South Africa

South African facts

Official name – Republic of South Africa

Population – 50.59 million: – Blacks make up 79.5% of population, whites 9%, coloreds 9%, and Indian/Asian 2.5%. 52% Female and 48% male

Languages – 11 official languages: Africaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, English, Sesotho, isiNdebele, Sepedi, Siswati, Xitsonga, Setswana, and Tshivenda. The ones we hear most in our area are Zulu, Africaans and English.

Size – 1600 km from north to south and about the same from east to west, 1/8 the size of the US, 1/3 the size of the European Union, twice the size of France and 3 times the size of Germany.

Time – 2 hours ahead of GMT

Currency – Rand

Unemployment – 25%

Religion – 80% claim Christianity, but many are just in “name only.” The traditional Christian African sects are a mix of Christianity and ancestral worship. The ancestral spirits like to be remembered and often “require” offerings to show that they are not forgotten. It is often the ancestors who are blamed when bad things happen to someone, i.e.. illness, relationship problems, loss of work, failing in school, etc. If this happens, the witchdoctor (sangoma) is often visited and he then asks the ancestors what they want as payment to make this bad circumstance “go away.” The sangomas get wealthy off of the desperation of the people.

Cuisine – very diverse because of the many different cultures represented in the country, but the majority are heavily meat-based with cornmeal being the major staple.

Sports – most popular ones are soccer, rugby and cricket.

Things SA is famous/infamous for:

    • Kruger National Park
    • History of Apartheid – done away with in 1994 when SA elected their first black president, Mr. Nelson Mandela.
    • Ranked in the top 10 countries of the world for income inequality (Botswana is the only country with a wider gap between rich and poor)
    • Cape Town as a top tourist destination.
    • Highest incidence of Aids in the world with almost 20% of population testing HIV+. This translates to 5.6 million people living with the virus in South Africa.
    • 1,200,000 orphans in the country
    • A major wine producer with amazing vineyards around Stellenbosch and Franschoek.

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