South Africa: 101 Interesting Facts you might not know

41. SA has won a lot of medals at the Commonwealth Games. The country has won 46 medals in 2002, 38 medals in 2006, 33 medals in 2010 and 40 medals in 2014.

42. Nelson Mandela is known by 6 names in South Africa. He was born as Rolihlahla Mandela. His teacher gave him the name “Nelson” when he was in school. He was given the name “Dalibhunga” (which means “creator or founder of the council”) when he was 16. He’s also referred to as Madiba (the name of the Thembu clan to which he belonged to), Thata and Khulu (the Xhosa words for “father” and “grandfather”).

43. SA houses one of the 3 largest telescopes in the world at Sutherland in the Karoo.

44. Table Mountain has more than 2,200 species of plants – 70 percent of them are endemic.

45. SA is the first (and to date the only) country to build nuclear weapons and to voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme.

46. The Current SA Unemployment Rate is at +/- 28% (according to 2020 statistics).

47. 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.

48. The dolos (a reinforced concrete block in a complex geometric shape weighing up to 80 tons, used in great numbers as a form of coastal management to build revetments for protection against the erosive force of waves from a body of water) was invented in 1963 by South African harbour draughtsman, Aubrey Kruger. It was first deployed in 1964 on the breakwater of East London.

49. The South African oil company SASOL has established the only commercially viable oil-from-coal operations in the world.

50. The Computed Axial Tomography Scan (or CAT scan) was developed by Cape Town physicist Allan Cormack and his associate Godfrey Hounsfield. They won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for their work in 1979.

CAT Scan - South Africa

51. Two of the most profoundly compassionate philosophies originated 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.

52. The world’s first heart transplant was performed by Dr Chris Barnard in Cape Town on 3 December 1967.

53. The Kreepy Krauly swimming pool vacuum cleaner was invented by Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs in 1974.

54. Pratley Putty was invented by South African, George Pratley in the 1960s. It was carried by the Apollo 11 Eagle landing craft to the moon and has been used to halt cracking in main supports of the Golden Gate Bridge (in San Francisco).

55. 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.

56. There is a home that was built in the shape of a shoe, which can be seen in the area of the Abel Erasmus Pass in Mpumalanga.

57. Q20 was invented in 1950 in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal by Mr Robertson. He developed it to displace water from the distributor caps on the old VW Beetle. It’s an effective water repellent, keeps rust at bay, eases squeaky door hinges and makes it easy to release rusted or seized nuts and bolts.

58. The Smartlock Safety Syringe was developed in South Africa. This invention provides improved protection against needlestick injury and contamination by Ebola virus, Hepatitis and HIV.

59. SA has 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites: The Fossil Hommonid Sites at Sterkfontein, the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape in Limpopo, the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape in the Northern Cape, Robben Island, the floral regions in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape, iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal, the Vredefort Dome and the uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park.

60. The Barberton Mountain range in Mpumalanga is over 3.5 billion years old and remains one of the best preserved and least altered early Archaean rock formations in the world. A bacterial micro fossil Archaeospheroides barbertonis was discovered here and is believed to have been one of the first forms of life on earth.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. JK

    I just googled “the biggest hospital in the world” and South Africa is in 4th place, not 1st place?

  2. Pierre Theron

    76. The Springboks have won the IRB Rugby World Cup thrice: In 1995 (in SA), in 2007 (in France) and in 2019 (in SA).

    1. Henno Kruger

      Thanks, will update 🙂

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