South Africa

General Information



In South Africa, many different cultures and traditions can be found (hence the word ,,rainbow nation’’). The Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim and Afrikaner are all habitants of South Africa, just to name a few. The younger generations usually move to the bigger cities with a westernized lifestyle and speak English and Afrikaans. These bigger cities are called ,,townships’’. People of said townships developed its own culture with its unique music, art and food. The township art is very vibrant and is being acknowledged internationally. When it comes to the South African cuisine, many different dishes are being served and enjoyed every day:

  • Biltong + droewors (air-fried meat with vinegar and spices)
  • Boerewors (=,,farmer sausage‘‘)
  • Sosatie (marinated meat on skewers)
  • Vetkoek (fried bread with mince)
  • Bokkoms (salted, dried mullet (fish))
  • Melk tert (milk tart, famous dessert)


Alongside many other aspects of South African culture, music is one of the most interesting and also one of the most relatable. Music is often used to express personal feelings and strong messages. The South African music is no exception here. Lets take Kwaito, a style of music that originated in Johannesburg, is heavily influenced by the sudden freedom of political expression that came along with Nelson Mandela taking office as the first democratically elected President of the nation. Kwaito is in some ways similar to modern Hip Hop, but also has its own, unique elements such as the distinctive manner the lyrics are rapped or shouted. If you want to listen into some of the most popular tunes in South Africa, feel free to use the buttons below.


  • Native peoples barely exist anymore
  • Bantu people migrated from the north 1800 years ago
  • ¾ of population today
  • Apartheid: Categories Whites, Blacks (Natives) and Coloured (mixed/Asians/etc.)
  • Categories and labels abolished and rejected today
  • Asians brought as workers from other colonies and live in urban centres
  • Europeans descend from German, Dutch and British settlers
  • Africans form 4 language groups (Nguni [~50%], Sotho-Tswana, Tsonga and Venda)
  • Whites form 2 language groups (Afrikaans [>50%] and English)

Political System

  • bicameral parliamentary democracy
  • National Assembly (lower house) elected for 5 years with proportional representation
  • National Council of Provinces (upper house) made up of provincial representatives
  • universal suffrage after the age of 18
  • African National Congress (ANC) is the leading party, primary opposition is the Democratic Alliance (DA)


Economic History

  • Revolutionized in late 19th century when diamonds and gold were discovered there
  • Extensive investment from foreign capital
  • Since WWII: experienced highly valuable growth rates, some years it was among the highest in the world
  • Since 1970s: economic problems, apartheid policies led to countries withholding foreign investment
  • 1996: creation of a 5-year-plan: GEAR – Growth, Employment And Redistribution: focus on removal of exchange controls
  • Result: achieved some of its goals, moderately successful
  • Implementation of new laws and programs to improve situation of marginalized majority:
    • BEE – Black Economic Empowerment: focus on increasing employment opportunities for colored people
    • 2003: BEE further expanded by BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) à gender and social inequality now equally as important as racial inequality

Until 2020, the GDP of South Africa increased, then it dropped in the first quarter of 2020 due to the corona pandemic but has recovered by now.

Human Development

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a measure of a country’s average achievements and improvements in specific elements of human development like life expectancy and education. The HDI was launched in 1990 and is released annually ever since, except for the year 2012. Since the year 2000, the HDI of South Africa is on an upward trend with the country growing in economic strength and providing more education and safety for its citizens, as well as better medical care. The 2021 HDI of South Africa is 0.705, which is considerably higher than the HDI of 1990, which was at 0.627, but it still is below the average of 0.71. The country with the highest Human Development Index is Norway with an HDI of 0.954. A HDI of 0.8 to 1.0 indicates very high human development, whereas a score below 0.55 is called low human development, indicating that the country does not have a stable government and suffers from widespread poverty and poor education. With an HDI above 0.7, South Africa is still located in the category of high human development.


  • Cape Town or in Afrikaans: Kaapstad is the oldest city of South Africa and its legislative capital. It’s located in the Western Cape province and with a current population of 4.710.000 people it has grown to be South Africas second largest city after Johannesburg.
  • Pretoria serves as seat of the executional branch of government, making it the administrative capital of South Africa. With a population of 2.472.612 people it’s not only one of South Africas largest cities but the many academies and research centers helped it to build up a reputation of an academic city. Pretoria is located approximately 34 miles north-northeast of Johannesburg.
  • Bloemfonntein, also known as the city of roses, is South Africas judicial capital. A population of 556.000 people makes it the smallest of the three capitals. Bloemfonntein is located in central South Africa, in the west of the country Lesotho.


Human development: (last accessed on 15.12.21)

Economy: (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21)   (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21)

Music: (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21)

General Information: (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21)

Capitals  (last accessed on 13.12.21) (last accessed on 13.12.21) (last accessed on 13.12.21)

Culture (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21) (last accessed on 15.12.21)