress and motivational speaker from Cape Town, South Africa.-Biography:Verity was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa. She won the Catch a Rising Star talent search in Florida in 2002 and was awarded a US working visa as an artist of outstanding ability in...

 (internationally recognised for innovation in the music industry) and Johnny Clegg and his bands Juluka
Juluka
Juluka was a South African music band formed in 1969 by Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu. Juluka means "sweat", and was the name of a bull owned by Mchunu.-Career:...

 and Savuka
Savuka
Savuka was a band formed in 1986 by English-born South African Johnny Clegg after the disbanding of his first band, Juluka. Both of his bands were inter-racial in the racially segregated Apartheid South Africa...

 have enjoyed various success underground, publicly, and abroad.

The South African music scene includes Kwaito, a new music genre that had developed in the mid 80s and has since developed to become the most popular social economical form of representation among the populous. Though some may argue that the political aspects of Kwaito has since diminished after Apartheid, and the relative interest in politics has become a minor aspect of daily life. Some argue that in a sense, Kwaito is in fact a political force that shows activism in its apolitical actions. Today, major corporations like Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

, BMG
BMG
Bertelsmann Music Group, , was a division of Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Japan's Sony Corporation of America on October 1, 2008. It was established in 1987 to combine the music label activities of Bertelsmann...

, and EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

 have appeared on the South African scene to produce and distribute Kwaito music. Due to its overwhelming popularity, as well as the general influence of DJs, who are among the top 5 most influential types of people within the country, Kwaito has taken over radio, television, and magazines.

Sports


South Africa's most popular sports are soccer, rugby
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 and cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

. Other sports with significant support are swimming, athletics, golf, boxing, tennis and netball. Although soccer commands the greatest following among the youth, other sports like basketball, surfing and skateboarding are increasingly popular.

Soccer players who have played for major foreign clubs include Steven Pienaar
Steven Pienaar
Steven Jerome Pienaar is a South African footballer who plays for English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. He can play on either the right or left wing and is also a member of the South African national team. Pienaar has previously played for Ajax Cape Town, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Everton...

 (Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club , commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English Premier League football club based in Tottenham, north London. The club's home stadium is White Hart Lane....

), Lucas Radebe
Lucas Radebe
Lucas Valeriu Radebe is a former Leeds United and South African football player. During his career, Radebe was renowned for being a world-class centre back and a great ambassador for the sport....

 and Philemon Masinga
Philemon Masinga
Philemon "Phil" Raoul Masinga is a South African former international footballer. He represented South Africa in 58 international games, scoring 18 goals....

 (both formerly of Leeds United
Leeds United A.F.C.
Leeds United Association Football Club are an English professional association football club based in Beeston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, who play in the Football League Championship, the second tier of the English football league system...

), Quinton Fortune (Atletico Madrid and Manchester United
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.The 1958...

), Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy
Benedict Saul "Benni" McCarthy is a South African footballer who is currently contracted to Orlando Pirates in South Africa.McCarthy holds the record of international goals for a South African...

 (Ajax Amsterdam
Ajax Amsterdam
Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax , also referred to as AFC Ajax, Ajax Amsterdam or simply Ajax , is a professional football club from Amsterdam, Netherlands...

, F.C. Porto, Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers F.C.
Blackburn Rovers Football Club is an English professional association football club based in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire. The team currently competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football....

 and West Ham United
West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Upton Park, Newham, East London. They play in The Football League Championship. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks FC and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. In 1904 the club relocated to their current...

), Aaron Mokoena
Aaron Mokoena
Teboho Aaron Mokoena is a South African footballer who plays for and captains Football League Championship club Portsmouth and the South African national team.-Early career:...

 (Ajax Amsterdam, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth
Portsmouth F.C.
Portsmouth Football Club is an English football club based in the city of Portsmouth. The club is nicknamed Pompey. Portsmouth's home matches have been played at Fratton Park since the club's formation in 1898. The team currently play in the Football League Championship after being relegated from...

