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Wikipedia: South Africa
South Africa
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

South Africa is a republic at the southern tip of Africa. It is bordered to the north by Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, to the north-east by Mozambique and Swaziland. Lesotho is contained entirely inside the borders of South Africa.

Afrika borwa
Republiek van Suid-Afrika
Republic of South Africa (listen)
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: !ke e: /xarra //ke (Khoisan of the /Xam: diverse people unite) [1]
Official languages Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Southern Sotho, Northern Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana and Venda
Capitals Cape Town (legislative)
Pretoria (administrative)
Bloemfontein (judicial)
Largest City Cape Town (1991 census)
President Thabo Mbeki
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 24th
1,219,912 kmē
Negligible
Population
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 26th
43,647,658
36/km²
Independence
-Date1
From the UK:
May 31, 1910
Currency Rand
Time zone UTC +2
National anthems Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica (God Bless Africa)
Die Stem van Suid Afrika (The Call of South Africa)
Internet TLD.ZA
Calling Code27
(1) Formed as Union of South Africa. Name changed to the Republic of South Africa on May 31, 1961.

History

Main article: History of South Africa

South Africa is one of the oldest nation-states in Africa. South Africa was inhabited by the Khoi, San, Xhosa, Zulu and various other native tribes, when Dutch settlers arrived in 1652. Great Britain progressively encroached, leading to the Anglo-Dutch War and the two Boer wars. In 1910 the four main republics in the region united as the Union of South Africa. In 1931 South Africa became a fully sovereign and self-governing dominion under the British crown. In 1961 it became a republic.

The descendants of the white settlers remained a minority among the black native Africans. The whites were able to maintain their rule by implementing a series of harsh, apartheid laws that segregated the country along racial lines. The apartheid system became increasingly controversial in the late 20th century, and in 1994 the first multi-racial elections were held. Control of the country is now largely in the hands of the black majority, although some white politicians and business leaders remain.

Politics

Main article: Politics of South Africa

South Africa's government operates under a parliamentary system that is rather distinct from most other Commonwealth of Nations democracies.

There are two houses of parliament. The lower house is called the national assembly and has 400 members elected by proportional representation. The upper house is called the National Council of Provinces which is made up of 90 members appointed by South Africa's provincial governments.

The President of South Africa is both the Head of Government and Head of State and is elected by the members of the upper house of parliament.

The nine provinces of South Africa all have unicameral parliaments, headed by a premier.

Provinces

Main article: Provinces of South Africa

South Africa is divided into nine provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape.

Geography

Main article: Geography of South Africa

Economy

Main article: Economy of South Africa

South Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the 10 largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. However, although growth has been positive for ten consecutive years, it has not cut into the 30% unemployment, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially the problems of poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. Other problems are crime, corruption, and HIV/AIDS. At the start of 2000, President Mbeki vowed to promote economic growth and foreign investment by relaxing restrictive labour laws, stepping up the pace of privatization, and cutting unneeded governmental spending. His policies face strong opposition from organized labour.

South Africa has an estimated 4.79 million HIV infections. The government has recently, after much delay, devoted substantial resources to fighting the epidemic. A recent study (from the African Journal of Aids Research, Thomas Rehle and Olive Shisana) showed the infection rate starting to level off, (from 4.2% to 1.7% infection rate for 15-49 year olds), and AIDS deaths peaking at 487 320 in 2008.

Since South Africa opened its borders after the demise of apartheid, international crime syndicates have penetrated the country, and much of the world's drug trade flows through its borders. South Africa is also the fourth-largest producer of marijuana in the world.

The volatility of the rand has affected economic activity, with the rand plummeting during 2001 (hitting an historic low of 13.85 to the dollar, raising fears of inflation, and causing the reserve bank to increase interest rates), but since dramatically recovering, trading at under 7 in October 2003, leading to a recovery in inflation, and the reserve bank to drop rates, but exporters threatening to cut jobs.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of South Africa

Culture

Main article: Culture of South Africa

Public Holidays
DateName
1 JanuaryNew Year's Day
March 21Human Rights Day
The Friday before Easter SundayGood Friday
The day after Easter SundayEaster Monday
April 27Freedom Day
1 MayLabour Day
June 16Youth Day
August 9National Women's Day
September 24Heritage Day
December 16Day of Reconciliation
December 25Christmas Day
December 26Day of Goodwill

The Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) determines whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday

Miscellaneous topics

Former National Symbols

External links


  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona