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 Jewel of

The African continent is comprised of 54 nations, each with its own independent government and sovereignty, GDP, culture, natural resources, language(s), military, and religion. The treasure trove of mineral and raw material wealth has scarcely been touched and the continent's largely untapped fertile lands could feed the world. Herewith is Jewel of Africa, an interactive adventure in the cradle of mankind, an exploration of nations from A-Z in alphabetical order.

South Africa: One of the 50 richest nations in the world


The Republic of South Africa, most commonly referred to as South Africa, occupies the southern tip of the African continent and borders the nations of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, and Lesotho. Its long coastline stretches more than 1,550 miles from the desert border with Nami- bia on the Atlantic coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then north to the border with subtropical Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.


It is the most modern nation on the continent, with its protected wildlife and ecosystem, balanced by its modern infrastructure, unmatched in Africa. South Africa experienced a significantly different evolution from other nations on the continent as a result of two factors: higher European immigra- tion rates and the strategic importance of the Cape sea route. Its mineral wealth made the country extremely important to Western interests, particularly during the Cold War. As a result of immigra- tion, South Africa is a racially diverse nation, with Black South Africans accounting for slightly less than 80 percent of the population.

Racial strife between the White minority and the Black majority has played a large part in the country's recent history and politics, culminating in apartheid, which was instituted in 1948 by the National Party, though segregation existed prior to that date. The laws that defined apartheid began to be repealed or abolished by the National Party in 1990 after a long and sometimes violent struggle by the Black majority as well as many White, Colored, and Indian South Africans.


Its legacy of apartheid etched the country into the conscience of the world, especially in the 1980s, and resulted in economic sanctions from the international community. 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 cen- tury; however, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. The economy of South Africa is the largest and best developed on the continent, with modern infra- structure common throughout the country.

South Africa is often referred to as "The Rainbow Nation," a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and later adopted by then-President Nelson Mandela as a metaphor to describe the country's newly developing multicultural diversity in the wake of segregationist apartheid ideology.


South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological sites in Africa. Extensive fossil remains in Makapans Cave and other locations suggest that various australopithecines existed in South Africa from about three million years ago. These were succeeded by various species of Homo, including Homo habilisHomo erectus and modern man, Homo sapiens, at the Klasies River Caves. Bantu- 

speaking peoples (here, Bantu is a linguistic term, not an ethnic one), iron-tool-using agriculturists and herdsmen had moved south of the Limpopo River into modern-day South Africa by the fourth or fifth century. They moved south, displacing earlier hunter-gatherer peoples as they migrated.

The first circumnavigation of the Cape of Good Hope by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias occurred in 1488. Along with the accounts of early navigators, the accounts of shipwreck survivors provide the earliest written accounts of Southern Africa. In the two centuries following 1488, a number of small fishing settlements were made along the coast by Portuguese sailors. In 1652 a victualling station was established at the Cape of Good Hope by Jan van Riebeeck on behalf of the Dutch East India Company.


For most of the 17th and 18th centuries, the slowly growing settlement was a Dutch possession. The Dutch settlers eventually met the southwesterly expanding Xhosa people in the region of the Fish River. A series of wars ensued, mainly caused by conflicting land and livestock interests.

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South Africa is the only nation in the world with three capital cities. Resulting from negotiations between the British Em- Empire and the defeated Boer republics that ended the sec- sec Anglo-Boer war and created the Union of South Africa were three capitals. Parliament meets in Cape Town, the for-

mer capital of the British Cape Province. The administration was headquartered in Pretoria, the capital of the former Boer republic of Transvaal; and the judiciary was situated in Bloemfontein, the capital of the other Boer republic or what was once the Orange Free State. (Cape Town immediately above and below caption)

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At the time of South Africa’s 1994 transition to “non-racial” democ- racy, there were propo- sals to consolidate all functions of government in Pretoria or, alternativ- ely, to build an altoge- ther new capital city, following the model of Washington, D.C., Canberra, or Brasilia. The idea was especially popular within the gov- erning African National Congress (ANC). Part of the appeal of a new capital was that it would be free of any vestiges or symbols of the hated apartheid regime.

