The Republic of South Africa is located on the southern tip of the continent of Africa. It is slightly less than twice the size of Texas, about 1,223,201 square kilometers. Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland run from west to east along South Africa’s northern border. The country of Lesotho lies entirely within the borders of South Africa and is completely landlocked. The South Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean surround the southern coast. South Africa is divided into nine provinces: the Northern Province, Kwazulu/Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, the North West Province, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. South Africa also has three capital cities: Pretoria serves as the administration capital; Cape Town serves as the legislative capital; and Bloemfontein serves as the judicial capital (CIA).
South Africa was affected by colonialism like many other countries in Africa. After gaining independence from the British Commonwealth, the policy of apartheid was set up. Apartheid was a system of government that marginalized blacks by excluding them from full participation in the political and economic system. For example it determined where they could live, where they could work, and whom they could marry. Apartheid also affected the educational system and health care. With the collapse of apartheid during the 1990’s, President Nelson Mandela began setting the foundation for a new multiracial and more equal system of government.
The first population census of the Union of South Africa was taken in 1911. One of the problems with this census was that it did not accurately count the black African population. The Population Registration Act of 1948 required all South Africans to be classified by race. In 1950, apartheid officially restricted black peoples to “homelands” that had no resources and was roughly 13 percent of the land and were excluded from the census. Another problem with the census measurements was that many black South Africans lived in “squatter camps” close to cities where they worked. They were not included in the census and many did not register births, deaths, marriages and divorces (Library of Congress, 48).
In 1980, the census count was 23.8 million plus another 4.6 million was added to compensate for undercounting, making the total population 28.4 million. This also exclu...
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...ate changes to its domestic and foreign policies to form a non-racial, free, democratic society and to open up its markets to the global economy. Today a new South Africa is being created by building the future from an imperfect past.
Wekesser, Carol, ed. Africa: Opposing Viewpoints, San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1992.
Lonely Planet, “ South Africa,” (October
“Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank - Internal Business Centre Trading Profile: South Africa,”
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Library of Congress, “South Africa-A Country Study,”, (October 25,1999).
The World Bank Group, “Countries: South Africa,” ,
“Agricultural Economy,” , (October 25,1999).
“Mineral Wealth,” , (October
“Introduction: Economic Profile,” ,
CIA, The World Factbook 1999, “South Africa, ”
Bureau of African Affairs, Africa : Macroeconomic Overview,”
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“The Living Africa,”, (October 25,1999).
MBendi, “Africa-Continent of Opportunities,” ,(October
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