South Africa is a country on the southernmost of the African continent, borders Namibia to the northwest, by Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north, and by Mozambique and Swaziland to the northeast and east. South Africa population in 2023 is estimated to be 61.5 million, ranks 23rd populous country in the world. Lesotho, an independent country, is an enclave in the eastern part of the republic, entirely surrounded by South African territory. South Africa's coastlines border the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. South Africa has three cities that serve as capitals for, Executive capital is Pretoria city, Legislative capital is Cape Town, and Bloemfontein is for judicial. Johannesburg, the largest urban area in the country and a centre of commerce, lies at the heart of the populous Gauteng province. It covers 1,221,037 sq km (471,445 sq mi), ranks 24th largest by area. Durban, a port on the Indian Ocean, is a major industrial centre. East London and Port Elizabeth, both of which lie along the country's southern coast, are important commercial, industrial, and cultural centres. Most of the coloured population lives in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, whilst the majority of the Indian population lives in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The Afrikaner population is especially concentrated in the Gauteng and Free State provinces and the English population in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. By 2018, 66.4% of South African population lives in Urban and 33.6% lives in rural areas and nearly 80% of the population is Black Africans. English was the language of power during the 19th century, and was imposed in 1822 as the official language of the Cape Colony, replacing Dutch. For the period 2016–2021, Gauteng and Western Cape are estimated to experience the largest inflow of migrants of approximately, 1,553,162 and 468,568 respectively. Life expectancy at birth for 2020 is estimated at 62,5 years for males and 68,5 years for females. The infant mortality rate for 2020 is estimated at 23.6 per 1000 live births. South Africa ranks sixth most dangerous countries in the world with high homicide rates and crime capital in Africa.
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According to 2020 estimated statistics, Gauteng continues to record the largest share of South Africa's population, with approximately 15.5 million people (26,0%) living in this province. KwaZulu-Natal is the second largest population with approximately 11.5 million people, followed by Northern Cape maintained with 1.29 million people with the lowest population in the country. South Africa population in 2022 is estimated to be 60.8 million, and in 2021 is estimated to be 60 million. Cape town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth are the top dangerous cities in the world.
South Africa Population Indicators
Fertility rate is 2.5 births per woman in 2017.
According to a 2010 census, Religions in South Africa are, more than 80% of the population claimed to be Christian, with the largest group of Christian churches linked to the African Independent Churches. 73.2% follow Protestantism, 14.9% No religion, 1.7% have no religion and 7.4% follow Catholicism, 1.7% follow Islam, 1.1% follow Hinduism, 1.7% have other faith.
The black population of South Africa is divided into four major ethnic groups; namely Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi), Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. There are numerous subgroups within these, of which the Zulu and Xhosa (two subgroups of the Nguni group) are the largest.
The majority of the white population (about 60%) is of Afrikaans descent, with many of the remaining 40% being of British or European descent. The coloured population have a mixed lineage, which often comprises the indigenous Khoisan genes combined with African slaves that were brought here from all over the continent, and white settlers.
During the 1970s and 1980s, enforcement of separatist policies eased, but the division of the population into four racial communities, Africans (blacks), whites, coloureds, and Asians, remained. The rules of apartheid were formally abolished in 1991, but most citizens still describe themselves as one of the four traditional categories. Most of the coloured population lives in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, whilst the majority of the Indian population lives in KwaZulu-Natal. The Afrikaner population is especially concentrated in the Gauteng and Free State provinces and the English population in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
At the 2001 census, about 79% of the population were black Africans. This black population includes a large number of peoples, including the Zulu, Xhosa, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tswana, Shangana-Tsongo, and Swazi. Whites account for about 9.6% of the total population. About 60% of the whites are descendants of Dutch, French Huguenot, and German settlers, and about 40% are of British descent; South Africans of European, especially Dutch, descent are called Afrikaners. The Cape Coloureds, accounting for about 8.6% of the total population, are a long-established racial amalgam of white, Hottentot, and other African, Indian, and Malay lineage. Asians make up about 2.5% of the population; they include descendants of Indian, East Indian, and Chinese indentured laborers who were not repatriated after their brief period of service as miners. There are a few thousand Khoikhoi within the country, an indigenous nomadic people who are primarily sheep and cattle herders.