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South Africa has some of the most contemporary and opulent cities in Africa, if not the world, including Pretoria, the Admin- istrative headquarters for South Africa, just one of its cities featuring a statue of national icon Nelson Mandela, the founder of the African National Congress and first Black president of the Republic of South Africa.

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Bloemfontein, South Africa's third capital city, and the center of the other Boer republic or what was once the Orange Free State.

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Other key urban centers in South Africa include Durban, a coastal city in eastern South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, is known for its African, Indian and colonial influences. Refurbished for soccer’s 2010 World Cup, the seafront promenade runs from uShaka Marine World, a huge theme park with an aquarium, to the futuristic Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Durban Botanical Gardens here showcases African plant species.

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Durban is the third most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg 

and Cape Town and the largest city in the South African province of Kwa- Zulu-Natal. Durban forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which includes neighboring towns and has a population of more than 3.7 million people making the muni- cipality on the coast of the Indian Ocean one of the largest cities in Africa. (On the left) the refurbished Moses Mabhida stadium for soccer, site of the 2010 World Cup. Named after Moses Mabhida, a former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, the facility is a multi-use stadium. It was cons- tructed at a cost of US$ 450 million. The project broke ground in 2006. 

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Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city and capital of Gauteng pro- vince, bearing a popula- tion of 4.5 million, began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement. Its sprawling Soweto town- ship was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Man-dela’s former residence is now the Mandela House museum. Other Soweto museums that recount the struggle to end segregation include the somber Apartheid Museum and Constitu- tion Hill, a former prison complex.

Johannesburg, aka Jozi, Joburg, or "The City of Gold," is one of the 100 largest urban areas in the world.  According

to Demographia, the Johannesburg-Pretoria urban area (combined because of strong trans- transport links that make

commuting feasible) is the 26th-largest in the world and the provin- cial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa. Johan- nesburg is the seat of the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa.


Most of the major South African companies and banks have their head offices in Johannesburg. The city is located in the mineral-rich Witwaters- rand range of hills and is the center of large-scale gold and diamond trade. It was one of the host cities of the official tour- nament of the 2010 FIFA World Cup—and it was host of the the final.


A separate city from the late 1970s until 1994, Soweto is now part of Johannesburg. Originally an acronym for "South-Western Townships," Soweto

was originally a group

of settlements on the outskirts of Johan- nesburg, populated mostly by native African workers from the gold mining industry.

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Major hotels abound throughout South Africa's cities making it easily one of the top tourist destinations in Africa.

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Great Britain seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1797 seeking to use Cape Town in particular as a stop on the route to Australia and India.


The Dutch East India Company declared bankruptcy, and the British annexed the Cape Colony in 1805. The British continued the frontier wars against the Xhosa, pushing the eastern frontier eastward through a line of forts established along the Fish River and consolidating it by encouraging British settlement. Due to pressure from abolitionist societies in Britain, the British Parliament first stopped its global slave trade in 1806, then abolished slavery in all its colonies in 1833. 


The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1886 encouraged economic growth and immigration, intensifying the subjugation of the indigenous. The Boers successfully resisted British encroachments during the First Boer War (1880-1881) using guerrilla warfare tactics, much better suited to local conditions. However, the British returned in greater numbers in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). The Boers resisted fiercely, but the British eventually overwhelmed the Boer forces, using their superior numbers, improved tactics, and external supply chains. Also during this war, the British used controversial concentration camps and scorched earth tactics.

Union of South Africa

The Union of South Africa was created from the Cape and Natal colonies, as well as the republics of Orange Free State and Transvaal, on May 31, 1910. The newly created Union of South Africa was a dominion. In 1948, the right-wing National Party was elected to power and began implementing a series of harsh segregationist laws that would become known collectively as apartheid. While the White minority enjoyed the highest standard of living in all of Africa, often comparable to Western nations, the Black majority remained disadvantaged by almost every standard, including income, education, housing, and life expectancy. However, the average income and life expec- tancy of a Black, Indian, or Colored South African compared favorably to many other African states.

Apartheid became increasingly controversial, leading to widespread sanctions and divestment abroad and grow- ing unrest and oppression within South Africa. A long period of harsh suppression by the government, and resis- tance, strikes, marches, protests, and sabotage, by various anti-apartheid movements, most notably the African National Congress (ANC), followed.

