Portal:South Africa

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Unity in Diversity

Introduction

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South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland (Eswatini); and it surrounds the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with close to 56 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

The sovereign state of South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, which is the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990.

Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is often referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid. The World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, and a newly industrialised country. Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, and the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa. However, poverty and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. Nevertheless, South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, and maintains significant regional influence.

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2.5 inch "Screw Gun" employed in the defence of Kimberley
The Siege of Kimberley took place during the Second Boer War at Kimberley when Boer forces from the Orange Free State and the Transvaal besieged the diamond mining city. The Boers moved quickly to try to capture the British enclave when war broke out between the British and the two Boer republics in October 1899. The city was ill-prepared, but the defenders organised an energetic and effective defence that was able to prevent it from being taken.

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Did you know...

Arrival of Jan van Riebeek at The Cape

  • ...that in 1488 Bartolomeu_Dias was the First European to sail around the southernmost tip of Africa and originally named the Cape of Good Hope the "Cape of Storms"
  • ...that in 1647, a Dutch vessel, the Haarlem, was wrecked in the present-day Table Bay. After being rescued, the marooned crew recommended that a permanent station be established in the bay.
  • ...that Jan van Riebeek arrived at Table Bay with three ships (Dromedaris; Reijger and Goede Hoop) on April 6, 1652 and fortified the site as a way-station for the VOC trade route between the Netherlands and the East Indies.


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King Shaka kaSenzangakhona
Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c. 1787 – c. 22 September 1828), also known as Shaka Zulu, was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom. He is widely credited with uniting many of the Northern Nguni people, specifically the Mtetwa Paramountcy and the Ndwandwe into the Zulu Kingdom, the beginnings of a nation that held sway over the portion of southern Africa between the Phongolo and Mzimkhulu Rivers, and his statesmanship and vigour marked him as one of the greatest Zulu kings. Research continues into the character and methods of the Zulu warrior king, whose reign still greatly influences South African culture.

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Nelson Mandela
If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.

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