South Africa (GPS: 29 00 S, 24 00 E) located in Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. The country’s area measurements are total: 1,219,090 sq km; land: 1,214,470 sq km, water: 4,620 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly less than twice the size of Texas. The total irrigated land is 16,700 sq km (2012).
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Pretoria’s GPS coordinates are 25 42 S28 13 E. Pretoria’s local time is 7 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+2.
The fossil record indicates humans have inhabited South Africa since prehistoric times, and during the modern era, the region settled by Khoisan and Bantu peoples. Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of present-day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (Afrikaners, also called “Boers” (farmers) at the time) trekked north to found their republics, Transvaal and Orange Free State. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the native inhabitants’ subjugation.
The Afrikaners resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Second South African War (1899-1902); However, the British and the Afrikaners ruled together beginning in 1910 under the Union of South Africa, which became a republic in 1961 after a whites-only referendum. In 1948, the Afrikaner-dominated National Party was voted into power and instituted an apartheid policy – billed as “separate development” of the races – which favored the white minority at the expense of the black majority. The African National Congress (ANC) led the opposition to apartheid and many top ANC leaders, such as Nelson MANDELA, spent decades in South Africa’s prisons. Internal protests and insurgency and boycotts by some Western nations and institutions led to the regime’s eventual willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition to majority rule.
The first multi-racial elections in 1994 following the end of apartheid ushered in majority rule under an ANC-led government. South Africa has since struggled to address apartheid-era imbalances in housing, education, and health care. Jacob ZUMA became president in 2009 and was reelected in 2014, but was forced to resign in February 2018 after numerous corruption scandals and gains by opposition parties in municipal elections in 2016. His successor, Cyril RAMAPHOSA, has made some progress in reining in corruption and restructuring state-owned enterprises, though many challenges persist. In May 2019 national elections, the country’s sixth since the end of apartheid, the ANC won most parliamentary seats, delivering RAMAPHOSA a five-year term to continue anti-corruption measures and efforts to attract foreign investment.
South Africa’s names conventional long form: the Republic of South Africa, conventional short form: South Africa, former: Union of South Africa abbreviation: RSA, etymology: self-descriptive name from the country’s location on the continent; “Africa” is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia “Africa terra,” which meant “Land of the Afri” (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent. Self-descriptive name from the country’s location on the continent; “Africa” is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia “Africa terra,” which meant “Land of the Afri” (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent.
South Africa’s terrain is typically a vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain. The country’s mean elevation: 1,034 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m, highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m.
The country’s general climate is mostly semiarid: subtropical along the east coast: sunny days, cold nights.
The total number of border countries is 6, Botswana 1,969 km, Lesotho 1,106 km, Mozambique 496 km, Namibia 1,005 km, Eswatini 438 km, Zimbabwe 230 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. South Africa’s coastline is 2,798 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to edge of the continental margin. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 79.4%; arable land 9.9%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 69.2%; forest: 7.6%; other: 13% (2011 estimate).
The population in South Africa 55,380,210 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 64.8% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: Johannesburg (includes Ekurhuleni) 9.399 million; Cape Town (legislative capital) 3.66 million; Durban 2.901 million; PRETORIA (capital) 2.059 million; Port Elizabeth 1.179 million; Vereeniging 1.155 million (2015), while South Africa has N/A. Their spoken languages are: IsiZulu (official language) 22.7%, IsiXhosa (official language) 16%, Afrikaans (official language) 13.5%, English (official language) 9.6%, Sepedi (official language) 9.1%, Setswana (official language) 8%, Sesotho (official language) 7.6%, Xitsonga (official language) 4.5%, siSwati (official language) 2.5%, Tshivenda (official language) 2.4%, isiNdebele (official language) 2.1%, sign language 0.5%, other 1.6% (2011 estimate). Main religions in South Africa are Protestant 36.6% (Zionist Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%), Catholic 7.1%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1% (2001 census). The nation uses mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and customary law. It is a(n) parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Freedom Day, 27 April (1994).
Economic overview for the country: South Africa is a middle-income emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; And a stock exchange that is Africa’s most extensive and among the top 20 in the world. Economic growth has decelerated in recent years, slowing to an estimated 0.7% in 2017. Unemployment, poverty, and inequality – among the highest in the world – remain a challenge.
Official unemployment is roughly 27% of the workforce and runs significantly higher among black youth. Even though the country’s modern infrastructure supports a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region, unstable electricity supplies retard growth. Eskom, the state-run power company, is building three new power stations and is installing new power demand management programs to improve power grid reliability. It has been plagued with accusations of mismanagement and corruption and faces an increasingly high debt burden.
South Africa’s economic policy has focused on controlling inflation while empowering a broader economic base; However, the country faces structural constraints that limit economic growth, such as skills shortages, declining global competitiveness, and frequent work stoppages due to strike action. The government faces growing pressure from urban constituencies to improve the delivery of essential services to low-income areas, increase job growth, and provide university-level education at affordable prices. Political infighting among South Africa’s ruling party and the volatility of the rand risks economic growth. International investors are concerned about the country’s long-term financial stability; In late 2016, most major international credit rating agencies downgraded South Africa’s global debt to junk bond status.
Natural resources of South Africa: gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, rare earth elements, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas.
The main export partners for South Africa, Africa are China 11.3%, US 7.3%, Germany 6%, Namibia 5.2%, Botswana 5.2%, Japan 4.7%, UK 4.3%, India 4.2% (2015) for gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment, while the main import partners for the country are: China 17.6%, Germany 11.2%, US 6.7%, Nigeria 5%, India 4.7%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2015) for machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in South Africa: Prolonged droughts, volcanism: the volcano forming Marion Island in the Prince Edward Islands, which last erupted in 2004, is South Africa’s only active volcano, while infectious diseases are the degree of risk: intermediate food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016). Also, note that South Africa faces the following environmental issues: Lack of critical arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures, Growth in water usage outpacing supply, Pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge, Air pollution resulting in acid rain, Deforestation, Soil erosion, Land degradation, Desertification, Solid waste pollution, Disruption of the fragile ecosystem has resulted in significant floral extinctions.