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South Africa's appeal is its urban charm and wildness. Rugged peaks give way to gentle valleys flourishing with flora and fauna.

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In 1990, the National Party government, under acting President F. W. de Klerk and Foreign Minister Roelof ("Pik") Botha took the first steps, making a five-year plan, toward negotiating itself out of power. After consultation with Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, the National Party lifted the ban on the ANC and other left-wing political organizations and released Nelson Mandela from prison after 27 years of incarceration.


Apartheid legislation was gradually removed from the statute books, and the first multi-racial elections were held in 1994. The ANC won by an overwhelming majority and has been in power ever since.

Despite the end of apartheid, millions of South Africans, mostly Black, continue to live in poverty. This is attributed to the legacy of the apartheid regime and, increasingly, what many see as the failure of the current government to tackle social issues, coupled with the monetary and fiscal discipline of the current government to ensure both redistribution of wealth and economic growth. However, the ANC's social housing policy has produced some tax improvement in living conditions in many areas by redirecting fiscal spending and improving the efficiency of the collection system.


South Africa is located at the southernmost region of Africa, with a long coastline that stretches more than 1,550 miles  and across two oceans, (the Atlantic and the Indian). South Africa is the world's 25th-largest country and is nearly twice the size of the state of Texas. Njesuthi in the Drakensberg at 11,181 feet is the highest peak in the Republic of South Africa. The nation has a great variety of climate zones, from the extreme conditions of the southern Namib desert in the far northwest to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the Mozambique border and the Indian Ocean. From the east, the land quickly rises over a mountainous escarpment toward the interior plateau known as the Highveld. Even though South Africa is classified as semi-arid, there is considerable variation in climate as well as topography.

South Africa has one possession, the small sub-Antarctic archipelago of the Prince Edward Islands, consisting of Marion Island and Prince Edward Island (not to be confused with the Canadian province of the same name).

Flora and fauna

South Africa has more than 20,000 different plants, or about 10 percent of all the known species of plants on Earth, making it particularly rich in plant biodiversity. But while it has a great wealth of flowering plants, it has few forests. Only one percent of South Africa is forest, almost exclusively in the humid coastal plain along the Indian Ocean.

South Africa has lost extensive acreage of natural habitat in the last four decades, primarily due to overpopulation, sprawling development patterns, and deforestation during the nineteenth century. South Africa is one of the worst affected countries in the world when it comes to invasion by alien species, with many posing a significant threat to the native biodiversity and the already scarce water resources. Pine trees are being removed from all of South Africa, to allow indigenous fynbos and Afro-montane forests to be re-established.

Some 297 species of mammal have been recorded in South Africa, of which 30 species are considered threat- ened. The Kruger National Park, in the east of the country, is one of the largest national parks in the world, with an area of 7,523 sq miles of grassland with scattered trees. It supports a wide range of ungulates including Burchell's zebraimpalagreater kudublue wildebeestwaterbuckwarthogCape buffalogiraffe and hippopotamus. There are also black and white rhinoceroseselephantAfrican wild dogcheetahleopardlion and spotted hyena.

Primates are represented by the Mohol bush baby, the brown greater galago, the Sykes' monkey, the vervet mon- key and the chacma baboon. Smaller carnivores include mongoosesgenets, the caracal, the serval, the African wildcat, the Cape fox, the side-striped jackal, the black-backed jackalmeerkats, and the African clawless otterElsewhere in the country there are gemsbok, alternatively known as oryx, nyalabushbuck and springbok. There are 17 species of golden mole, a family limited to southern Africa, five species of elephant shrew, many species of shrews, the southern African hedgehog, the aardvark, various hares and the critically endangered riverine rabbit. There are numerous species of bat and a great many species of rodent.

There is a rich fauna of reptiles with 447 species of reptile recorded in the country, and 132 species of amphibians.  South Africa has the richest diversity of reptiles of any African country. Endemic species include the angulate tortoise and geometric tortoise, the Zululand dwarf chameleon, the Transkei dwarf chameleon and the Robertson dwarf chameleon, the Broadley's flat lizard, the dwarf Karoo girdled lizard, the Soutpansberg rock lizard, and the yellow-bellied house snake.

