South Africa

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Official Name:
Republic of South Africa
short form: South Africa
former: Union of South Africa.

South Africa’s name in native (official) languages:
Afrika Borwa (Pedi, seSotho, Tswana)
Afrika Dzonga (Tsonga)
Afurika Tshipembe (Venda)
Mzantsi Afrika (isiXhosa)
Ningizimu Afrika (siSwati, isiZulu)
Suid-Afrika (Afrikaans)

ISO Country Code: za

Time:
Local Time = UTC +2h

Country Calling Code: +27

Capital City: Pretoria (administrative)
Bloemfontein (Mangaung) (judicial center)
Mangaung Local Municipality; (the city’s name in seSotho is Mangaung).
Cape Town (legislative center)

Other Cities: Johannesburg, Durban (Thekwini),Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth

Government:
Type: Republic
Independence: 31 May 1910 (from UK); South Africa became a republic in 1961.
Constitution: 1996
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa

Geography:
Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the African continent.
Area: 1.2 million km² (470,462 sq. mi). Terrain: Plateau, savanna, desert, mountains, coastal plains. Climate: moderate; similar to southern California.

Climate: Mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights

People:
Nationality: South African(s).
Population: (2011) 50.5 million; black 78%; white 10%; colored 9%; Asian (Indian) 2.5%; other.
Languages: (11 official languages) Sesotho sa Leboa 9.2%, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati (Swazi), Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans 14,4%, English 8.6%, isiNdebele, isiXhosa 17.9%, isiZulu 22.9%.
Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African believes, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish.

Natural resources: South Africa is rich of natural resources: Gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas.

Agriculture products: Corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products.

Industries: Mining (world’s largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs.

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)

South Africa in numbers
Key statistic figures South Africa.

Background:
Often called ‘the rainbow nation’, South Africa is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa. It was inhabited by pastoral Khoekhoe (Khoi), the hunter-gatherer San, the Xhosa, and the Zulu nations and various other indigenous tribes, when Dutch settlers arrived in middle of the 17th century, much to the disadvantage of the Khoekhoe along the southern and western coastal strips.
What followed was an aggressive colonial expansion for centuries mainly of settlers of Dutch, German and French Huguenot origin. In 1795 the British took over the Cape from the Dutch, seven years later the colony was returned to the Dutch government, only to come under British rule again in 1806, this circumstance and the rise to power of the Zulu king Shaka, forcing many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) to trek north and east to found their own republics.
The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants until the end of the 20th century.
The 1990s brought an end to apartheid with South Africa’s transition to democracy and with Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as SA’s first democratically elected President 1994.

border countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

related countries: United Kingdom, Netherlands


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