Study Abroad in South Africa

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South Africa

Study Abroad in South Africa. Become a foreign exchange student in South Africa.South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is a country located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Lesotho is an independent enclave entirely surrounded by South African territory.

South Africa has experienced a significantly different evolution from other nations in Africa as a result of two facts. Firstly, immigration from Europe reached levels not experienced in other African communities. Secondly, the strategic importance of the Cape Sea Route, as emphasised by the closure of the Suez Canal during the Six Day War, and mineral wealth made the country extremely important to Western interests, particularly during the Cold War. As a result of immigration, South Africa is a very racially diverse nation. It has the largest population of people of Coloured (i.e. mixed racial background), whites, and Indian communities in Africa. Black South Africans account for slightly less than 80% of the population.

Racial strife between the white minority and the black majority has played a large part in the country's history and politics, culminating in apartheid, which was instituted in 1948 by the National Party (although segregation existed prior to that date). The laws that defined apartheid began to be repealed or abolished by the National Party in 1990 after a long and sometimes violent struggle (including economic sanctions from the international community) by the Black majority as well as many White, Coloured, and Indian South Africans.

Two philosophies originated in South Africa: ubuntu (the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity); and Gandhi's notion of “passive resistance” (satyagraha), developed while he lived in South Africa. 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. The economy of South Africa is the largest and best developed on the continent, with modern infrastructure common throughout the country.

South Africa is often referred to as "The Rainbow Nation", a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and later adopted by then-President Nelson Mandela as a metaphor to describe the country's newly-developing multicultural diversity in the wake of segregationist apartheid ideology. South Africa will be the host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It will be the first time the tournament is held in Africa.


Demographics

South Africa is a nation of over 47 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and beliefs. The 2005 Statistics South Africa census provided five racial categories by which people could classify themselves, the last of which, "unspecified/other" drew negligible responses, and these results were omitted. Results for the other categories were Black African at 75.4%, White at 14.3%, Coloured at 8.8% (the term "Coloured" is still largely used for the people of mixed race descended from slaves brought in from East and Central Africa), and Indian or Asian at 2.5%.

Climate

South Africa has a great variety of climate zones, from the extreme desert of the southern Namib in the farthest northwest to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the border with Mozambique and the Indian ocean. From the east, the land quickly rises over a mountainous escarpment towards the interior plateau known as the Highveld. Even though South Africa is classified as semi-arid, there is considerable variation in climate as well as topography.
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