), and Delron Buckley
Delron Buckley
Delron Sebastian Buckley is a South African footballer playing for Karlsruher SC.-Club career:Buckley's soccer career began with his local team Butcherfille Rovers Durban, but when he was 17 years old he was signed by German club VfL Bochum...

 (Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund
Ballspielverein Borussia Dortmund, commonly BVB, are a German sports club based in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia. Dortmund are one of the most successful clubs in German football history. Borussia Dortmund play in the Bundesliga, the top league of German football...

). Famous boxing personalities include Baby Jake Jacob Matlala, Vuyani Bungu
Vuyani Bungu
Vuyani Bungu was a professional boxer. Known as "Carousel Kid" or "The Beast", Bungu was a force in the super bantamweight division throughout the 1990s.-Professional career:...

, Welcome Ncita
Welcome Ncita
Welcome Ncita was a professional boxer and IBF Super Bantamweight Champion. Ncita was born in Mdantsane, South Africa.Known as "The Hawk", Ncita turned professional in 1984 and in 1994 captured the International Boxing Federation Super Bantamweight Title with a victory over Fabrice Benichou in a...

, Dingaan Thobela
Dingaan Thobela
Dingaan Bongane Thobela , is a professional boxer in the Super Middleweight division."Rose of Soweto" The Dingaan Thobela story , the intimate biography written by Internationally renowned Deon Potgieter is available for order through all leading on-line stores world wide e.g.; Amazon, Barnes &...

, Gerrie Coetzee
Gerrie Coetzee
Gerhardus Christian Coetzee , better known as Gerrie Coetzee, is a South African former boxer. He made history twice: he was the first boxer from the African continent ever to fight for the World Heavyweight Title, and the first to win the World Heavyweight Title...

 and Brian Mitchell. Durban Surfer Jordy Smith
Jordy Smith
Jordan Michael "Jordy" Smith is a South African professional surfer competing on the World Championship Tour . In 2007 Smith won surfing's World Qualifying Series, the second-tier tour which leads to qualification for the WCT....

 won the 2010 Billabong J-Bay competition making him the no 1 ranked surfer in the world. South Africa produced Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 motor racing's 1979 world champion Jody Scheckter
Jody Scheckter
Jody David Scheckter is a South African former auto racing driver, the Formula One World Drivers Champion.-Career:Scheckter was born in East London, South Africa and educated at Selborne College.-Formula One:...

. Famous current cricket players include Herschelle Gibbs
Herschelle Gibbs
Herschelle Herman Gibbs is a South African cricketer, more specifically a batsman.Gibbs was schooled at St Joseph's Marist College and then Diocesan College in Rondebosch...

, Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith
Graeme Craig Smith is a South African cricketer and captain of the South African cricket team Test Match side, having succeeded Shaun Pollock after the 2003 Cricket World Cup...

, Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis
Jacques Henry Kallis is a South African cricketer. As an all-rounder he is a formidable right-handed batsman and fast-medium swingbowler. He is one of the greatest all-rounders of all time, being the only cricketer in the history of the game to hold more than 12,000 runs and 250 wickets in both...

, JP Duminy, etc. Most of them also participate in the Indian Premier League
Indian Premier League
The Indian Premier League is a professional league for Twenty20 cricket competition in India. It was initiated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India , headquartered in Mumbai, and is supervised by BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla, who serves as the league's Chairman and Commissioner...

.

South Africa has also produced numerous world class rugby players, including Francois Pienaar
Francois Pienaar
Jacobus Francois Pienaar is a South African former rugby union player. He played flanker for South Africa from 1993 until 1996, winning 29 international caps, all of them as captain. He is best known for leading South Africa to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup...

, Joost van der Westhuizen
Joost van der Westhuizen
Joost van der Westhuizen is a former South African rugby union footballer who was the Springboks' first choice scrum-half in the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s. He was capped 89 times for the Springboks and scored 38 tries...

