Where is South Africa?

Located in Southern Africa, South Africa has a 5,244.00 km border with Botswana (1,969 km), Lesotho (1,106 km), Mozambique (496 km), Namibia (1,005 km), Swaziland (438 km) and Zimbabwe (230 km). It has a 2,798.00 km coastline. South Africa has placed military units to assist in police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

South Africa is unique from most countries around the world in that it has 3 capital cities: Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein. Each city serves as the central player for the 3 branches of government. Pretoria is home to the executive branch, Cape Town is home to the national legislative bodies, and Bloemfontein is considered the hub of the judicial branch. The largest of these cities is Cape Town, which has a population of 433,688 and an entire metropolitan population size of 3.74 million, making it the second most populated city in the country. Additionally, Cape Town is the most popular tourist destination in South Africa and is home to a number of natural and cultural sites. Because these cities are spread out all over the country, they each experience a different climate as well.

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South Africa is an African country covering 1,219,090.00 km2 of which 0.38% is water and 1,214,470.00 km2 is land. The area includes Marion Island and Prince Edward Island. This makes it the 24th largest country in the world and slightly less than twice the size of Texas. Its geographic coordinates are 29 00 S, 24 00 E and Pretoria is the capital city.

The country is named for its location on the continent.

Its ISO code is ZA.

Geography

South Africa has a mean elevation of 1,034 m above sea level.

It has a varied climate with westerly winds throughout the year. Its terrain is made up of a vast interior plateau, surrounded by rugged hills and a narrow coastal plain.

Population

South Africa has a population of 54,300,704 making it the 25th largest in the world.

South Africa has many official languages, including IsiZulu, IziXhosa, Afrikaans, English, Sepedi, and Setswana. The major ethnic group is black African. The religions practiced include Protestant Christian, Catholic, and other Christian.

The linguistic policy of South Africa was written with ethnic inclusion as one of the primary goals. By making languages official, the government believed it would work to promote their use so that they would not be lost over time. With 11 official languages, South Africa is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. The official languages of this country, as identified by the Constitution, are: Zulu, English, Afrikaans, Swati, Northern Sotho, Venda, Tswana, Ndebele, Xhosa, Sotho, and Tsonga. English is the most widely used language and the language of most business, as well as the government and the media. The most widely spoken first language, however, is Zulu, which belongs to the Niger-Congo language family. It is spoken by 22.7% of the population as a native tongue. Approximately 13.5% of the population speaks Afrikaans, making it the second most widely spoken native language in South Africa. Since English is so widespread, being able to speak that language can be valuable when traveling to this country. Some of the English phrases used here, however, are unique to the area.

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The dialing code for the country is 27.

Government

South Africa is an independent country. It declared itself a republic in 1961. Its constitution was last ratified in 1997.

The government of South Africa is carried out under as a parliamentary republic in which the President serves as both the Head of State and the Head of Government. In this government framework, the executive branch is accountable to the legislative branch. Legislative duties are carried out by a bicameral parliamentary body, which is made up of the National Council of Provinces (90 seats) and the National Assembly (400 seats). Citizens of South Africa elect representatives to serve in the National Assembly for a 5-year term. These representatives then come together to elect the President from its current members. In turn, the President selects representatives to serve on the Cabinet. Members of Parliament meet in the Houses of Parliament building, which is located in Cape Town. The original part of this building was completed in 1884. Currently, the African National Congress is the political party with majority representation, a distinction it has held since 1994.

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Economy

Factoring in Purchasing Power Parity, South Africa's GDP is $739,000,000,000.00 (USD) with $13,500.00 (USD) per capita. This makes it the 30th largest economy and its citizens the 114th richest in the world. The currency of South Africa is the Rand (ZAR).

Its major export partners are China, the United States, and Germany. Its main exports are gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals, machinery and equipment. Its major import partners are China, Germany, and the United States. Its major imports include machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, and foodstuffs.

Flag

The current flag of South Africa was first flown on April 27, 1994. The 1996 Constitution later named this flag as the official national design. It is the only one in the world with 6 individual colors, which are: red, black, yellow, blue, white, and green. This flag has a unique horizontal “Y” shape, which is said to represent the coming together of a diverse group of people and stories. The colors are also meant to represent the diversity found in this country. The South African flag was designed by Frederick Brownell, who served as the previous State Herald for the country.

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This page was last modified on January 17th, 2018