South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. It is divided into nine provinces and has 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline. To the north lie the neighbouring countries 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 the 25th largest country in the world by area and the 24th most populous country with over 51 million people.
South Africa is a multi-ethnic nation and has diverse cultures and languages. Eleven official languages are recognised in the constitution. Two of these languages are of European origin: English and Afrikaans, a language which originated mainly from Dutch that is spoken by the majority of white and Coloured South Africans. 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 80% 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. It has the largest economy in Africa, and the 28th-largest in the world. By purchasing power parity, South Africa has the 5th highest per capita income in Africa. It is considered a newly industrialised country. However, about a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US $1.25 a day.
Famous quotes containing the words south and/or africa:
“We in the South were ready for reconciliation, to be accepted as equals, to rejoin the mainstream of American political life. This yearning for what might be called political redemption was a significant factor in my successful campaign.”
—Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.)
“Are you there, Africa with the bulging chest and oblong thigh? Sulking Africa, wrought of iron, in the fire, Africa of the millions of royal slaves, deported Africa, drifting continent, are you there? Slowly you vanish, you withdraw into the past, into the tales of castaways, colonial museums, the works of scholars.”
—Jean Genet (19101986)