This year the World Cup is in South Africa. If you are like most people I know, their knowledge of this country is few and far between. In order to give you a better idea of South Africa, I have found a few papers on our site that will give you a little background.
The written history of South Africa begins with the arrival of European explorers to the region. The Portuguese, the first Europeans to see South Africa, chose not to colonise it, and instead the Dutch set up a supply depot on the Cape of Good Hope. This depot rapidly developed into the Cape Colony. The British seized the Cape Colony from the Dutch at the end of the 18th century, and the Cape Colony became a British colony. The ever-expanding number of European settlers led to fights with the natives over the rights to land and farming, which caused numerous fatalities on both sides. Hostilities also emerged between the Dutch and the British, and many Dutch people trekked into the central Highveld in order to establish their own self-governing colonies. The Dutch (by then known as Boers) and the British went to war twice in the Anglo-Boer Wars, which ended in the defeat of the Boers and of their independent republics.
Climate and Topography
South Africa has a mainly mild, temperate climate with annual rainfall ranges between 40″ to as little as 5″. The rainy season is between October and April, spring and summer months, making it hot and humid in most places. From April to August the temperatures are very mild and snow can sometimes be seen in the upper regions in these fall and winter months. South Africa has five neighbors to the north, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, and it encloses the small country of Lesotho. These nations not only share boarders, but share membership in the Southern African Development Community which furthers socio-economic partnership between contributing nations. All of these nations are tied closely with South Africa’s economy and politics, the land locked nations use South Africa’s ports, and most of the countries were also British colonies or protectorates. South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe are republics, Botswana is a parliamentary republic, Mozambique is a multi-party republic, Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy and Swaziland is an absolute monarchy. Diplomatic relations between all of these counties must remain strong in order to confront the social, economic and political challenges they all face.
In English-medium schools, for example, English is used as a medium for the study of a wide range of subjects. The students and the teachers come from different cultural backgrounds and many speak different languages at home but they use a common language for educational purposes. This means that an Indian teacher, who maybe speaks Tamil at home, can teach students, who might speak Zulu at home, using a common language, (S.Bochner, 1982,103). This becomes important when one thinks of the costs involved in producing textbooks for these schools. If one national language is used then textbooks can be in one language and therefore alleviate printing costs.
South Africa is a middle-income country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange (the JSE Securities Exchange), that ranks among the 10 largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the region. South Africa’s per capita GDP, corrected for purchasing power parity, positions the country as one of the 50 wealthiest in the world. In many respects, South Africa is developed; however, this development is significantly localised around 4 areas, namely: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria-Johannesburg. Beyond these 4 economic centres, development is marginal and poverty still reigns despite government strategies.
AIDS has become a highly deadly pandemic disease, especially in Southern African countries, including South Africa itself. AIDS has further tightened its deadly grip on Southern Africa, already the epicenter of the global epidemic. The only seven countries in the world with adult infection rates above 20 percent are all in this region, including Botswana, with a 38.8 per cent infection rate, and Zimbabwe, where one in three adults is HIV-positive (Fleshman). In South Africa itself, the infection rate is 10.8% of the total population. Unfortunately, the infection rate of pregnant women is a staggering 29.1% (HIV & AIDS).
Of course there is much more information on South Africa that can be found in numerous papers on our site. Thank you to our members for their research and submitting papers that help us better understand such fascinating countries.