Population 49,3 million (2009)
Surface Area Approximately 1 200 000 sq km (470 000 sq miles)
Even though South Africa only became democratic in the mid-1990s, the concept of migrating peoples was established here many centuries before that. The very first people to inhabit the area were nomadic hunter-gatherers. Then came other tribes, who migrated from further north to settle in the southern African region. Lastly, the first European settlers arrived about 360 years ago. As you can see, globalisation started a long time ago in South Africa, and has taken place throughout the history of the country!
The diversity of the country’s cultural heritage is perhaps reflected most closely in its tremendous variety of languages. There are eleven official languages in South Africa: English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, isiNdebele, SiSwati, SeSotho, SeTswana, SePedi, Xitsonga, and TshiVenda. Besides these languages, the national motto is in an ancient San hunter-gatherer language. All of these languages and cultures have their own situation in the country’s long history.
Economically, South Africa is the powerhouse of Africa, generating the largest GDP on the continent by some way (Nigeria ranks second, even though Nigeria is home to roughly three times as many people as South Africa), and South Africa also has a developed financial and transport infrastructure. The key industries are mining and agriculture, although there is also an important manufacturing sector, in addition to advanced tertiary services that are on offer and that play such an important role in the economy.
South Africa is a region of immense natural beauty. Because the country is so big, large sections are uninhabited, and lengthy inter-city journeys can be a wonderful scenic revelation for travellers, passing through the undulating plains and majestic mountains. Or one can experience the African bush at close range in one of the many private and state game reserves.
As a developing and growing economy, South Africa offers investment opportunities to the entrepreneur and a comfortable lifestyle to new residents. If you are planning on immigrating to South Africa, we would like to wish you every success in your new home.