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Portal:South Africa

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South Africa
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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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Dutch Reformed Church, Nieuwoudtville
Credit: Suzi-k

This dressed sandstone church in Nieuwoudtville is one of South Africa's Heritage Sites. Constructed between 1906 and 1907 it has served the surrounding community for more than a century.

Did you know...

The upper canyon as seen from Bourke's Luck at the Treur-Blyde confluence

  • ...that the Tugela Falls is the second highest waterfall in the world, where the water tumbles down 2,789 feet. First place goes to the Angel Falls in Venezuela at 3,212 feet.
  • ...that Blyde River Canyon (pictured) is the third largest canyon in the world - and the largest green one. The Grand Canyon in the U.S. is the biggest, and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia the second, but both are very dry.
  • ...that South Africa is home to the world's smallest succulent plants (less than 0.39 inches) and the largest (the baobab tree).

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Emily Hobhouse
Emily Hobhouse (9 April 1860 – 8 June 1926) was a British welfare campaigner, who is primarily remembered for bringing to the attention of the British public, and working to change, the deprived conditions inside the British concentration camps in South Africa built for Boer women and children during the Second Boer War.

She became an honorary citizen of South Africa for her humanitarian work there. Her ashes were ensconced in a niche in the National Women's Monument at Bloemfontein, where she was regarded as a heroine; her memorial service was the greatest granted to a non–South African. The southernmost town in Eastern Free State is named Hobhouse, after her, as was a submarine: the SAS Emily Hobhouse, one of the South African Navy's three Daphné class submarines; the submarine was later renamed Umkhonto.

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In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift—a more human face.

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