From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. It has 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline that stretches along the South Atlantic and Indian oceans.
To the north lie the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; and within it lies Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South African territory.
South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 53 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation.
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 among the highest number of any country in the world.
Two of these languages are of European origin: English and Afrikaans, the latter originating from Dutch and serving as the first language of most white and coloured South Africans.
Though English is commonly used in public and commercial life, it is only the fourth most-spoken first language.
About 80 percent of South Africans are of black African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status.
The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian, and multiracial ancestry.
All ethnic and linguistic groups have political representation in the country's constitutional democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces.
Since the end of apartheid, South Africa's unique multicultural character has become integral to its national identity, as signified by the Rainbow Nation concept.
South Africa is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank, and is considered to be a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second largest in Africa, and the 28th-largest in the world.
In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa, although 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.
Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa.
Republic of South Africa
Motto: "!ke e: ǀxarra ǁke" (ǀXam)
"Unity in Diversity"
• Pretoria (executive)
• Bloemfontein (judicial)
• Cape Town (legislative)
Largest city: Johannesburg (2006)
Official languages: 11 languages
• 79.2% Black African
• 8.9% Coloured
• 8.9% White
• 2.5% Indian or Asian
• 0.5% other
Demonym: South African
Government: Constitutional parliamentary republic
Speaker of the National Assembly:
• Upper house: National Council of Provinces
• Lower house: National Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom
Union: 31 May 1910
Statute of Westminster: 11 December 1931
Republic: 31 May 1961
• Total: 1,221,037 km2 (25th) - 471,443 sq mi
• Water (%): negligible
2013 estimate 52,981,991 (25th) - 2011 census 51,770,560
Density: 42.4/km2 (169th) - 109.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP): 2014 estimate
• Total: $623.201 billion (25th)
• Per capita: $11,914 (82nd)
Currency: South African rand (ZAR)
Time zone: SAST (UTC+2)
Drives on the left
Calling code: +27
ISO 3166 code: ZA
Internet TLD: .za