South Africans of Indian descent, who were classified under apartheid as Asian, form a minority. They went to South Africa originally as indentured workers imported by the British to the former Natal colony beginning in the 1850s and were followed by a smaller group of immigrant traders later in the 19th century. Most of them now live in KwaZulu-Natal and to a lesser extent in Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga provinces. Almost all Indian South Africans are urban dwellers. Small communities of other ethnic Asians, including Chinese, live in some of the cities. Most white South Africans are descendants of European settlers primarily from Great Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands who began to migrate to South Africa in the mid-17th century.
According to Languages in Africa, There are eleven official languages in South Africa. English (9.6%), Afrikaans (13.5%), Ndebele (2.1%), Sepedi (9.1%), Xhosa (16%), Venda (2.4%), Tswana (8%), Southern Sotho (7.6%), Zulu 22.7%), Swazi or SiSwati (2.5%) and Tsonga (4.5%).
The Black African population is heterogeneous, falling mainly into four linguistic categories. Languages in South Africa, The largest is the Nguni, followed by Sotho-Tswana, Tsonga and Venda. Nguni including primarily spoken the Ndebele, Xhosa, and Zulu. Sotho-Tswana which includes Sotho, Pedi, and Tswana. Tsonga speakers are concentrated mainly in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, Venda largely in Limpopo province. Zulu and Xhosa are the two subgroups of the Nguni group are the largest.
White South Africans speak two languages, Africans and English. African speakers are the descendants of Dutch, French and German settlers. The majority of the white population of about 60% is of Afrikaans descent, and 40% being of British or European descent. Many of the coloured population speak both Africans and English. Regarding the languages most spoken in South Africa is the English which is common to all South Africans either of Blacks, Whites, Coloured, Asians. English appears to predominate to an increasing extent in official, educational, and business areas. The English language in South Africa dates from the arrival of the British at the Cape of Good Hope in 1795. English took root during the 19th century as a southern African language, as a result of the British settlements of 1820.
According to Christopher Henshilwood, an archaeologist from the University of Bergen in Norway said the ancient drawing was unearthed in Blombos Cave, which is about 200 miles east of Cape Town. Archaeological deposits at the site date from 70,000 to 100,000 years ago during the Middle Stone Age. Inside the cave, scientists have uncovered Homo sapiens’ teeth, spear points, bone tools, engravings and beads made from seashells.
History of South Africa is the oldest evidence in the world documenting the emergence of humankind has been found in South Africa fossils of the earliest hominids (Australopithecus africanus ) date back at least 2.5 million years, and remains linked to modern Homo sapiens date back more than 50,000 years. According to sahistory, Roughly 20,000 years ago, South Africa, still in the grip of the world's last Ice Age, was occupied by people now known as San. Remnants of San communities still survive today as so-called Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert. The San, who developed their society over thousands of years in isolation, speak a language that includes unique "click" consonants, are smaller statured, and have lighter skin pigmentation than the Bantu speakers who later moved into southern Africa.
San obtained a livelihood from often difficult environments by gathering edible plants, berries, and shellfish, by hunting game, and by fishing. Gathering was primarily the task of women, who provided approximately 80 percent of the foodstuffs consumed by the hunter gatherer communities. Men hunted, made tools and weapons from wood and stone, produced clothing from animal hides, and fashioned a remarkable array of musical instruments. San also created vast numbers of rock paintings, South Africa contains the bulk of the world's prehistoric art still extant which express an extraordinary esthetic sensibility and document San hunting techniques and religious beliefs. The rock paintings also demonstrate that considerable interaction took place among hunter gatherer communities throughout southern Africa.
Approximately 2,500 years ago, some San in the northern parts of present day Botswana. The primary social unit among the San was the nuclear family. Families joined together to form hunter gatherer bands of about twenty to fifty people. Men and women had equal status in these groups and there was no development of a hereditary chiefship, although the male head of the main family usually took a leading role in decision making. Such bands moved about the countryside seeking foodstuffs, sometimes remaining for long periods in particularly productive environments, sometimes splitting apart and joining other groups when food was scarce. Because they made such limited demands on their environment, San managed to provide a living for themselves for thousands of years. Population numbers did remain small, however, and settlement was generally sparse.
