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South Africa, officially known as the Republic of South Africa, is located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho, an independent enclave surrounded by South African district. South Africa surfaces an country of 1 219 090 km2.

Harmonizing to the South African Government, South Africa ‘s surface falls into two classs: the interior tableland and the land between the tableland and the seashore. The boundary between these two countries is called The Escarpment and is the most outstanding characteristic of the state. The interior tableland arises out of the Karoo and Namib Desert. This portion of the state is instead dry. The other portion of the state is the good known Fynbos Biome and the Garden Route.

Capital

The state has three chief capitals: Executive: Pretoria Judicial: Bloemfontein Legislative: Cape Town

Population

South Africa has an estimated population of 47 million people ( 2001 nose count ) and is the universe ‘s 25th largest state. The bulk of the population, which is 37.2 million, is Africans. The white population is estimated at 4.4 million, the colored population at 4.1 million and the Indian/Asian population at 1.1 million.

Harmonizing to the South African Government the population consists of the undermentioned groups:

Nguni ( dwelling of the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi people ) Sotho-Tswana, who include the Southern, Northern and Western Sotho ( Tswana people ) Tsonga Venda Afrikaners English Coloured Indians

and those who have immigrated to South Africa from the remainder of Africa, Europe and Asia and keep a strong cultural individuality.

A few staying members of the Khoi and the San besides live in South Africa. Harmonizing to wikipedia.org, in the South African context the term Coloured refers to a heterogenous group of people who possess some grade of sub-Saharan lineage, but non plenty to be considered Black under South African jurisprudence. Other footings used for this civilization is “ Bruinmense, Kleurlinge or Bruin Afrikaners ” . The thought of “ Coloured ” people developed partially to depict the complex place of those who were neither white nor members of groups that spoke African linguistic communications. The term Coloured is still widely used in South Africa. Language

Harmonizing to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. 1996 ( Act 108 of 1996 ) , there are 11 official linguistic communications in South Africa. These are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho SA Leboa, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Although English is the female parent lingua of merely 8, 2 % of the population, it is the linguistic communication most widely understood, and the 2nd linguistic communication of the bulk of South Africans. When coming to South Africa you would make concern in English.

Most Coloureds speak Afrikaans while approximately 10 % of Coloureds speak English as their female parent lingua, However, virtually all Cape Town coloureds are bilingual, comfortably exchanging between “ Kaapse Afrikaans ” ( a creolized idiom of Afrikaans spoken largely in the Cape Flats, “ suiwer Afrikaans ” ( formal Afrikaans, as taught at school ) , and English. Climate

South Africa is celebrated for its sunlight. The clime in South Africa is by and large temperate. The alterations between summer and winter are by and large elusive, but the clime can besides be really unpredictable. The rainfall is besides unpredictable and undependable. The Drakensberg mountains offer limited skiing chances in the winter. The coldest topographic point in South Africa is called Buffelsfontein which is in the Eastern Cape and the lowest temperature which was recorded is -18.6 grades Celsius. The hottest temperature of 51.7 grades Celsius was recorded in 1948 in the Northern Cape Kalahari near Upington.

Link to South African Weather Service ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www.weathersa.co.za/ )

Government

As stated by www.southafrica.info, South Africa is a constitutional democracy system with a three-tier system of authorities and an independent bench. These include the national, provincial and local degrees of authorities which all have legislative and executive authorization in their ain Fieldss. Current South African political relations are dominant by the African National Congress ( ANC ) . The president of South Africa is President Thabo Mbeki.

Legislative authorization is vested in Parliament, which is situated in Cape Town and consists of two houses, the four hundred members in the National Assembly and the 90 members in the National Council of Provinces. The National Assembly is besides known as the lower house and the National Council of Provinces as the upper house.

Harmonizing to Wikipedia.org, members of the lower house are elected on a population footing by relative representation ; this means that half of the members are elected from national lists and the other half from provincial lists. Ten members are elected to stand for each state in the National Council of Provinces, irrespective of the population of the state. Elections for both Chamberss are held every five old ages. The authorities is formed in the lower house, and the leader of the bulk party in the National Assembly is the President.

The undermentioned province establishments were created to back up constitutional democracy:

The Public Protector The Human Rights Commission The Commission for Gender Equality The Auditor-General The Electoral Commission The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities

Cultural Considerations

Excerpt from Cultural Considerations by Guy Macleod

In 1994, South Africa became a democracy when all people in South Africa, irrespective of their cultural group, civilization, linguistic communication or faith, participated on an equal terms to elect the first democratically elective authorities in the state ‘s history. The terminal of the political laterality of the bulk by a minority, elitist group of white people of colonialist stock opened the doors to the monolithic undertaking of levelling the playing field by taking racially-based statute law from the legislative act books of South Africa.

