Country Portrait: South Africa

Country Facts:

  • Full name: Republic of South Africa
  • Capital: Pretoria
  • 25t largest country in the world (122,000,000 km²)
  • Largest cities: Capetown, Durban, Johannesburg
  • Population: 49.7 Mio
  • Growth rate: 0.475%
  • Age expectancy: 49 years
  • Languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Northern Zotho, English
  • Ethnic Mix: black African (79%), White (9.6%), Mixed (8.9%), Asian (2.5%)

The first country I’ve chosen is the host, South Africa. It has been a Republic since 1961. South Africa is known for a diversity in cultures, languages, and religious beliefs. Eleven official languages are recognised in the constitution.

The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as blacks have become increasingly urbanised and westernised, aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue.

The middle class lifestyle, predominantly of the white minority but with growing numbers of Black, Coloured and Indian people, is similar in many respects to that of people found in Western Europe, North America and Australasia. Members of the middle class often study and work abroad for greater exposure to the markets of the world.

The biggest problem South Africa is facing at them moment is crime. According to a survey for the period 1998–2000 compiled by the United Nations, South Africa was ranked second for murder and first for assaults and rapes per capita. Official statistics show that 52 people are murdered every day in South Africa. Total crime per capita is 10th out of the 60 countries in the data set. However, authorities are working very hard to ensure HIGHEST security during the World Cup and establishing a higher level of security throughout the state.

There is great diversity in music from South Africa. Many black musicians who sang in Afrikaans or English during apartheid have since begun to sing in traditional African languages, and have developed a unique style called Kwaito, a new music genre that had developed in the mid 80s and has since developed to become the most popular social economical form of representation among the populous. Though some may argue that the political aspects of Kwaito has since diminished after Apartheid, and the relative interest in politics has become a minor aspect of daily life. Some argue that in a sense, Kwaito is in fact a political force that shows activism in its apolitical actions.

South Africa’s most popular sports are soccer, rugby union and cricket. South Africa is by no means a giant in the world of soccer, but for many black South Africans, the country’s proudest sporting moment came when it won the African Nations Cup on home turf in 1996 – having failed to even qualify for the previous cup.

Soccer is intensely followed, and the quality of the local game keeps improving – as is demonstrated by the increasing number of South African players-in-exile among the glamorous European clubs. The national team, nicknamed Bafana Bafana, which means “The Boys”, is extraordinarily erratic, beating giants, then succumbing to minnows.

Local teams, organised in a national league plus a plethora of knock-out cups, are followed with the same passion as in many other countries, by paint-daubed, costumed, whistling and cheering fans. Mercifully, the country has been spared the spectre of football hooliganism. Here’s a pic of South Africa’s National team:

Gallery Image

So it seems, that South Africa will be a perfect host for this year’s World Cup. Thanks for reading and make sure not so miss the next post, featuring record winner Brasil!

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3 thoughts on “Country Portrait: South Africa

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