Vagabond Cheat Sheet: South Africa

South Africa

There is nothing like the World Cup to get you some attention. And as hosts of the 2010 World Cup, South Africa is certainly getting a lot of attention. There is certainly more to South Africa than the World Cup. Twenty years after the apartheid era, South Africa is still dealing with the consequences. In this month’s Vagabond Cheat Sheet, we peel back a layer and see what is underneath all the vuvuzelas.

Geography and Economy

Geography: South Africa is… well, the southernmost country in the African continent.
Capital: Pretoria (betcha didn’t know that!)
Language(s): 5% or more of the population speak one of these: IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, English, Setswana, Sesotho
Population: 49,109,107 (28.6% under the age of 15)
Population in Poverty: 24,554,554 (50%)
Religion: None 15.1%, Zion Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Catholic 7.1%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36% (Christians make up over 75%)
Currency: South African Rand
Exchange Rates:

  • US Dollar: 0.1305
  • Euro: 0.1069
  • British Pound: 0.0865

International Affairs and Tourism

Colonized by: Netherlands / England
Independence: From UK in 1931
Genocide: None reported by UN
Recent Armed Conflicts: Various peacekeeping operations in Africa
Tourism Information: Safaris, Vineyards, Beaches, Hiking
Visa: Not needed for most countries (US$72 otherwise)
Internet: Accessible and available in urban locations. Limited in rural areas.

International Organizations

UNICEF: UNICEF has made a great investment in treating children with AIDS and numerous programs to prevent the spread of AIDS.
UNESCO: South Africa is home to seven of the UNESCO World Heritage sites: The Cradle of Humankind, Robben Island, Cape Floral Region, Isimangaliso Wetland Park, Mapungubwe Kingdom, Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park and Vredefort Dome
International Red Cross / Crescent: The South African Red Cross Society works to aid victims of disasters, provide AIDS education among other programs.
Habitat for Humanity: 2600 houses built since 1996.
CARE: Projects to improve communities and AIDS Prevention
Doctors without Borders: Programs to provide HIV / TB Treatment
Oxfam: HIV / AIDS prevention programs, providing food for drought areas, child protection and gender equality
MercyCorps: No current projects


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