, Danie Craven
Danie Craven
Daniël Hartman Craven , more famously known as Danie Craven or simply Doc Craven, is a former Western Province, Eastern Province, Northern Transvaal and Springbok rugby union player as well as arguably South Africa's best and best-known rugby administrator...

, Frik du Preez
Frik du Preez
Frederik Christoffel Hendrik "Frik" du Preez is a former South African rugby union player who represented Northern Transvaal and the Springboks. He was born on a farm near Rustenburg and went to school at the Parys High School in Parys...

, Naas Botha and Bryan Habana
Bryan Habana
Bryan Gary Habana is a South African rugby union player who plays as a wing for the Western Province in the Currie Cup, the Stormers in Super 14, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup champions Springboks...

. South Africa hosted and won the 1995 Rugby World Cup
1995 Rugby World Cup
The 1995 Rugby World Cup was the third Rugby World Cup. It was hosted and won by South Africa, and was the first Rugby World Cup in which every match was held in one country....

 and won the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France
France national rugby union team
The France national rugby union team represents France in rugby union. They compete annually against England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations Championship. They have won the championship outright sixteen times, shared it a further eight times, and have completed nine grand slams...

. It followed the 1995 Rugby World Cup by hosting the 1996 African Cup of Nations
1996 African Cup of Nations
-Group B:---------------------Group C:------------ withdrew, so their three matches were canceled.*vs. , January 16, 1996*vs. , January 19, 1996*vs...

, with the national team
South Africa national football team
The South Africa national football team represents South Africa in association football and is controlled by the South African Football Association, the governing body for football in South Africa. South Africa's home ground is Soccer City, known as FNB Stadium due to a naming rights deal, in...

 going on to win the tournament. It also hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup
2003 Cricket World Cup
-Group stage tables and results:The top three teams from each pool qualify for the next stage, carrying forward the points already scored against fellow qualifiers, plus a quarter of the points scored against the teams that failed to qualify.-Pool A:...

, the 2007 World Twenty20 Championship
ICC World Twenty20
The ICC World Twenty20 or ICC World T20 also referred to as the T20 World Cup is the international championship of Twenty20 cricket. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council...

, and it was the host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

, which was the first time the tournament was held in Africa. FIFA president Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter
Joseph S. Blatter , commonly known as Sepp Blatter, is a Swiss football administrator, who serves as the 8th and current President of FIFA . He was elected on 8 June 1998, succeeding João Havelange. He was re-elected as President in 2002, 2007, and 2011...

 awarded South Africa a grade 9 out of 10 for successfully hosting the event.

In 2004, the swimming team of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns
Lyndon Ferns
Lyndon Ferns is a retired Olympic gold-medalist and former world record swimmer from South Africa. He swam for South Africa at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics....

, Darian Townsend
Darian Townsend
Darian Roy Townsend is a college and international swimmer from South Africa who is an Olympic gold medalist.Townsend was born in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa....

 and Ryk Neethling
Ryk Neethling
Ryk Neethling is a South African swimmer. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He is the former joint owner of the 4×100 m freestyle relay world record and holds several South African records...

 won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Athens, simultaneously breaking the world record in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Penny Heyns won Olympic Gold in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In golf, Gary Player
Gary Player
Gary Player DMS; OIG is a South African professional golfer. With his nine major championship victories, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of golf. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. Player has won 165 tournaments on six continents over six...

 is generally regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, having won the Career Grand Slam
Grand Slam (golf)
The Grand Slam in golf is winning all the golf's major championships in the same calendar year.-The Men's Grand Slam:The Grand Slam in men's golf is an unofficial concept, having changed over time. In the modern era, The Grand Slam is generally considered to be winning all four of golf's major...

, one of five golfers to have done so. Other South African golfers to have won major tournaments include Bobby Locke
Bobby Locke
Arthur D'Arcy "Bobby" Locke was the first internationally successful South African professional golfer. He won four Open Championships.-Early years:...

