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31 Interesting Facts About South Africa You Probably Didn’t Know

  • Officially (South African city) Johannesburg’s nickname is “Egoli” – or the city of gold.


  • South Africa has about 160,000 inmates in its prisons, costing it about R8,000 (just over US$800) a month for each inmate.


  • South Africa had the largest prison population in Africa and the 9th largest in the world.


  • Between 2000–2006 the electric power consumption per capita (KWh per capita) of South Africa was 4,847; Ethiopia’s was barely 34.4.


  • South Africa’s economy makes up 17% of Africa’s purchasing power, but Nigeria is quickly catching up and may by 2015


  • Johannesburg (South Africa) and its satellite cities alone generate 9% of all economic activity in Africa.


  • The most luxurious train on Earth, arguably – ‘The Rovos Rail’ – is in South Africa. A privately owned rail company


  • Over 1/3 of a million litres of beer and 390,600 hot dogs were sold in public catering and in the stadiums in 2010 World Cup in South Africa
  • South Africa has 10 different airports, 3 of them are International and the other 7 are domestic terminals.


  • South Africa launched Africa’s 1st high-speed train in 2010.The railway linked Jo’burg’s international airport to Sandton, its financial hub


  • Nigeria and South Africa are two of Africa’s most connected countries in terms of mobile phone subscriptions.


  • Indian icon Mohandas Gandhi actually began his activism as an Indian immigrant in South Africa in the early 1900s before continuing in India
  • Mark Shuttleworth of South Africa, paid $200 fee to the Russian space program, to be the first African to be on Space


  • The African country with the largest White African population of European descent both numerically and proportionally is South Africa.


  • One can travel by road from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa and back by road, safely; over 6,000kms per trip, 13,000kms in total.


  • Cape Town, South Africa, was founded in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company’s Jan van Riebeeck.


  • South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund, the continent’s largest, has around $120 billion in assets.


  • Reuters ranked South Africa 6th in global gold production in 2012, just 6% of the world total, its worst year for production since 1905.


  • More than 75% of all the world’s rhino today are found in South Africa.


  • King Shaka International Airport, Durban, South Africa (DUR) cost a whooping sum of $1 billion to build.


  • In 2008, Travel Telegraph Awards named Cape Town, South Africa the most beautiful city in the world.


  • In July 2004, the African Union’s Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was relocated to Midrand, in South Africa, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


  • South African telecoms MTN is less than 20 years, yet it now boasts a market capitalisation of $36 billion,one of the largest global players


  • Gay marriages is legal in South Africa. Has been since 2006. It is the 5th nation, 1st in Africa, and the 2nd outside Europe to legalise it.


  • The Balobedu (South Africa), is the only tribe in Africa ruled by a female. Rain Queen, Makobo Modjadji VI


  • The oldest political party in the continent is the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. It was founded in 1912


  • Zimbabwe would have been South Africa’s 5th province in 1922, but its electorate opted for nearly full internal self-autonomy under Britain.


  • There is an African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cape Town, South Africa. It has graduated 470 Africans since 2003, 30% women.


  • Since 1994 there have been a large number of places in South Africa which have been renamed for political, ethnic or economic reasons.


  • On 27 April 2013, South Africa marked the 19th anniversary of its first multi-racial elections.


  • Johannesburg, South Africa, is rated as the 7th most polluted city within the world’s biggest economies.

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