After 1994 all staying racially based prejudiced statute law was scrapped and new statute law has steadily been introduced to guarantee that past unfairnesss and instabilities, in the workplace particularly, are quickly corrected. This statute law includes, for illustration:

The Labour Relations Act ( LRA ) , 1995, which covers all employees except the National Defence Force and aims to advance orderly corporate bargaining. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997, which sets out new minimal employment criterions for most people employed in the private sector. The Employment Equity Act, 1998, which aims to take unjust favoritism by set uping just employment patterns and to implement affirmatory action to progress all people that were antecedently discriminated against on the evidences of coloring material, gender and physical capableness. The Prevention and Prohibition of Unfair dismissal Act, 1999, which outlaws racism and all signifiers of favoritism.

Whilst the new South Africa, aided by statute law, is quickly unfolding in the workplace, socially based attitudes and norms will take longer to set to the worlds of a non-racial, democratic South Africa ; norms and behaviour ne’er do alter rapidly.

Employment Equity

SA Parliaments information on the Employment Equity Act, 1998

To supply for employment equity ; and to supply for affairs incidental thereto. Recognising ;

that as a consequence of apartheid and other prejudiced Torahs and patterns, there are disparities in employment, business and income within the national labor market ; and that those disparities create such marked disadvantages for certain classs of people that they can non be redressed merely by revoking prejudiced Torahs,

Therefore, in order to ; advance the constitutional right of equality and the exercising of true democracy ; eliminate unjust favoritism in employment ; guarantee the execution of employment equity to right the effects of favoritism ; accomplish a diverse work force loosely representative of our people ; advance economic development and efficiency in the work force and give consequence to the duties of the Republic as a member of the International Labour Organisation.

Prohibition of Unfair Discrimination

Elimination of unjust favoritism. Every employer must take stairss to advance equal chance in the workplace by extinguishing unjust favoritism in any employment policy or pattern.

Prohibition of unjust favoritism. No individual may below the belt know apart, straight or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or pattern, on one or more evidences, including race, gender, sex, gestation, matrimonial position, household duty, cultural or societal beginning, coloring material, sexual orientation, age, disablement, faith, HIV position, scruples, belief, political sentiment, civilization, linguistic communication and birth.

Economy

Harmonizing to the article, Economy of South Africa, South Africa is classified as a middle-income state with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed fiscal, legal, communications, energy, and conveyance sectors. South Africa has a stock exchange ( the JSE-Johannesburg Securities Exchange ) , that ranks among the top 20 in the universe, and a modern substructure back uping an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the part. The state is ranked 57th in the universe in footings of per capita GDP, corrected for buying power para. South Africa is besides the continent ‘s largest energy manufacturer and consumer.

The development of South Africa is localised around four economic centres, viz. Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg/Pretoria. The huge bulk of South Africans are hapless, but fringy countries are sing rapid growing. South Africa has one of the highest rates of assorted incomes in the universe.

Export Cargo: Gold, diamonds, Pt, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment.

Import Cargo: Machinery and equipment, chemicals, crude oil merchandises, scientific instruments and groceries.

Agricultural Merchandises: Corn, wheat, sugar cane, fruits, veggies ; beef, domestic fowl, mouton, wool and dairy merchandises.

Currency

The currency used in South Africa is the South African Rand ( ZAR ) It has been said that the rand is the universe ‘s most actively-traded emerging market currency. Harmonizing to the Bloomberg Currency Scorecard, the South African Rand was the best-performing currency against the United States dollar between 2002 and 2005. Frequent used coins in South Africa are the 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, R5 and notes are the R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.

Travelers sing South Africa, for up to 90 yearss, from Australia. New Zealand, Canada, Japan, the USA and the European Union have no demand for VISA ‘S. Traveller ‘s checks are the safest manner to transport money around. Visa, American Express and Diner ‘s Club recognition cards are acceptable in most topographic points in South Africa.

Foreign tourers sing South Africa can hold their value-added revenue enhancement ( VAT ) refunded, provided the value of the points purchased exceeds R20. VAT is refunded on going at the point of issue. South Africa ‘s conveyance substructure – air hoses, railwaies, roads, luxury touring coachs ( managers ) and motor autos – is such that tourers can go comfortably and rapidly from their port of entry to any portion of the state.

