Portal:South Africa
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Portal:South Africa
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Unity in Diversity

Introduction

Flag of South Africa
Map of the South Africa within Africa.

The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland, and entirely surrounds Lesotho.

South Africa has the largest population of people of European descent in Africa,one of the largest Indian population outside of Asia, as well as the largest Coloured (of mixed European, Asian and African descent) community in Africa, making it one of the most ethnically diverse countries on the continent. Racial and ethnic strife between the black majority and the white minority have played a large part in the country's history and politics. The National Party began introducing the policy of apartheid after winning the general election of 1948; however, it was the same party under the leadership of F.W. de Klerk who started to dismantle it in 1990 after a long struggle by the black majority, as well as many white, coloured and Indian South Africans.

The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, and regular free and fair elections have been held since 1994, making it a regional power and among the most stable and liberal democracies in Africa.

South Africa is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. It has the second largest economy in Africa after Nigeria, and the 34th-largest in the world. By purchasing power parity, South Africa has the 7th highest per capita income in Africa. Although being the second largest economy, South Africa has the most sophisticated economy in the continent, with modern infrastructure common throughout the country. The country is considered to be a newly industrialized country according to the World Bank classifications.

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Apartheid (South African English: ; Afrikaans: [a'partit], segregation; lit. "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on baasskap (or white supremacy), which ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the nation's minority white population. According to this system of social stratification, white citizens had the highest status, followed in descending order by Asians, Coloureds, and black Africans. The economic legacy and social effects of apartheid continue to the present day.

Broadly speaking, apartheid was delineated into petty apartheid, which entailed the segregation of public facilities and social events, and grand apartheid, which dictated housing and employment opportunities by race. Prior to the 1940s, some aspects of apartheid had already emerged in the form of minority rule by white South Africans and the socially enforced separation of black Africans from other races, which later extended to pass laws and land apportionment. Apartheid was adopted as a formal policy by the South African government after the ascension of the National Party (NP) during the 1948 general elections. Read more...

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Afrikaans Language Monument'
Credit: C. Hill

The Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaans: Afrikaanse Taalmonument) is located on a hill overlooking Paarl, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Officially opened on 10 October 1975, it commemorates the semicentenary of Afrikaans being declared an official language of South Africa separate from Dutch. Also, it was erected on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (the Society of Real Afrikaners) in Paarl, the organization that helped strengthen Afrikaners' identity and pride in their language.

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Drum is a 2004 film based on the life of South African investigative journalist Henry Nxumalo, who worked for Drum magazine, called "the first black lifestyle magazine in Africa". It was director Zola Maseko's first film and deals with the issues of apartheid and the forced removal of residents from Sophiatown. The film was originally to be a six-part television series called Sophiatown Short Stories, but Maseko could not get the funding. The lead roles of Henry Nxumalo and Drum main photographer Jürgen Schadeberg were played by American actors Taye Diggs and Gabriel Mann, while most of the rest of the cast were South African actors.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2004, and did the rounds of international film festivals before going on general release in South Africa in July 2006. It was released in Europe, but failed to get a distributor for the USA where it went straight to DVD. Read more...

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King Shaka kaSenzangakhona
Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c. 1787 - c. 22 September 1828), also known as Shaka Zulu, was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom. He is widely credited with uniting many of the Northern Nguni people, specifically the Mtetwa Paramountcy and the Ndwandwe into the Zulu Kingdom, the beginnings of a nation that held sway over the portion of southern Africa between the Phongolo and Mzimkhulu Rivers, and his statesmanship and vigour marked him as one of the greatest Zulu kings. Research continues into the character and methods of the Zulu warrior king, whose reign still greatly influences South African culture.

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Morogo or Moroho, also known as African spinach, refers to a group of at least three different dark green leafy vegetables found throughout Southern Africa [cowpea, vegetable amaranth, or spider flower] and harvested for human consumption. It is considered a traditional South African dish and forms an important part of the staple diet in rural communities. Read more...

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In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift--a more human face.

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