50 Fascinating Facts about South Africa

South Africa is a located at the southernmost tip of the continent of Africa. It is officially known as the Republic of South Africa, and is divided into nine separate provinces. The area of South Africa is approximately 471,443 square miles (1,221,037 square kilometers) making it the 25th largest country in the world. South Africa is home to 52.9 million people. The country has three capital cities, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, which have populations of 525,387 people, 328,773 people and 827,218 people respectively. The country’s flag is horizontal, and contains horiztonal blue and red stripes that surround a green ‘Y’ shape. The ‘Y’ shape is outlined in white on its outside and yellow on its inside. Between the top of the ‘Y’ and the top of the flag is a splash of black color. South Africa’s official languages include Afrikaans, Ndebele, English, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Tswana, Swazi, Tsonga, Venda, Zulu and Xhosa. Dutch is also spoken by many older citizens because it was an official language in the country between 1910 and 1925. South Africa is a secular state by its constitution, and implements religious freedom for all of its citizens; therefore it does not have an official religion. Its currency is called the South African rand, and it has been used in the country since 1961.

South Africa Facts

1
South Africa's government is a constitutional parliamentary republic. They have a President and a Deputy President.
2
Their total nominal GDP is $375.9 billion, while their nominal per capita GDP is $7,257.
3
South Africa's low per capita GDP contributes to its high poverty rate and high levels of income inequality. The country is considered to be in the top 10 countries of the world with the largest levels of income inequalities.
4
South Africa has a thriving tourism sector of their economy
5
The main exports of the country include iron, steel, vehicles, chemicals and oil. Their main imports include televisions, radios, computers, and vehicle parts.
6
Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first elected president in universal elections. Before he was elected, the country had strict segregation policies between 1948 and 1994.
7
Nelson Mandela was a strong believer in the unification of the country, and was sentenced to life in prison for being accused of trying to overthrow the apartheid government through violence. After 30 years he was released, and became President shortly after.
8
A wide variety of animals can be found in South Africa, including giraffes, leopards, elephants, buffalo, lions and hippopotami.
9
South Africa also has a wide variety of landscapes. Parts of the country are hilly and mountainous, while other parts are savannahs. Tourists who visit South Africa often partake in safaris so they can see a variety of animals in their natural habitats
10
South Africa is two times the size of Texas.
11
Polygamy is allowed in South Africa, and in many cultures, it is traditional for a man to have more than one wife.
12
April 27th is a day that is nationally recognized in South Africa. In 1994, April 27th was the day that every adult in the country, no matter their ethnicity, could vote in the Presidential elections.
13
New Years Eve and Day is celebrated with fireworks and family time in South Africa, similar to celebrations that occur in the Western Hemisphere.
14
Women’s Day is celebrated each year on August 9th. It is a national holiday that is celebrated to remind everyone what role Women played in the history of the country.
15
Since many South Africans are Christian, Christmas is also widely celebrated throughout the country. Christmas celebrations include going camping with your family, singing carols, and putting up and decorating Christmas trees and stockings.
16
The first ever human heart transplant was performed in Cape Town, South Africa in 1967.
17
Conservation of land and animals is very important to South Africans. Much of the country has lost most of its natural habitats due to overpopulation and industrialization.
18
South Africans love sports. Soccer is the nation’s favorite, but rugby and cricket are also played throughout the country.
19
Approximately 40% of the gold that is mined in the world comes from South Africa, and many scientists believe that the gold deposits in South Africa are around 3 billion years old.
20
Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the biggest and most intensive wildlife reservations in the world.
21
South Africa has three capitals. Cape Town is the Legislative capital, Pretoria is the Administrative capital, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.
22
Africans account for about 80% of the population.
23
South Africa has a total of nine provinces.
24
South Africa has 11 official languages, including English and Afrikaans. Many of the country's residents are multi-lingual.
25
About 80% of the country's population is Christian. South Africa's constitution guarantees freedom of religion for its inhabitants.
26
The country is so diverse, it is often referred to as the "rainbow nation."
27
South Africa was first settled by the Dutch in 1652.
28
The country's total fertility rate has declined dramatically in recent years. In the 1960's, the TFR was 6 children per woman. Now, that number has dropped to about 2.2.
29
During Mozamique's civil war of the 1980s, approximately 350,000 Mozambicans came to South Africa.
30
The literacy rate of South Africa is over 94%.
31
Graca Machel is the only woman in the world to have been first lady in two countries. She was first lady in both South Africa and Mozambique.
32
South Africa is home to a 6,000 year old tree that has a bar inside.
33
South Africa has one of the world's highest HIV rates. It is estimated that about 1 in every 5 people is infected.
34
Cape Town's Table Mountain is thought to be one of the oldest mountains in the world.
35
South Africa is the only country to have abandoned its nuclear weapon program.
36
The highest commercial bungee jump is located in South Africa. It towers over 700 feet tall.
37
Two-thirds of Africa's electricity is generated by South Africa.
38
One of the three largest telescopes in the world is located at Sutherland in the Karroo.
39
South Africa has a meteor scar that is 222 million. It is the oldest in the world.
40
South Africa has the world's largest deposits of chrome, gold, platinum, and manganese.
41
Western Deep Levels is the deepest mine in the world and is located in South Africa.
42
South African Breweries is one of the largest brewing companies in the world and supplies 50% of the beer in China.
43
The University of Pretoria in 1949 created the first MBA program outside of the United States.
44
Bones found in South Africa show that it is probable that the first humans lived in Africa.
45
South Africa was the first African country to legalize same sex marriage. This occured in 2006.
46
The world's largest bicycle race, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, is held in Cape Town, South Africa.
47
The world's largest diamond was found in Pretoria, South Africa. It was over 3,000 carats and was later broken down into smaller diamonds.
48
South Africa's diamond mines account for close to 10% of the world's diamonds.
49
The Rovos train is considered to be one of the most luxurious in the world. It features suites that have full bathrooms, showers, beds, and armchairs.
50
South Africa is home to the largest land mammal, reptile, fish, bird, and antelope.

South Africa is a beautiful country full of diverse people, wildlife and landscapes. It has a history of turmoil, but today the country is harmonized and stable. Their economy is growing, but they still do have many issues with income inequalities, high unemployment rates and high poverty rates. That being said, the country also has some of the largest gold reserves in the world, and is still economically sound.

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