South Africa

Republic of South Africa

10 other official names[1]
Motto: "ǃke e꞉ ǀxarra ǁke(ǀXam)
"Unity in Diversity"
South Africa (orthographic projection).svg
Location South Africa AU Africa.svg
Capital
Largest cityJohannesburg[4]
Official languages11 languages[1]
Ethnic groups
(2019[6])
Religion
(2016)[7]
Demonym(s)South African
GovernmentUnitary dominant-party parliamentary republic
• President
Cyril Ramaphosa
David Mabuza
Amos Masondo
Thandi Modise
LegislatureParliament
National Council
National Assembly
Independence 
• Union
31 May 1910
11 December 1931
• Republic
31 May 1961
27 April 1994
4 February 1997
Area
• Total
1,221,037 km2 (471,445 sq mi) (24th)
• Water (%)
0.380
Population
• 2019 estimate
59,622,350[8] (23rd)
• 2011 census
51,770,560[9]:18
• Density
42.4/km2 (109.8/sq mi) (169th)
GDP (PPP)2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $748 billion[10] (32nd)
• Per capita
Increase $12,351[10] (96th)
GDP (nominal)2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $317 billion[10] (35th)
• Per capita
Increase $5,236[10] (89th)
Gini (2014)Positive decrease 63.0[11]
very high
HDI (2019)Increase 0.709[12]
high · 114th
CurrencySouth African rand (ZAR)
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Date formatyyyy/mm/dd
yyyy-mm-dd
Driving sideleft
Calling code+27
ISO 3166 codeZA
Internet TLD.za

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of 1,221,037 square kilometres (471,445 square miles). South Africa has three capital cities: executive Pretoria, judicial Bloemfontein and legislative Cape Town. The largest city is Johannesburg. About 80% of South Africans are of Black African ancestry,[9] divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages.[13] The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White South Africans), Asian (Indian South Africans), and Multiracial (Coloured South Africans) ancestry.

It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans;[14][15][13] to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (former Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho.[16] It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World, and the most populous country located entirely south of the equator. South Africa is a biodiversity hotspot, with a diversity of unique biomes and plant and animal life.

South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth-highest number in the world.[13] According to the 2011 census, the two most spoken first languages are Zulu (22.7%) and Xhosa (16.0%).[9] The two next ones are of European origin: Afrikaans (13.5%) developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most Coloured and White South Africans; English (9.6%) reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994.

During the 20th century, the black majority sought to claim more rights from the dominant white minority, which played a large role in the country's recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress (ANC) and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in the mid-1980s. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is often referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid.[17]

South Africa is a developing country and ranks at 114th on the Human Development Index, the seventh-highest in Africa. It has been classified by the World Bank as a newly industrialised country, with the second-largest economy in Africa, and the 33rd-largest in the world.[18][19] South Africa also has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa. The country is a middle power in international affairs; it maintains significant regional influence and is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and G20.[20][21] However, crime, poverty and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day.[22][23] Moreover, climate change is an important issue for South Africa: it is a major contributor to climate change as the 14th largest emitter of greenhouse gases as of 2018 (in large part due to its coal industry),[24] and is vulnerable to many of its impacts, because of its water-insecure environment and vulnerable communities.

  1. ^ a b The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (PDF) (2013 English version ed.). Constitutional Court of South Africa. 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "South Africa | History, Capital, Flag, Map, Population, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  3. ^ "South Africa at a glance | South African Government". www.gov.za. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Principal Agglomerations of the World". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  5. ^ ch.1, s.6
  6. ^ "Mid-year population estimates" (PDF). Statistics South Africa. 29 July 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  7. ^ "South Africa – Community Survey 2016". www.datafirst.uct.ac.za. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Mid-year population estimates" (PDF). Statistics South Africa. 9 July 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Census 2011: Census in brief (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 2012. pp. 23–25. ISBN 978-0621413885. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2020". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Gini Index". World Bank. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Human Development Report 2020" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  13. ^ a b c "South Africa Fast Facts". SouthAfrica.info. April 2007. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  14. ^ "South African Maritime Safety Authority". South African Maritime Safety Authority. Retrieved 16 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Coastline". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 16 June 2008.
  16. ^ Guy Arnold. "Lesotho: Year In Review 1996 – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Rainbow Nation – dream or reality?". BBC News. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  18. ^ "South Africa". World Bank. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  19. ^ Waugh, David (2000). "Manufacturing industries (chapter 19), World development (chapter 22)". Geography: An Integrated Approach. Nelson Thornes. pp. 563, 576–579, 633, 640. ISBN 978-0-17-444706-1. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  20. ^ Cooper, Andrew F; Antkiewicz, Agata; Shaw, Timothy M (10 December 2007). "Lessons from/for BRICSAM about South-North Relations at the Start of the 21st Century: Economic Size Trumps All Else?". International Studies Review. 9 (4): 675, 687. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2486.2007.00730.x.
  21. ^ Lynch, David A. (2010). Trade and Globalization: An Introduction to Regional Trade Agreements. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-7425-6689-7. Retrieved 25 August 2013. Southern Africa is home to the other of sub-Saharan Africa's regional powers: South Africa. South Africa is more than just a regional power; it is currently the most developed and economically powerful country in Africa, and now it is able to use that influence in Africa more than during the days of apartheid (white rule), when it was ostracised.
  22. ^ "South Africa's Unemployment Rate Increases to 23.5%". Bloomberg. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  23. ^ "HDI" (PDF). UNDP. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 December 2008.
  24. ^ "The Carbon Brief Profile: South Africa". Carbon Brief. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2020.