South Africa People
"The Rainbow Nation"
The South Africa people created a unique multiracial and multicultural society.
Many different ethnic groups live together in South Africa with their many different traditions and cultures.
The existence of
11 official languages in South Africa
is proof of the multicultural South African people.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the South African people in 1993:
"The Rainbow people of God".
This term was later used by former president Nelson Mandela to describe South Africa as the Rainbow Nation. It was meant to point at the multicultural heritage the South Africans joined and to contrast to the apartheid ideology.
South African Population
South Africa has a population of approx. 49 million people. (2008)
Of these are 79.2%, i.e. 38.1 million black African.
There is also a high number of illegal immigrants living in South Africa.
An estimated 5 million people live in townships and on the streets which led to
xenophobic violence in South Africa
and anti-foreigner riots in many townships in 2008.
South Africa People: Did you know that ...?
• The most densely populated of the nine South African provinces is Gauteng, the area around the capital Johannesburg. There one fifth of the population, i.e. approximately 20 million South African occupy 1,4% of the whole land area of South Africa.
• The most sparsely populated area with the biggest land area is the Northern Cape.
• The Western Cape has got a good population to land area ratio. Around 10 % of the population (4.8 million in July 2007) is living on 10% of the land area of South Africa.
• Cape Town has got a population of 3,27 million people (2007). The most densely populated areas here are the black settlements in the Cape Flats.
South Africa People: More basic facts about Cape Town
Other interesting facts about people in South Africa
• Literacy rate lays at 80% in South Africa (2006)
• Unemployment is high with a rate of 25.5% (March 2007)
• Poverty: Around half of the South Africa people live below the poverty line (CIA World Fact Book 2008)
• Life Expectancy: 50.3 years for males, 53.9 years for females, who make up 52% of the population in South Africa. One third of the population is younger than 15 years.
• HIV/Aids prevalence: 11% of the total population (Statssa 2008 - The CIA Worldbook speaks of more than 21% in 2003!), while more than one quarter of the adult population and around 40% of the children are on anti-retroviral drugs.
(All figures on this page, if not mentioned otherwise, from Statistics South Africa July 2008)
People of South Africa
There are many different ethnic groups living in South Africa, many of them maintaining their distinct traditions and customs.
During Apartheid times the black South Africans suffered greatly from discrimination and were forced to live in specific Homelands although their traditional cultures were suppressed.
The biggest ethnic groups in South Africa are formed by the Zulu, who live to the major part in today’s KwaZulu-Natal. The other Bantu-speaking people belong to the Basotho, Swazi, Tswana and Xhosa and the smaller groups are the Lobedu, Ndebele and Venda.
The Xhosa which form the majority of black people in Cape Town and the Western Cape, come mainly from the former Homelands in the Ciskei and Transkei today Eastern Cape around Umtata, the region where also former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Then there are the Coloureds, which are also often called Cape Malays, because most of them were brought to the Cape from the overseas colonies in the Dutch East Indies and their lingua franca was Malay. Cape Town has got the biggest number of coloured people in South Africa. The Cape Minstrel Carnival on the 2nd of January is one of the biggest attractions in the annual Cape Town events calendar.
Asians are coming nowadays mostly from India and China, the Indian cultures are very much alive still in their communities. A large number of Indians reside in and around Durban.
The Afrikaners, mainly white Africans of Dutch background, still practice their boers’ traditions and are still influencing the modern South African society. Especially in rural South Africa their culture is still dominating. The annual Little Karoo National Arts Festival in Outshoorn is renowned for its support of the Afrikaans Arts and Culture.
The white population practices their customs and traditions they brought with them from their home countries like Germany and France. They preserve and practice many of their traditions like they celebrate the Bastille Day in Franschhoek near Cape Town. New immigrants from overseas usually find it easy to settle in South Africa and are welcomed by their own nationality groups and communities.
More info about Expats in South Africa
South Africa people and religious affiliation
The main religions in South Africa are Christians 79.7 %, which are belonging to all religious affiliations.
African indigenous churches form the biggest group within the Christians, with other groupings being the Zionists, Methodists, Catholics, Dutch reformed, Anglicans.
There are also smaller groups of Muslims 1.5%,Hindus 1.3% and Jews 0.2% are to be found.
Well, that is what I wanted to tell you about the South africa people. Now over to you: Do you miss any important facts about the South Africa people?
Please let me know and
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