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South Africa

South Africa
General information
Common nameSouth Africa
Motto  (ǀXam)
"Unity In Diversity"
AnthemNational anthem of South Africa
CapitalPretoria (executive)
Bloemfontein (judicial)
Cape Town (legislative)
Largest cityJohannesburg (2006)
Official languages11
English (South African English)
Southern Ndebele
Northern Sotho
Southern Sotho
Ethnic groups79.5% Black
9.0% White
9.0% Coloured
2.5% Asian
DemonymSouth African
GovernmentConstitutional parliamentary republic
PresidentJacob Zuma
Deputy PresidentKgalema Motlanthe
NCOP ChairmanM. J. Mahlangu
National Assembly SpeakerMax Sisulu
Chief JusticeMogoeng Mogoeng
Upper HouseNational Council of Provinces
Lower HouseNational Assembly
IndependenceIndependence (from the United Kingdom)
Union31 May 1910
Statute of Westminster11 December 1931
Republic31 May 1961
Total Area471443 sq mi (1221037.4 km2) (25th)
Water %Negligible
Population Est.50,586,757 (24th)
Population census44819778 (2001)
Density (pop.)41.4/km2 (169th) (107.2/sq mi)
GDP PPP$505.214 billion (2009) (26th)
GDP (PPP) per capita$10,243 (71st)
GDP (nominal)$287.219 billion (2009) (28th)
GDP (nominal) per capita$5,823 (104th)
Other information
Gini57.8 (2000) (high) (2nd)
HDI0.683 (+) (2009) (medium) (129th)
CurrencyRand (ZAR)
Time zoneSAST (UTC+2)
Drives on theleft
Calling code+27

     Home | Country | South Africa

The Republic of South Africa (also referred to as South Africa, SA or RSA) is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with 2798 km (1738.6 mi) of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans. To the north of the country lie the neighbouring territories of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; while Lesotho is an enclave surrounded by South African territory.

South Africa is multi-ethnic and has diverse cultures and languages. Eleven official languages are recognised in the constitution. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans, a language which originated mainly from Dutch that is spoken by the majority of white and Coloured South Africans, and South African English. Though English is commonly used in public and commercial life, it is only the fifth most-spoken home language. All ethnic and language groups have political representation in the country's constitutional democracy comprising a parliamentary republic; unlike most parliamentary republics, the positions of head of state and head of government are merged in a parliament-dependent President.

About 79.5% of the South African population is of black African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. South Africa also contains the largest communities of European, Asian, and racially mixed ancestry in Africa.

South Africa is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank, one of only four countries in Africa in this category (the others being Botswana, Gabon and Mauritius). It has the largest economy in Africa, and the 28th-largest in the world. About a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US $1.25 a day.

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