Country Profile

Country Profile South Africa

Country Profile of South Africa

Background: After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments, but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902). The resulting Union of South Africa operated under a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The 1990s brought an end to apartheid politically and ushered in black majority rule. The first democratic elections were held in 1994 and saw President Nelson Mandela as the first black president of South Africa. President Thabo Mbeki succeeded President Mandela, and President Kgalema Montlantle succeeded President Mbeki. President Jacob Zuma became the fourth South African president on 9 May 2009.

Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
Head of State: President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa.
Capital: Pretoria
Population: 50.586.000
Population growth rate, -0.412% (2012 est.)
Nationality: South African
Ethnic groups: black 75.2%, white 13.6%, Colored 8.6%, Indian 2.6%
Languages: 11 official languages, including IsiZulu, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, Sepedi, Sotho, IsiSwazi, IsiTsonga, Setswana, Tshivenda, IsiXhosa
Religions: Christian 68% (includes most whites and Coloreds, about 60% of blacks and about 40% of Indians), Muslim 2%, Hindu 1.5% (60% of Indians), indigenous beliefs and animist 28.5%
Independence: 31 May 1910 (from UK)
Currency: Rand

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