The Republic of South Africa is the southernmost country of the African continent and it is located across the Indian and Atlantic ocean. Unlike other countries, South Africa has 3 capitals :
- Pretoria , the administrative
- Cape Town, the legislative
- Bloemfontein, the judical
There are also other large and important cities like Johannesburg and Durban. The official languages are Afrikaans, English and other African languages.
The written history of South Africa begins in 1488 when the portuguese Bartolomeu Dias, the first European navigator to achieve circumnavigation of the African continent, discovered the southernmost tip of Africa and when he returned to Lisbon he carried news of this discovery he called “Cape of Storms”. Later the Cape was named “Cape of Good Hope” by John II of Portugal because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to the riches of India.
After the victory of the British army, the Cape Colony, the Boers Republics and the colony of Natal were unified to form the Union of South Africa that declared independence from Great Britain on the 31 May 1910.
The previous century had been very important for the South African’ s modern history. South Africa was converted from a dominion in the Commonwealth to a separate Republic in 1961.
In 1948 the National Party was elected to power practicing racial segregation laws in which the black majority lost his human rights; this terrible system was named with the Afrikaans word “Apartheid” that means Separation. A long period of suppression by the government was answered with violent resistance, marches and protests by various anti-apartheid movements, the most famous is ANC the African National Congress. Nelson Mandela was a prominent anti-apartheid activist and leader of ANC. In 1990, the National Party released Nelson Mandela from prison after 27 years of incarceration on a sabotage sentence.
Apartheid legislation was gradually removed from the statute books. The ANC won by an overwhelming majority and has been in power ever since. Nelson Mandela was the first president of South Africa to be elected in fully democratic elections, he has received over one hundred awards, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
South Africa is also called "The Rainbow Nation", a term coined by Desmond Tutu and later adopted by the President Nelson Mandela. Mandela used the term "Rainbow Nation" as a metaphor to describe the country's new multicultural diversity in the end 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 and South Africans are proud to host this important event in their country.
South Africa is also famous for the Great White Shark, the most dangerous and fearsome predator of the sea. The beaches near Durban are particularly famous because of a series of shark attacks.