South African Currency Converter hypertext transfer protocol: //www.southafrica.co.za/forex

Religion

Harmonizing to surveies done by countrystudies.us/south-africa/52.htm Christians form 79.7 % of the South African population, harmonizing to the 2001 national nose count.

This is divided into the undermentioned groups:

11.1 % Zion Christian 8.2 % Pentecostal ( Charismatic ) 7.1 % Catholic Methodist 6.7 % Dutch Reformed 3.8 % Anglican 36 % Other Christian

The remainder of the population is 1.5 % Islam, 1.3 % Hinduism, 15.1 % had no spiritual association, 2.3 % is other and 1.4 % is unspecified. Harmonizing to research, many South African Muslims, peculiarly in the Western Cape, are described as coloureds.

Attitudes toward faith and spiritual beliefs vary widely in the state. During the 20th century, the authorities of South Africa has actively encouraged specific Christian beliefs, but the state has ne’er had an official province faith or any of import authorities prohibition sing spiritual beliefs.

Tourism

Every traveler to South Africa must be in ownership of a valid passport and, where necessary, a visa. The undermentioned information is from info.gov.za

South Africa offers utmost scenic beauty, diverse wildlife, a assortment of civilizations and traditions every bit good fantastic out-of-doorss for athletics and other escapade activities.

Tourism is South Africa ‘s fastest-growing industry and contributes about 7,1 % of GDP. In 2005, international touristry to South Africa surged to new record degrees, with 10,3 % more aliens sing the state in 2005 than in 2004, harmonizing to Statistics in SA. Some 7,4 million people from other states visited South Africa in 2005, compared with 6,7 million in 2004, which was a new record at the clip. Tourism continues to do a important part to occupation creative activity, with employment in the touristry sector increasing to 539 017 in 2005. The fastest-growing section of touristry in South Africa is ecological touristry ( ecotourism ) , which includes nature picture taking, birdwatching, botanical surveies, snorkelling, boosting and mountaineering. Community touristry is going progressively popular, with tourers desiring to see South Africa ‘s rural small towns and townships.

Visitors who intend going to South Africa ‘s neighbouring states and back into South Africa are advised to use for multiple-entry visas. Passport-holders of certain states are exempt from visa demands. Tourists must fulfill in-migration officers that they have the agencies to back up themselves during their stay and that they are in ownership of return or onward tickets. They must besides hold valid international wellness certifications.

The top 10 tourer attractive forces in South Africa are:

Kruger National Park Table Mountain Garden path Cape Town ‘s Victoria and Albert Waterfront Robben Island Beaches Sun City Cultural Villages Soweto The Cradle of Humankind

For more information you can see: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.info.gov.za/aboutsa/tourism.htm

Conveyance

Public roads are good developed and good sign-posted with driving done on the left. Drivers must hold an international driver ‘s licence and a lower limit of 5 old ages ‘ experience. This is likely the best manner to see the state.

An International Driving Permit is non mandatory, nevertheless, harmonizing to the Automobile Association ( AA ) the international drivers licence aids foreign automobilists – peculiarly in the event of an accident where insurance claims will be handled. It is a legal papers, which endorses the license. British visitants who are be aftering to drive in South Africa should look into with the AA or RAC prior to departure that they have all the right certification.

International Links

From www.places.co.za

Air

There are frequent direct and indirect flights by legion major air hoses from finishs throughout Europe and North America.

Approximate flight times: From Cape Town to London is 12 hours 35 proceedingss, from Durban is 14 hours and from Johannesburg is 11 hours 50 proceedingss. From Johannesburg to Los Angeles is 23 hours ( no direct flight available, but this may alter so look into with your local travel agency ) .

International airdromes: Cape Town ( CPT ) ( Cape Town International ) , 22km ( 14 stat mis ) E of the metropolis ( travel clip – 25 proceedingss ) . Airport installations include surpassing duty-free store, auto hire, bank/bureau de alteration ( 0830-1630 Monday to Friday, 0830-1200 Saturday ) and restaurant/bar ( 0600-0305 ) . Inter-Cape coachs run into all entrance and surpassing flights. Courtesy coachs are operated by some hotels. Taxis are available, with a surcharge after 2300.

Bloemfontein ( BFN ) ( Bloemfontein International ) , 10km ( 6 stat mis ) E of the metropolis ( travel clip – 15 proceedingss ) . Airport installations include automatic Teller machine, eating houses, auto hire and conference installations. Airport shuttle coach to the metropolis Centre ( go forthing from outside the airdrome edifice ) . Taxis are besides available.