Also included among the fauna are the Nile crocodile, the leopard tortoise, the Speke's hinge-back tortoise, the serrated hinged terrapin, various chameleons, lizards, geckos and skinks, the cape cobra, the black mamba, the eastern green mamba, the puff adder, the mole snake, and a range of other venomous and non-venomous snakes.

Amphibian diversity reflects the many diverse habitats around the country. Species include the endemic western leopard toad and the arum frog, the bronze caco, the spotted snout-burrower and the critically endangered Rose's ghost frog, found only on the slopes of Table Mountain. Another troubed endemic species is the Natal diving frog.

The brown fur seal and other species of seal occur on the coasts and the waters around the country are visited by numerous species of whale and dolphin.

Birds of South Africa

With its diverse habitat types, South Africa has a wide range of residential and migratory avain species. According to the 2018 edition of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 849 species of bird have been recorded in South Africa and its offshore islands. Of these, 125 species are vagrants, and about 30 are endemic either to South Africa, or the more inclusive South Africa/Lesotho/Eswatini region.  


The endemic species include the southern black and blue korhaans, the grey-winged francolin, Knysna turaco, the Fynbos buttonquail,  southern bald ibis, forest buzzard,  ground woodpecker, Cape and Drakensberg rock- jumpers, Capeeastern and Agulhas long-billed larks, red KarooRudd's and Botha's larks, Cape bulbul, Vic- torin's and Knysna warblers, Drakensberg prinia, bush blackcap, Cape sugarbird, chorister robin-chat, sentinel and Cape rock thrushes,  buff-streaked chat, pied starling, African Penguin, and orange-breasted sunbird.

The common ostrich is plentiful on the open grassland and savannah areas.  Some birds breed elsewhere but migrate to South Africa to overwinter, while others breed in the country but migrate away in the non-breeding season. Migratory species include the greater striped swallowwhite-rumped swiftwhite storkAfrican pygmy kingfisheryellow-billed kite, and European bee-eater.


South Africa has a bicameral parliament: the 90 members of the National Council of Provinces (the upper house), and the 400 members of the National Assembly (the lower house). Members of the lower house are elected on a population basis by proportional representation. Half of the members are elected from national lists and half are elected from provincial lists. Ten members are elected to represent each province in the National Council of Prov- inces, regardless of the population of the province. Elections for both chambers are held every five years. The government is formed in the lower house; the leader of the majority party in the National Assembly is the president.

Current South African politics are dominated by the African National Congress (ANC). The Republic of South Africa is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The president of South Africa serves both as head of state and as head of government. The president is elected by the National Assembly (the lower house of the South African Parliament) and must retain the confidence of the Assembly in order to remain in office. South Africans also elect provincial legislatures which govern each of the country's nine provinces.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC has dominated South Africa's politics. The ANC is the ruling party in the national legislature, as well as in eight of the nine provinces (Western Cape is governed by the Democratic Alliance). The ANC received 57.50 percent of the vote during the 2019 general election. It had received 62.9 percent of the popular vote in the 2011 municipal election.

The main challenger to the ANC's rule is the Democratic Alliance, led by John Steenhuisen (previously by Mmusi Maimane), which received 20.77 percent of the vote in the 2019 election. Other major political parties represented in Parliament include the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Inkatha Freedom Party, which generally represents Zulu voters.

The formerly dominant New National Party, which both introduced and ended apartheid through its predecessor the National Party, disbanded in 2005 to merge with the ANC. Jacob Zuma served as President of South Africa since May 2009 until his resignation in February 2018. Zuma was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa. The nation's 2019 general election was held on May 8.

Administrative divisions

The primary administrative divisions of South Africa are the nine provinces. The provinces are divided into metro- politan and district municipalities, with the district municipalities being further divided into local municipalities. Met- ropolitan and local municipalities are divided into wardsSince 1994, South Africa has been divided into nine pro- vinces: the Eastern Cape, the Free StateGautengKwaZulu-NatalLimpopoMpumalangaNorth West, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape. The boundaries of the provinces, which are specified in the national cons- titution, have been altered twice by constitutional amendment.

Each province is governed by a unicameral legislature elected by party-list proportional representation, and a Premier elected by the legislature. The provincial legislatures are represented in the national Parliament by their delegations to the National Council of Provinces. Eight of South Africa's largest cities are governed as metropoli- tan municipalities, which exercise all municipal functions in their areas, in contrast with the divided responsibilities in areas with the district/local system. Metropolitan municipalities are governed by councils in which half of the councillors are directly elected from the wards and half are elected by party-list proportional representation.

