Africa - Map

The Republic of South Africa is a large country in Southern Africa. The South African economy is the largest and most well developed of the entire African continent, with modern transportation, communications, and infrastructure common in nearly all of the country. South Africa is also arguably the most stable democracy in Africa, especially after having emerged from years of apartheid in 1994 after the first multi-racial elections made Nelson Mandela the President. South Africa has become an important force for diplomacy recently in Africa, particularly under the stewardship of Thabo Mbeki. South Africa has the largest and most efficient military in Africa, and is extensively involved in peacekeeping operations in other parts of the continent. South Africa at one time posessed weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, but its stockpile was destroyed after the end of apartheid.

South Africa is located in Africa at the extreme southern tip of the continent. It borders Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland. The small nation of Lesotho is entirely contained within South African territory. South Africa is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa and has the largest population of people of European descent on the continent as well as the largest Indian population outside of Asia. Racial and ethnic strife between the white minority and the black majority have played a large part in the country's history and politics, however South Africa is now a racially unified country where each citizen is equal before the law.

Official languages Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Southern Sotho, Northern Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda
Capitals Cape Town (legislative)
Pretoria (administrative)
Bloemfontein (judicial)
Largest City Johannesburg
President Thabo Mbeki
- Total
- % water Ranked 24th
1,219,912 km²
- Total (2002)
- Density Ranked 26th
Republic From the United Kingdom
31 May 1910
31 May 1961
Currency Rand (R)
Time zone UTC+2
National anthem Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika/Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
Internet TLD .za
Calling Code +27

South Africa was first unified as an independent country as the Union of South Africa in 1910 as the direct result of the Anglo-Boer Wars. The Union of South Africa included two British provinces and two Afrikaner provinces. As the century progressed, the Afrikaners came to have more political influence in the country than the British, which was evident in South Africa's decision by a referendum in 1961 to remove the British monarch as head of state and to reincorporate as the Republic of South Africa. Around this time, the Afrikaner government began to implement the policies that become the policy of apartheid. Apartheid ended in 1990 by Frederik Willem de Klerk after much struggle by the black majority, as well as several influential white South Africans Since then, South Africa has become a vibrant multiracial as well as multicultural society.

South Africa faces many problems ensuring its future, the most pressing of which is the HIV/AIDS crisis. As much as 30 percent of adult South Africans are HIV-positive, which will severely reduce the number of people in South Africa who can work and hold jobs in the coming years. The government of South Africa under Thabo Mbeki has come under increasing criticism for opposition to a nation-wide HIV medication programme, as he is not convinced that the HIV virus causes AIDS. Furthermore, sustained economic growth must occur in order to lift millions out of poverty.

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Richard Valentine -1996 - 2005© - All rights reserved