Durban ( DUR ) ( Durban International ) , 16km ( 10 stat mis ) South of the metropolis ( travel clip – 20 proceedingss ) . Airport installations include surpassing duty-free store, auto hire, bank/bureau de alteration and bar/restaurant. Airport coachs and taxis are available to the metropolis.

Johannesburg ( JNB ) ( Johannesburg International ) , 24km ( 15 stat mis ) nor’-east of the metropolis ( travel clip – 35 proceedingss ) . Airport installations include incoming and surpassing duty-free stores, station office, auto hire, bank/bureau de alteration ( 24 hours ) , eating house and saloon ( 1000-2400 ) . Bus services to Pretoria and Johannesburg are available. Buss link Kempton Park with Johannesburg. Taxis are available. Courtesy managers are operated by some major hotels.

Port Elizabeth ( PLZ ) ( Port Elizabeth International ) is 25km ( 16 stat mis ) from the metropolis ( travel clip – 30 proceedingss ) . Airport installations include Nedbank automated Teller machine, conference installations, information desk ( 0600-2200 Monday to Friday ; 0700-2100 Saturday ; 0800-2210 Sunday ) eating houses and saloons, stores, a pharmaceutics, postal services, auto hire. Airport shuttle coach to the chief international hotels in Port Elizabeth. Taxis are besides available.

Nelspruit ( KMIA ) ( Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport ) is 22km ( 14 stat mis ) from Nelspruit, 44km ( 28 stat mis ) from the Numbi Entrance Gate of Kruger Park and within close locality of the major game lodges in the country. Recently opened, the airdrome installations are created over a period of clip. Transportations to private Lodges can be arranged. Local Conveyance

Daily flights link Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, East London, Kimberley, Nelspruit, Upington and Bloemfontein with other linking flights to provincial towns. South African Airways operates on the chief paths.

Sea

Starlight Cruises offers links between major ports.

Railing

The chief intercity services are as follows: The Blue Train is a luxury express between Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town ( every other twenty-four hours ) ; The Trans-Oranje between Cape Town and Durban via Kimberley and Bloemfontein ( hebdomadal ) ; and the Trans-Natal Express between Durban and Johannesburg ( daily ) . Rovos Rail offers luxury steam campaign to Mpumalanga and the Garden Route. All long-distance trains are equipped with kiping compartments, included in menus, and most have restaurant autos. Reservations are recommended for chief trains and all nightlong journeys. There are frequent local trains in the Cape Town and Pretoria /Johannesburg urban countries. All trains have first- and second-class adjustment. Children under two old ages of age travel free. Children aged 2-11 wage half menu.

Road

There is a well-maintained web of roads and expresswaies in thickly settled parts. Traffic drives on the left. Fines for rushing are really heavy. It is illegal to transport gasoline other than in constitutional gasoline armored combat vehicles. Gasoline Stationss are normally unfastened all hebdomad 0700-1900. Some are unfastened 24 hours.

Bus/Coach

Assorted operators, such as Greyhound and Translux, run intercity express links utilizing modern air-conditioned managers. On many of the intercity routes riders may interrupt their journey at any scheduled halt en path by anterior agreement at clip of engagement and go on on a subsequent manager at no excess cost other than for extra adjustment.

Cab

Available throughout the state, at all towns, hotels and airdromes, with rates for distance and clip. For long-distance travel, a citation should be sought.

Car hire

Self-drive and chauffeur-driven autos are available at most airdromes and in major metropolis Centres. Avis, Imperial and Budget are represented countrywide.

Urban

There are coach and suburban rail webs in all the chief towns. Menus in Cape Town and Johannesburg are zonary, with payment in hard currency or with 10-ride pre-purchase ‘clip cards ‘ from booths. In Pretoria there are assorted pre-purchase ticket systems, including a inexpensive base on balls for off-peak travel merely. Conventional coachs and taxis face stiff competition from minibuses and combi-taxis ( both legal and illegal ) , which are besides found in other South African towns. These, although inexpensive and really fast, should be used with attention. For ordinary taxis, menus within the metropolis countries are more expensive than long distances. Taxis do non cruise and must be called from a rank. Cab drivers expect a 10 % tip.

“ I have walked that long route to freedom. I have tried non to waver: I have made trips along the manner. But I have discovered the secret that after mounting a great hill, one merely finds that there are many more hills to mount. I have taken a minute here to rest, to steal a position of the glorious view that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest merely for a minute, for with freedom semen duties, and I dare non linger, for my long walk is non yet ended. ”

Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom

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