50 Facts about South Africa You Might Not Have Known
I was browsing the web late at night a few weeks ago and this article caught my eye on the SA Good News website. All credit to the author of this article for making me feel all Proudly South African inside. This list of facts truly was an eye-opener and one of the most informative articles I’ve read about South Africa.
- The Rand was the best performing currency against the US dollar between 2002 and 2005 (Bloomberg Currency Scoreboard)
- South Africa has 55,000 high-net individuals holding at least US $1 million in financial assets (World Wealth Report 2008)
- South Africa has the 27th biggest economy in the world, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US $254 billion (World Bank)
- South Africa accounts for almost 25% of the GDP of the entire African continent, with an economy more than twice the size of the second biggest – Algeria (World Bank)
- Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest province but produces 34% of South Africa’s GDP. (Stats SA)
- The JSE Securities Exchange is the 14th largest equities exchange in the world, with a total market capitilisation of some R2.3 trillion.
- More than 12,000 ‘Black Diamond’ facilities (South Africa’s new black middle class) – or 50,000 people – are moving from the townships into the suburbs of South Africa’s metro areas every month (UCT Unilever Institute)
- The black middle class grew by 30% in 2005, adding another 421,000 black adults to SA’s middle-income layer and ramping up the black population’s share of SA’s total middle class to almost a third. Between 2001 and 2004, there were 300,000 new black entrants to the middle class. (Financial Mail)
- South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity. (Eskom)
- South African power supplier provides the 4th cheapest electricity in the world.
- Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto is the biggest hospital in the world.
- Durban is the largest port in Africa and the 9th largest in the world.
- There are 39 million cell phone users in South Africa (International Telecommunication Union)
- The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown by 200% since 1994, from 3 million to over 9 million in 2007. (Dept of Environment and Tourism)
- The Singita game reserve was voted the best hotel in the world by the readers of a leading travel magazine. (Conde Nast Traveller)
- The world’s best land-based whale-watching spot is located in Hermanus in the Western Cape.
- In 2002, South Africa was the world’s fastest growing tourist destination. In 2006, South Africa’s tourism grew at 3 times the global average.
- South Africa houses the largest timed cycle race in the world (the Cape Argus), the world’s oldest and largest ultra-marathon (the Comrades) and the world’s largest open water swimming event (the Midmar Mile).
- South Africa will become the first African country to host the Soccer World Cup in 2010… and only the 2nd country in the world to have hosted the Cricket, Rugby and Soccer World Cups.
- Since the 1940s, South African golfers have won more majors than any other nation, apart from the United States.
- In 1994, we won 11 medals in the Commonwealth Games. In 2002, we won 46.
SA Teaching the World
- South Africa houses one of the 3 largest telescopes in the world at Sutherland in the Karoo.
- South Africa is the first, and to date the only, country to build nuclear weapons and to voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme.
- The South African Constitution is widely regarded as being one of the most progressive in the world, drawing from experiences of the world’s most advanced democracies.
- The South African oil company Sasol has established the only commercially viable oil-from-coal operations in the world.
- Two of the most profoundly compassionate philosophies orginated in South Africa – Ubuntu (the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity) and Ghandi’s notion of “passive resistance” (Satyagraha), which he developed while living in South Africa.
- Almost a quarter of South Africa’s non-interest budget is spent on education.
- The University of South Africa (UNISA) is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is the largest correspondence university in the world with 250,000 students.
- Our learner to teacher ratio has improved from 1:50 in 1994 to 1:34 in 2004.
- South Africa’s matric pass rate has improved from 49% in 1994 to 70% in 2004, but the student’s receiving university exemptions has remained at 18%.
- The first MBA programme outside the United States was started by the University of Pretoria in 1949.
- Over 13 million South Africans (a quarter of the population) have access to social grants (Department of Social Development)>/li>
- Since 1994, 500 houses have been built each day for the poor and 1,000 houses per day have received electricity.
- Seventy percent of South Africa’s population is urbanised.
- Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent.
- The Cango Caves near Oudsthoorn is the world’s longest underground cave sequence.
- South Africa is the only country to house an entire floral kingdom (fynbos), one of only 6 on the planet.
- In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to protect the Great White Shark.
- South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, at the Vredefort Dome near Parys. The scar is 2 billion years old.
- South Africa has the 3rd highest level of biodiversity (SA Tourism)
- The Cape Hyrax’s (dassie) closest relative is the African elephant.
- South Africa has embraced the concept of trans-frontier ‘peace parks’, linking ecological reserves across national borders.
- South Africa is the cradle of mankind.
- Afrikaans is the youngest official language in the world.
- The Western Deep Levels is the world’s deepest mine at 3777 metres.
- South Africa has the world’s largest deposits of gold, chromium, platinum and manganese.
- The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street, Orlando West.
- South Africa has the world’s second oldest Air Force, established 1920.
- South African Breweries (SABMiller) ranks as the 2nd largest brewing company in the world. It supplies up to 50% of China’s beer.
- South Africa has the 2nd oldest film industry in the world.
- In 2007 South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was included in the Time 100, an annual list, assembled by Time Magazine, of the 100 most influential people in the world.
- Cape Town has the 5th best blue sky in the world, according to the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.