South Africa: 101 Interesting Facts you might not know

81. Johannesburg is the second biggest city in Africa.

82. The Adam’s Calendar (near Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga province) dates back to 750,000 years ago.

83. South Africa has embraced the concept of trans-frontier ‘peace parks’, linking ecological reserves across national borders.

84. South Africa is the only African country that’s a member of the G20.

85. Afrikaans is the youngest official language in the world. It’s one of the 11 official languages of South Africa.

86. The town of Kimberley was founded in 1871 after diamonds were discovered on a nearby farm (which was owned by the De Beers brothers).

87. The big hole in Kimberley is 463 metres wide. Miners dug the hole from 1871 to 1914 and yielded 2,722 kilograms of diamonds.

88. Bloemfontein was founded in 1846 as a fort by Henry Douglas Warden (an English army major).

89. The Western Deep Levels is the world’s deepest mine at 3777 metres.

90. The South African fast food chain Debonairs Pizza has its origins in Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu Natal in 1991.

91. South Africa has the world’s largest deposits of gold, chromium, platinum and manganese.

92. The South African fast food brand, Nando’s was founded in Rosettenville, Johannesburg in 1987. The brand has 1,000 outlets in 35 countries.

93. The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners was in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both had houses in Vilakazi Street, Orlando West.

94. South Africa has the second oldest Air Force in the world. It was established in 1920.

95. SA is the largest meat producer in Africa.

Braai - South Africa

96. South Africa has the 2nd oldest film industry in the world.

97. SA is the only country in the world where right-hand-drive cars are produced by Mercedes Benz.

98. In 2007 South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa (the current South African president) was included in an annual list assembled by Time Magazine featuring 100 of the most influential people in the world.

99. Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free and is only found in the Cederberg in the Western Cape provice.

100. South Africa’s tap water is considered to be the third best and safest water in the world that is ready to drink.

101. According to 2017 figures, Vodacom is the biggest mobile phone network in South Africa with more than 37 million subscribers. MTN is the second biggest network (with more than 30 million subscribers) and Cell C is the third biggest (with more than 15 million subscribers).


102. A strict lockdown was imposed in South Africa to battle the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. In June 2020 the South African Minister of Finance estimated that the SA econony would contract by 7% by the end of the year, but some analysts saw a double-digit contraction. The South African GDP shrunk by 51% in the 2nd quarter of 2020 (due to the lockdown).

103. Eskom (South Africa’s State Owned Main Electricity Provider) has accrued debt of R480 billion (Roughly $29 billion).

104. According to the National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) 3 million people lost their jobs over the COVID-19 lockdown period in South Africa. This represents an 18% decline in employment from 17 million people employed in February 2020, to 14 million people employed in April 2020.

105. In 1998 Charl Fourie designed the Blaster (flamethrower) to provide defense against car jackings.

106. Terry Keith Ashwin (A South African Inventor) patented the first active RFID in the United States, South Africa, United Kingdom and Australia in 1999.

107. South African Engineer Graeme Wells created the oil-can guitar in 2001.

108. South African educator and medical specialist Prof Mashudu Tshifularo was the the first person to transplant 3D-printed bones for reconstructive middle ear implants in March 2019. The procedure was carried out at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.

109. Ubuntu (Linux operating system) was first released by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth in 2004.

110.  Ken Hall designed the Cobb grill (a charcoal briquette stove as a safer alternative to the paraffin stoves that cause many home fires in rural areas of South Africa). The grill was featured in the Time Magazine’s best inventions of the year in 2001.

111. Pinotage is South Africas signature variety wine grape. It  was first bred from a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut grapes in 1925.

112. Port Elizabeth was renamed to Gqeberha in February 2021.

113. 23,420 species of vascular plants have been recorded in South Africa, making it the sixth most species-rich country in the world and the most species-rich country on the African continent. Of these, 153 species are considered to be threatened.

Well, there you have it, A Collection of Interesting Facts about South Africa. I hope that you’ve learned something. If you have, please share this article with your friends on Facebook / Twitter.

If you’re curious about the SA Music scene, check out this post featuring 101 Interesting South African Music Facts.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

  • 260
  • 5
  • 6
  • 260
  • 5
  • 6

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 🙂

Leave a Reply