As its name implies, the Republic of South Africa (or "South Africa" for short) is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. In fact, the southernmost point of the African continent, Cape Agulhas (about 150 km east of the 'Cape of Good Hope'), is in South Africa.
South Africa borders the Republics of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia to the north. To the east, South Africa borders the Republic of Mozambique and the Kingdom of Swaziland (South Africa almost completely surrounds Swaziland). Although Lesotho is a neighboring country, the Republic of Lesotho is an enclave surrounded by South African territory.
The Republic of South Africa has a total land area of about 1,219,090 squared kilometers (about 4,620sq km of which is covered by water) with about 2,798 km of coastline. Just about 9.9% of South Africa's total land area remains arable (land good for farming).
The Republic of South Africa has a total population of about 61 million people with the population growth rate hovering around 1.6%.
About 62% of South Africa's population lives in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Johannesburg (the economical capital), Cape Town and Pretoria (the administrative capital). The metropolitan area of Pretoria is home to about 2.7 million people with urban growth rate of 2.97%. Johannesburg, the economic powerhouse and most populous city in South Africa today, has metro area population of about 6.2 million people with annual growth rate of 2.49%. Cape Town, the second most populous city in South Africa today, has metro area population of about 4.8 million people.
South Africa, the "Rainbow nation", is a multi-racial country with a blend of several ethnic and racial groups. Black Africans make up about 79% of the total population. Whites (English, Dutch, etc.) make up about 9.6% of the total population. Colored people (mixed) make up about 8.9%. Asians (mostly Indians) form about 2.5% of the total population.
There are several religious and denominational groups in South Africa today. Protestants make up about 36.6% of the total population (this includes Zionist Christians 11.1%, Pentecostals and Charismatics 8.2%, Methodists 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7% and Anglican 3.8%) and Catholics 7.1%. Other Christian groups (including Adventists) together make up about 36% of the total population. Muslims form about 1.5% of the total population. Other religious groups together make up about 2.3% of the population. The unspecified and non-religious people make up the remaining fraction of the population.
The Republic of South Africa is a linguistically diverse country with several local and foreign languages. Although just about 8.2% of the population speaks English Language, English isn't the only official language in South Africa. There are about 10 other official languages written and spoken in South Africa today. IsiZulu (Official. About 23.82% of the population speaks), IsiXhosa (Official. About 17.64% of the population speaks), Afrikaans (Official. About 13.35% of the population speaks and writes), Sepedi (Official. About 9.39% of the population), Setswana (Official. About 8.2% of the population), Sesotho (Official. About 7.93%), Xitsonga (Official. About 4.44% of the population speaks), siSwati (Official. About 2.66%), Tshivenda (Official. About 2.28%) and isiNdebele (Official. About 1.59% of the population).
The Republic of South Africa is the most advanced country in Africa today and blessed with abundance of natural resources such as gold, gem diamond, copper, chromium, antimony, platinum, uranium, coal, iron ore, manganese, vanadium, nickel, phosphates, tin, salt, rare earth elements, natural gas, etc.
However, despite the abundance of natural and human resources, the Republic of South Africa, just like most developing countries in the world today, faces so many political, social and developmental challenges.
The Republic of South Africa has a literacy rate of about 86.4% (one of the highest on the continent) which implies about 86.4% of South Africa's total population above the age 15 can at least read and write. However, quality education hard to come by in some places (especially in the rural communities) in South Africa.
Despite being the most advanced country in Africa today, millions of people (Black, White, Colored, etc) continue to live in poverty and in despair across South Africa today. It is worse especially at the outskirts of big cities and towns (in places like Soweto, a lower-class-populated urban area of the city of Johannesburg).
The end of Apartheid (One of the most racist systems of government the world has ever witnessed) has brought much improvement in the lives of millions across the country. However, the number of people (black, white and brown South Africans) living in poverty sadly remains very high especially in the rural and sub-urban communities. Millions of South Africans feel left out by the current administration.
South Africa has an HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate of about 18.9% (one of the highest in the world today). According to the World Health Organization, more than 7.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2016. There were about 270,000 new HIV infections with about 110,000 AIDS-related officially recorded deaths in 2016. Although South Africa has the largest antiretroviral treatment (ART) program in the world, only about 56% of adults (infected) were on antiretroviral treatment in 2016.
Although living conditions in South Africa are generally better than in most other African countries, the Republic of South Africa, despite a recent drop in crime rates, has one of the highest crime rates in the world today with several violent crimes (such as robbery, rape, and murder) recorded every single day.
Just like in America, Brazil, and other racially charged communities around the world, racism and discrimination continue to threaten several lives and properties in South Africa today. Also, xenophobia which the intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries, is sadly on the rise in South Africa today.
Deforestation (the rampant cutting down of trees mostly for timber. Also, for agricultural, industrial and infrastructural purposes), poaching (this is severely affecting wildlife population in Africa as a whole), Land degradation (mostly from mining activities and pollution), water pollution (mostly from agricultural and industrial runoffs), etc. are some of the major environmental challenges facing South Africa today
Just like in most other African countries, rampant corruption and poor governance continue to tear South Africa apart.