South Africa

Republic of South Africa

Motto: "ǃke e꞉ ǀxarra ǁke" (ǀXam)
"Unity in Diversity"
Location of South Africa (dark blue) in the African Union (light blue)
Location of South Africa (dark blue)

in the African Union (light blue)

Location of South Africa
Capital
Largest cityJohannesburg[2]
Official languages11 languages:[Note 1]
Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups
(2014[3])
Religion
See Religion in South Africa
Demonym(s)South African
GovernmentUnitary dominant-party parliamentary constitutional republic
• President
Cyril Ramaphosa
David Mabuza
LegislatureParliament
National Council
National Assembly
Independence 
• Union
31 May 1910
11 December 1931
• Republic
31 May 1961
4 February 1997
Area
• Total
1,221,037 km2 (471,445 sq mi) (24th)
• Water (%)
0.380
Population
• 2018 estimate
57,725,600[4] (24th)
• 2011 census
51,770,560[5]:18
• Density
42.4/km2 (109.8/sq mi) (169th)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
$813.100 billion[6] (30th)
• Per capita
$13,865[6] (89th)
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$371.298 billion[6] (33rd)
• Per capita
$6,331[6] (86th)
Gini (2014)Positive decrease 63.0[7]
very high
HDI (2017)Increase 0.699[8]
medium · 113th
CurrencySouth African rand (ZAR)
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+27
ISO 3166 codeZA
Internet TLD.za

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans;[9][10][11] to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho.[12] South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry,[5] divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status.[11] The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian (Indian),[13] and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, which is the fourth-highest number in the world.[11][11] Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. 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 century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to claim more rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress (ANC) and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in the mid-1980s.

Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is often referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid.[14] The World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, and a newly industrialised country.[15][16] Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, and the 33rd-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa. However, poverty and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day.[17][18] South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, and maintains significant regional influence.[19][20]

Name

The name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English and Unie van Zuid-Afrika in Dutch, reflecting its origin from the unification of four formerly separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long formal name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa" and Republiek van Suid-Afrika in Afrikaans. Since 1994, the country has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages.

Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa,[21][22] while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".[23]