South Africa, also known as the rainbow nation, is situated in the southern part of Africa. The country got its name from its location at the southern end of the continent of Africa. The South Atlantic and Indian Oceans border South Africa to the south. The country was granted a nominal independence on May 31, 1910, and it was named the Union of South Africa. The country’s population was 55.91 million in 2016, and it has a total area of 471,445 square miles. The state has three capitals, which include Bloemfontein that serve as the judicial capital and it is home to the Supreme Court, Pretoria serving as the executive capital, and Cape Town which serves as the legislative capital and is home to the parliament. South Africa ranks 25th in size globally. The highest point in the country is Mafadi at 11,320 feet tall.
South Africa’s Economy
The economy of South Africa comes second after Nigeria’s in Africa and 34th in the world. Despite having a high GDP per capita, unemployment and poverty levels are still widespread in the country. The crime rate of the country is also one of the highest in the world with an average of 50 murders taking place in a day. Around 15% of the country’s employment is in the informal sector. The World Bank ranks South Africa as a newly industrialized country and it is also categorized as upper middle-income country. The country is among the only four Africa’s upper-middle-income economy countries. In international affairs, the country has been given a middle power status. Agriculture makes up for 2.6% of the GDP in the country and has as only 13.5% of the total land area is suitable for farming. South Africa’s estimated nominal GDP in 2017 was $280.37 billion while the GDP in purchasing power parity was $758.12 billion. The estimated nominal GDP per capita in 2017 was $5,101 and $13,215 in PPP.
Interesting Facts About South Africa
There are 11 official languages in the country, which include English, Afrikaans, Northern Sotho, Ndebele, Swazi, Sotho, Tswana, Zulu, Tsonga, Xhosa, and Venda. The country has a variant of its name in all the official languages, such as in Afrikaans the name of the country is Suid Afrika, in Northern Sotho Afrika Borwa, in Southern Ndebele iSewula Afrika, in Swazi, Venda, and Zulu iNingizimu Afrika, in Tswana Aforikwa Borwa, in Tsonga Afrika Dzonga, and in Xhosa it is uMzantsi Afrika. The country is home to the cradle of humankind and has a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in Gauteng province. South Africa was the first country in Africa to legitimize same-sex marriage, and it is the only country in Africa that has been successful in producing nuclear weapons. As of 2017, the country was the only African country among the G20.
A Glimpse into Africa
South Africa is located on the African continent, which is the second largest continent both in size and in population. The continent, including adjoining islands, has an area of about 11.7 million square miles and this is roughly 6% of Earth's area. As of 2016, Africa's population stood at 1.2 billion, accounting for 16% of the global population. Africa consists of 54 fully recognized independent nations, two disputed countries, and nine territories. Madagascar and several other archipelagos are also included as part of Africa.
What Continent Is South Africa In?
South Africa was named for its located at the southernmost tip of the mainland of the continent of Africa.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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