The eight metropolitan municipalities are: Buffalo City (East London), City of Cape Town (Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, (East Rand), eThekwini (Durban), City of JohannesburgMangaung (Bloemfontein), Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), and City of Tshwane (Pretoria). Outside the metropolitan municipalities, the rest of South Africa is divided into 44 district municipalities. These cover large regions of the provinces, and are in turn divided into local municipalities.  The district municipalities are responsible for "district-wide" municipal functions, including develop- ment planning, bulk supply of utilities, arterial roads, and public transport. In district councils, 60 percent of the councillors are nominated by the councils of the constituent local municipalities, while the remaining 40 percent are elected by the population by party-list proportional representation.

The district municipalities are divided into a total of 205 local municipalities. In general, a local municipality includes one or more towns and the surrounding villages and rural areas. A local municipality exercises all the municipal functions not carried out by the district municipality within which it lies. Local municipalities' councils are elected in the same way as those of metropolitan municipalities: half from wards and half by proportional repre- sentation.


South Africa's armed forces, known as the South African National Defense Force (SANDF), were created in 1994. In recent years, it has become a major peacekeeping force in Africa and been involved in operations in Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi, among others. It has also participated as a part of multi- national UN peacekeeping forces.

South Africa undertook a nuclear weapons program in the 1970s and may have conducted a nuclear test over the Atlantic Ocean in 1979. It has since renounced its nuclear program and, after destroying its small nuclear arsenal, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1991. It is the only African country to have successfully developed nuclear weapons and, to date, the only country in the world to have voluntarily dismantled its entire nuclear weapons arsenal.


By UN classification South Africa is a middle-income country with an abundant supply of resources; well-devel-oped financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that ranks among the 10th largest in the world; and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. South Africa's per capita GDP positions the country as one of the 50 wealthiest in the world. It is estimated that South Africa accounts for up to 30 percent of the gross domestic product of the entire African continent. South Africa is also the continent's largest energy producer and consumer.

In many respects, South Africa is developed; however, this development is primarily centered in four areas, namely Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria/Johannesburg. Beyond these four economic centers, develop- ment is marginal and poverty still reigns despite government strategies. Large income gaps and a dual economy designate South Africa as developing; South Africa has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the world. Growth rates in the last 10 years are helping lower unemployment, but daunting economic problems remain. Other problems are crime, corruption, and HIV/AIDS.

Refugees from poorer neighboring countries abound, with immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MozambiqueZimbabweMalawi, and many others representing a large portion of the informal sector. With high unemployment levels, many poorer South Africans resent immigrants, who are seen to be depriving them of jobs, a feeling given credibility by the fact that many South African employers have employed migrants from other countries for lower pay than South African citizens, especially in the construction, tourism, agriculture, and dom- estic service industries.


South Africa has a large agricultural sector and is a net exporter of farm products. The agricultural industry con- tributes a relatively low amount of formal employment compared to other parts of Africa, as well as providing work for casual laborers. Due to the aridity of the land, only 13.5 percent can be used for crop production, and only 3 percent is considered high-potential land.

Although the commercial farming sector is relatively well-developed, people in some rural areas still survive on subsistence agriculture. It is one of the largest producers of wine and sunflower seeds. South Africa is a net exporter of agricultural products and foodstuffs, the largest number of exported items being sugar, grapes, citrus, nectarines, wine, and deciduous fruit. The largest locally produced crop is corn. Livestock are also popular on South African farms, with the country producing 85 percent of all meat consumed. There is also a substantial dairy industry.

The agricultural sector has introduced several reforms, some of which are controversial, such as land reform and the deregulation of the market for agricultural products. Land reform has been criticized by both farmers' groups and landless workers, the latter alleging that the pace of change has not been fast enough, and the former alleging racist treatment and expressing concerns that a similar situation to Zimbabwe's land reform policy may develop. The sector continues to face problems, with increased foreign competition and crime being two of the major challenges for the industry.


