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-largest economy in Africa.
South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution’s recognition of 11 official languages, which is the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country’s recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress (ANC) and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, political reform began in the 1990s. The abolition of apartheid and the country’s first multiracial elections in 1994 marked the end of white minority rule and initiated a new era for South Africa.
The British Empire established the Cape Colony in 1806, incorporating the defeated Dutch East India Company territory of modern-day Cape Town. As in most other parts of the Empire, the British encouraged local self-government. With the rapid expansion of European settlers across the interior of the colony, tensions between them and the established Boer farmers increased. The Boers resisted British encroachments beyond the Vaal River, prompting an unsuccessful British invasion in 1852. Following a second, larger invasion in 1877 during the First Boer War, many Boers who had remained in the interior formed their own republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State. The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1886 dramatically increased economic growth and immigration. This intensified the struggle between the Boers and the British, culminating in the Second Boer War, which broke out in 1899.
The Union of South Africa, a British Dominion, was established on 31 May 1910 by the South Africa Act 1909 and united four previously separate British colonies: Cape Colony, Colony of Natal, Transvaal Colony and Orange River Colony. The Union came to an end with the enactment of the Constitution of South Africa on 31 May 1961, which created the Republic of South Africa.
The United Kingdom has had a presence in South Africa since the early 19th century, when British settlers began to populate the Cape Colony. The British presence increased during the Victorian era, when large numbers of Britons immigrated to South Africa to work in the diamond and gold mines. The British population peaked at over half a million in the early 20th century, but began to decline after the First World War and the outbreak of the Second Boer War. Many British immigrants were repatriated, while others settled permanently in South Africa.
Today, there are around 200,000 British citizens living in South Africa, making them the fifth-largest group of foreign nationals in the country. The majority of British expatriates live in the major cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. British South Africans are generally well-integrated into society and play an active role in the country’s economy and politics.
It is estimated that there are around 1.5 million British citizens living in South Africa. This is a significant increase from the 500,000 that were living there in 1995. The majority of British expats live in the major cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
The British community in South Africa is a vibrant and diverse one. There are a number of reasons why British people have chosen to make South Africa their home. Many are drawn to the country by its year-round sunshine and beautiful scenery. Others are attracted by the opportunities that exist in South Africa for work and business.
Whatever the reason for moving to South Africa, British expats are generally welcomed by the local community. There are a number of British organisations and clubs in the major cities, which provide support and social activities for those living in the country.
Overall, life for British expats in South Africa is generally good. The standard of living is high, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and take part in a range of activities. Of course, as with any country, there are also some challenges to be aware of. These include crime, which is a problem in some areas, and the high cost of living in the major cities.
Despite these challenges, British expats generally find that South Africa is a welcoming and rewarding place to live.