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Unity in Diversity

Introduction

Flag of South Africa
Map of the South Africa within Africa.

The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland, and entirely surrounds Lesotho.

South Africa has the largest population of people of European descent in Africa,one of the largest Indian population outside of Asia, as well as the largest Coloured (of mixed European, Asian and African descent) community in Africa, making it one of the most ethnically diverse countries on the continent. Racial and ethnic strife between the black majority and the white minority have played a large part in the country's history and politics. The National Party began introducing the policy of apartheid after winning the general election of 1948; however, it was the same party under the leadership of F.W. de Klerk who started to dismantle it in 1990 after a long struggle by the black majority, as well as many white, coloured and Indian South Africans.

The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, and regular free and fair elections have been held since 1994, making it a regional power and among the most stable and liberal democracies in Africa.

South Africa is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. It has the second largest economy in Africa after Nigeria, and the 34th-largest in the world. By purchasing power parity, South Africa has the 7th highest per capita income in Africa. Although being the second largest economy, South Africa has the most sophisticated economy in the continent, with modern infrastructure common throughout the country. The country is considered to be a newly industrialized country according to the World Bank classifications.

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Great White Shark scavenging whale carcass.
Black December refers to numerous shark attacks that occurred along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, from December 1957 to Easter 1958. At least five humans died over the 107-day period.

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Voortrekker Monument
Credit: John Walker

The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.

Did you know...

Sun City - The Lost Palace

  • ...that South Africa is rated 3rd in the world in supplying safe, drinkable tap water.
  • ...that The Palace of the Lost City (pictured) resort hotel is the largest theme resort hotel in the world as well as the largest building project undertaken in the southern hemisphere.
  • ...that Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its 73-acre Animal Kingdom Lodge in the United States.


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Selected biography

Helen Zille
Helen Zille (legal name Otta Helene Maree née Zille; born 9 March 1951) is the Premier of the Western Cape, a member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance political party, and a former Mayor of Cape Town.

Zille is a former journalist and anti-apartheid activist, and was one of the journalists who exposed the truth behind the death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko while working for the Rand Daily Mail in the late 1970s. She also worked with the Black Sash and other pro-democracy groups during the 1980s. In the political arena, Zille has worked in all three tiers of government – as the Western Cape province's education MEC (1999–2004), as a Member of Parliament (2004–2006), as Mayor of Cape Town (2006–2009), and as Premier of the Western Cape (2009–present).

Zille's work as mayor, and in particular her successes in tackling crime, drug abuse and unemployment in Cape Town, led to her selection as World Mayor of the Year in 2008 - from a field of 820 candidates. She was also chosen as Newsmaker of the year 2006 by the National Press Club in July 2007, and is a former finalist in the South African Woman of the Year Award. Zille speaks English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa as well as German, the language of her parents.

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Desmond Tutu
We are the rainbow people of God! We are unstoppable! Nobody can stop us on our march to victory! No one, no guns, nothing! Nothing will stop us, for we are moving to freedom! We are moving to freedom and nobody can stop us! For God is on our side!

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Ouma Rusks bowl.jpg

Ouma (commonly referred to as Ouma Rusks) is a South African rusk made from a traditional buttermilk recipe. It was first produced in the rural town of Molteno, in the Eastern Cape, by Elizabeth Ann Greyvenstyn in 1939, in response to an initiative by the town's pastor to help the entrepreneurial efforts of the women in his congregation. The brand currently dominates the relatively-small local rusk market, and is manufactured in the same town it was first produced. Read more...

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