South Africa is a nation of people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and beliefs. Though the major part of the population classified itself as African or black, those people are not culturally or linguistically homogeneous. Major ethnic groups include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho (South Sotho), Bapedi (North Sotho), Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi, and Ndebele, all of which speak Bantu languages.

Some, such as the Zulu, Xhosa, Bapedi, and Venda groups, are unique to South Africa. Other groups are distrib- uted across the borders with South Africa's neighbors: The Basotho group is also the major ethnic group in Leso- tho. The Tswana ethnic group constitute the majority of the population of Botswana. The Swazi ethnic group is the major ethnic group in Swaziland.

The Ndebele ethnic group is also found in Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, where they are known as the Matabele. These Ndebele people are, however, in effect Zulu people because the language they speak is Zulu and they are the descendants of a faction under the warrior Mzilikazi (ca. 1790-1868) that escaped persecution from Shaka by migrating to their current territory. The Tsonga ethnic group is also found in southern Mozambique, where they are known as the Shangaan.

The White population descends largely from colonial immigrants: DutchGermanFrench Huguenot, and British. Culturally and linguistically, they are divided into the Afrikaners, who speak Afrikaans, and English-speaking groups, many of whom originated from British immigrants. Small communities that immigrated over the last century retain the use of other languages. The White population is decreasing due to a low birthrate and emigration. As a factor in their decision to emigrate, many cite the high crime rate and the government's affirmative action policies.

The term "Colored" is still largely used for the people of mixed race descended from slaves brought in from East and Central Africa, the indigenous Khoisan who lived in the Cape at the time, indigenous African Blacks, Whites (mostly the Dutch/Afrikaner and British settlers) as well as an admixture of Javanese, Malay, Indian, Malagasy, and other Europeans (such as Portuguese) and Asian blood (such as Burmese). The majority speak Afrikaans.

Khoisan is a term used to describe two separate groups, physically similar in that they were light-skinned and small in stature. The Khoikhoi, who were called Hottentots by the Europeans, were annihilated. The San, called Bushmen by the Europeans, were hunter-gatherers. Within what is known as the Colored community, more recent immigrants will also be found: Coloreds from Zimbabwe) and Namibia and immigrants of mixed descent from India and Burma, who were welcomed to the Cape when the latter countries received their independence.

The major part of the Asian population of the country is Indian in origin, many of them descended from indentured workers brought in the nineteenth century to work on the sugar plantations of the eastern coastal area then known as Natal. There is also a significant group of Chinese South Africans.


As in many sub-Saharan African countries, the spread of AIDS is a serious problem in South Africa. The link between HIV, a virus spread primarily by sexual contact, and AIDS was long denied by the president and the health minister, who insisted that the many deaths in the country were due to malnutrition, and hence poverty, not HIV. Most deaths from AIDS are of people who are economically active, resulting in many families losing their primary wage earners. This results in many orphans who frequently depend on the state for care and financial support. It is estimated that there are 63 percent of orphans in South Africa are orphaned due to AIDS. Elderly people, traditionally supported by younger members of the family, are also becoming more and more dependent on the state for financial support.


It may be argued that there is no "single" culture in South Africa because of its ethnic diversity. Today, the diversity in foods from many cultures is enjoyed by all and especially marketed to tourists who wish to sample the large variety of South African cuisine. In addition to food, music and dance feature prominently. There is great diversity in music from South Africa. Many Black musicians who sang in Afrikaans or English during apartheid have since begun to sing in traditional African languages and have developed a unique style called Kwaito. Of note is Brenda Fassie, who launched to fame with her song "Weekend Special," which was sung in English.

More famous traditional musicians include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, while the Soweto String Quartet performs classic music with an African flavor. White and Colored South African singers are historically influenced by Euro- pean musical styles, including such Western metal bands such as Seether. Afrikaans music covers multiple gen- res, such as the contemporary Steve Hofmeyr and the punk rock band Fokofpolisiekar. Crossover artists such as Johnny Clegg and his bands Juluka and Savuka have enjoyed success underground, publicly, and abroad.

The country's Black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that traditional dance and music has survived. As Blacks have become increas- ingly urbanized and westernized, aspects of traditional culture are declining.

Asians, predominantly of Indian origin, preserve their own cultural heritage, languages, and religious beliefs, being either Christian, Hindu, or Sunni Muslim.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. / Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License

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