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SOUTH AFRICA

Population: 49 million
Size: 1,221,037 sq. km.
Official Language: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Sepedi, Sotho, Tshivenda, Tswana, Swati and Xitsong
Capital: Pretoria (administrative), Bloemfontein (judicial) & Cape Town (legislative)
Currency: $1 CDN = 7.7 RAND as of Nov., 2011

The Republic of South Africa (also referred to as South Africa, SA or RSA) is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans. To the north of the country lie the neighbouring territories of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; while Lesotho is an enclave surrounded by South African territory.

South Africa is multi-ethnic and has diverse cultures and languages. Eleven official languages are recognised in the constitution. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans, originated mainly from Dutch, is spoken by the majority of white and Coloured South Africans, and South African English. Though English is commonly used in public and commercial life, it is only the fifth most-spoken home language. All ethnic and language groups have political representation in the country's constitutional democracy comprising a parliamentary republic.

About 79.5% of the South African population is of black African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. South Africa also contains the largest communities of European, Asian, and racially mixed ancestry in Africa.

South Africa is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank, one of only four countries in Africa in this category (the others being Botswana, Gabon and Mauritius). It has the largest economy in Africa, and the 28th-largest in the world. About a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US $1.25 a day.

Visit this link for more information about South Africa:
The Lonely Planet Guide - South Africa

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