, Ernie Els
Ernie Els
Theodore Ernest "Ernie" Els is a South African professional golfer, who has been one of the top professional players in the world since the mid-1990s. A former World No. 1, he is known as "The Big Easy" due to his imposing physical stature along with his fluid, seemingly effortless golf swing...

, Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen is a South African professional golfer who has been in the top ten in the Official World Golf Rankings for over 250 weeks between 2001 and 2007. His main achievements have been two U.S...

, Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor John Immelman is a South African professional golfer and winner of the 2008 Masters Tournament.-Early years:Immelman was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Born into a golfing family , he took up golf at the age of five. He attended Hottentots Holland High School...

 and Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen
Lodewicus Theodorus "Louis" Oosthuizen is a South African professional golfer, who won the 2010 Open Championship.-Early life and career:...

 .

Education


South Africa has a 3 tier system of education starting with primary school, followed by high school and tertiary education in the form of (academic) universities and universities of technology. Learners have twelve years of formal schooling, from grade 1 to 12. Grade R is a pre-primary foundation year.

Primary schools span the first seven years of schooling. High School education spans a further five years. The Senior Certificate
National Senior Certificate
The National Senior Certificate or NSC is the equivalent of a high school diploma and is the school-leaving certificate in South Africa. This certificate is commonly known as the matriculant certificate, as grade 12 is known as the matriculation grade...

 examination takes place at the end of grade 12 and is necessary for tertiary studies at a South African university.

Public universities in South Africa are divided into three types: traditional universities, which offer theoretically oriented university degrees; universities of technology ("Technikon
Technikon
Technikon is a term used in South Africa to refer to a University of Technology. A synonym is "Technical University".Technikons focus mainly on providing high quality education and giving a hands-on approach to education and training...

s"), which offer vocational oriented diplomas and degrees; and comprehensive universities, which offer both types of qualification. There are 23 public universities in South Africa: 11 traditional universities, 6 universities of technology and 6 comprehensive universities. Public institutions are usually English medium, although instruction may take place in Afrikaans as well. There are also a large number of other educational institutions in South Africa – some are local campuses of foreign universities, some conduct classes for students who write their exams at the distance-education University of South Africa
University of South Africa
The University of South Africa is a distance education university, with headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa. With approximately 300 000 enrolled students, it qualifies as one of the world's mega universities.-History:...

 and some offer unaccredited or non-accredited diplomas. Both public and private universities and colleges register with the Department of Higher Education and Training and are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE). Rankings of universities and business schools in South Africa are largely based on international university rankings, because there have not as yet been published any specifically South African rankings.

Under apartheid, schools for blacks were subject to discrimination through inadequate funding and a separate syllabus called Bantu Education
Bantu Education Act
Bantu Education Act of 1953 was a South African law which codified several aspects of the apartheid system. Its major provision was enforced separation of races in all educational institutions. Even universities were made 'tribal', and all but three Missionary schools chose to close down when the...

which was only designed to give them sufficient skills to work as labourers. In 2004 South Africa started reforming its higher education system, merging and incorporating small universities into larger institutions, and renaming all higher education institutions "university" in order to redressing these imbalances.

Public expenditure on education was at 5.4 % of the 2002–05 GDP.

Crime



According to a survey for the period 1998–2000 compiled by the United Nations, South Africa was ranked second for murder and first for assaults and rapes per capita. Nearly 50 murders are committed each day in South Africa. Total crime per capita is 10th out of the 60 countries in the data set. Middle-class South Africans seek security in gated communities
Gated community
In its modern form, a gated community is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly-controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterized by a closed perimeter of walls and fences. Gated communities usually consist of small residential...

. Many emigrants from South Africa also state that crime was a big motivator for them to leave. Crime against the farming community
South African Farmer Murders
The South African farming community has suffered from attacks for many years. The majority of the victims have been white farmers, with claims of death tolls of up to 3,000 cited in the national and international media...

 has continued to be a major problem.