The Khoikhoi brought a new way of life to South Africa and to the San, who were hunter-gatherers as opposed to herders. According to sahistory, The Khoikhoi were the first native people to come into contact with the Dutch settlers in the mid 17th century. Because the southern Cape is fertile and well watered, many Khoikhoi settled along the coast between the Orange River and the Great Fish River. With the greater and more regular supplies of food that they derived from their herds, Khoikhoi lived in larger settlements than those of the San, often numbering several hundred people in a single community. Still, as pastoralists, Khoikhoi moved with the seasons among coasts, valleys, and mountains in search of pastureland. The larger size of Khoikhoi communities as compared with those of the San did, however, lead to the development of more hierarchical political structures. A Khoikhoi group was generally presided over by a khoeque (rich man). The khoeque was not an autocrat, but rather could only exercise power in consultation with other male elders.
The Khoikhoi engaged in extensive trade with other peoples in southern Africa. In exchange for their sheep and cattle, they acquired copper from the north and iron from Bantu-speaking Africans in the east and fashioned these metals into tools, weapons, and ornaments. By 1600 most of the Khoikhoi, numbering perhaps 50,000 people, lived along the southwest coast of the Cape. Most San, their numbers practically impossible to determine, lived in drier areas west of the 400 millimeter rainfall line, including present-day Northern Cape province, Botswana, Namibia, and southern Angola.
The Dutch settlement at the Cape dates from 1652. When the British seized the colony in 1795, they moved into a long established DUTCH speaking community with its own culture, administration, and patterns of relationship with the black and Khoisan peoples of the subcontinent. The Dutch community was already diglossic, for example using standard DUTCH for religious and governmental purposes and local varieties known variously as Cape Dutch, colonial Dutch, South African Dutch, or simply the taal as dialects of hearth and home. These were later, between 1875 and 1925, standardised as Afrikaans. Since the end of the 18 century, many speakers of English in southern Africa have been in close contact with Dutch/Afrikaans people (with many intermarriages), and less closely with speakers of BANTU and Khoisan languages. Competent bilinguals (for example, in English and Dutch, or Xhosa and English) have been numerous and influential.
Although most of the English spoken in South Africa is spoken by nonwhites, the term "English speakers" is often used to identify non-Afrikaner whites in particular, largely because this group shares no other common cultural feature. Some of South Africa's roughly 2 million English-speaking whites trace their forebears to the large influx of British immigrants of the 1820s and the 1830s. Many more Europeans arrived in the late nineteenth century, after the discovery of gold and diamonds. Almost two-thirds of English speakers trace their ancestry to England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland, but a few arrived from the Netherlands, Germany, or France and joined the English-speaking community in South Africa for a variety of social and political reasons. During the late 1930s and the 1940s, East Europeans arrived in substantial numbers. Unlike the Afrikaners, the English-speaking community has not worked to forge a common identity. During the apartheid era, non-Afrikaner whites held relatively little political power, but they maintained their superior wealth, in many cases, through their activities in commerce and business.
Also among South African whites are about 49,000 Portuguese immigrants, and 13,000 Greeks. South Africa's Jewish population of about 100,000 has been a relatively cohesive community, in comparison with other non-Afrikaner whites. Many South African Jews trace their ancestry to Eastern Europe or to the United Kingdom, and many others fled from Nazi Germany during the 1930s and the 1940s. In general, Jewish South Africans opposed apartheid, in part because of its emphasis on racial purity derived from National Socialist (Nazi) thought. Many Jews have also experienced religious discrimination in South Africa.
Asians of the roughly 1 million people of Asian descent in South Africa in the mid 1990s, all but about 20,000 are of Indian descent. Most speak English as their first language, although many also speak Tamil or Hindi, and some speak Afrikaans as a second or third language. Many South Africans of Indian descent trace ancestry to indentured agricultural labourers brought to Natal in the nineteenth century to work on sugar plantations. But almost all Indians in South Africa in the 1990s were born there, because the South African government curtailed immigration from India in 1913. Asians have endured racial and ethnic pressures throughout the past century. In the late nineteenth century, they were prohibited from living in the Orange Free State; a few settled in the Pretoria-Johannesburg area, but in the 1990s almost 90 percent of the Asian population live in KwaZulu-Natal especially in Durban and other large urban centers. Only about 10 percent live in rural areas.
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