South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. It is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 56 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. The World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, and a newly industrialised country. Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, and the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa. However, poverty and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day.
South Africa has been ranked as the most unequal country in the world, with the country’s Gini coefficient at 0.63 in 2008.
South Africa was colonised by the British Empire in the 19th century, and became a self-governing colony in 1884. In 1910, the Union of South Africa was formed as a result of the British Government’s decision to unify the four previously separate British colonies of Cape Colony, Natal Colony, Transvaal Colony and Orange River Colony. The Union remained a Dominion of the British Empire until 1961, when it became an independent republic following a referendum in which White voters narrowly voted in favour of independence.
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has undergone a transition to democracy. The country has also made significant progress in tackling the issue of poverty, with the number of people living below the national poverty line declining from 24.2% in 2006 to 21.7% in 2011.
South Africa’s road to independence was a long and arduous one. It was a struggle that lasted for many years, and involved the sacrifices of many brave men and women.
The journey began in the late 1800s, when the first steps were taken towards political representation for blacks in the Cape Colony. This was a time of great change in South Africa, as the discovery of diamonds and gold was transforming the economy. The British were also consolidating their control over the country, which led to increasing tensions between the white settlers and the indigenous population.
The situation came to a head in the early 1900s, when the British attempted to introduce legislation that would restrict the rights of blacks. This led to a period of unrest and violence, known as the Boer War. The war ended in a victory for the British, but it left the country bitterly divided.
The next few years saw a series of protests and uprisings by blacks, who were demanding equality. In 1948, the National Party came to power in South Africa and introduced a system of racial segregation known as apartheid. This system of discrimination and oppression lasted for many years, and led to international condemnation.
The fight for freedom continued throughout the apartheid era, with many brave men and women risking their lives to end this system of injustice. In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black president of South Africa, and the country finally achieved independence.
Today, South Africa is a vibrant democracy, and its people are proud of their country’s long struggle for freedom.