Sexual violence



It is estimated that 500,000 women are raped in South Africa every year with the average woman more likely to be raped than complete secondary school. A 2009 survey
Statistical survey
Survey methodology is the field that studies surveys, that is, the sample of individuals from a population with a view towards making statistical inferences about the population using the sample. Polls about public opinion, such as political beliefs, are reported in the news media in democracies....

 found one in four South African men admitted to raping someone and another survey found one in three women out of 4000 surveyed women said they had been raped in the past year.
Rapes are also perpetrated by children (some as young as ten). Child and baby rape
Child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities , indecent exposure with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to...

 incidences are some of the highest in the world and a number of high profile cases have outraged the nation.

Brain drain


Along with many African nations, South Africa has been experiencing a "brain drain
Brain drain
Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

" in the past 20 years. This is believed to be potentially damaging for the regional economy, and is almost certainly detrimental for the well-being of the majority of people reliant on the healthcare infrastructure, given the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The skills drain in South Africa tends to demonstrate racial contours (naturally given the skills distribution legacy of South Africa) and has thus resulted in large white South African communities abroad. However, the statistics which purport to show a brain drain are disputed and also do not account for repatriation
Repatriation
Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin following a war...

 and expiry of foreign work contracts. According to several surveys there has been a reverse in brain drain following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and expiration of foreign work contracts. In the first quarter of 2011, confidence levels for graduate professionals were recorded at a level of 84% in a PPS survey.

Xenophobia



In May 2008, riots left over sixty people dead. The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions is a Geneva-based international non-governmental human rights organisation founded in 1994 by Scott Leckie as a foundation in the Netherlands .-Offices:...

 estimates over 100,000 people were driven from their homes. Migrants and refugees seeking asylum were the targets, but a third of the victims were South African citizens. In a 2006 survey, the South African Migration Project concluded that South Africans are more opposed to immigration than anywhere else in the world. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , also known as The UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to...

 in 2008 over 200,000 refugees applied for asylum in South Africa, almost four times as many as the year before. These people were mainly from Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

, though many also come from Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Eritrea, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

. Competition over jobs, business opportunities, public services and housing has led to tension between refugees and host communities. While xenophobia is still a problem, recent violence has not been as widespread as initially feared.

Further reading


  • A History of South Africa, Third Edition. Leonard Thompson. Yale University Press
    Yale University Press
    Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

    . 1 March 2001. 384 pages. ISBN 0-300-08776-4.
  • Emerging Johannesburg: Perspectives on the Postapartheid City. Richard Tomlinson, et al. 1 January 2003. 336 pages. ISBN 0-415-93559-8.
  • Making of Modern South Africa: Conquest, Segregation and Apartheid. Nigel Worden. 1 July 2000. 194 pages. ISBN 0-631-21661-8.
  • South Africa: A Narrative History. Frank Welsh. Kodansha America. 1 February 1999. 606 pages. ISBN 1-56836-258-7.
  • South Africa in Contemporary Times. Godfrey Mwakikagile
    Godfrey Mwakikagile
    Godfrey Mwakikagile is a prominent Tanzanian scholar, writer and specialist in African studies.-Childhood:He was born in the town of Kigoma in western Tanzania - what was then Tanganyika - on 4 October 1949 and was baptised Godfrey about two months later on Christmas day, 25 December 1949, as a...

    . New Africa Press. February 2008. 260 pages. ISBN 978-0-9802587-3-8.
  • The Atlas of Changing South Africa. A. J. Christopher. 1 October 2000. 216 pages. ISBN 0-415-21178-6.
  • The Politics of the New South Africa. Heather Deegan. 28 December 2000. 256 pages. ISBN 0-582-38227-0.
  • Twentieth-Century South Africa. William Beinart Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

     2001, 414 pages, ISBN 0-19-289318-1


External links