SOUTH AFRICA: Curiosities

africanlanders

April 11, 2022

– Do you know that South Africa is the country with the most official languages ​​in the world?

Due to its diversity of ethnicities and cultures, South Africa is also known as the Rainbow Nation. Following the abolition of apartheid policies, the new South African Constitution decided to recognize up to 11 languages ​​as official languages. These are: Afrikaans, English, Isindebele, Swazi, Tsonga, Xhosa, Zulu, Tshivenda, Tswana, Sesotho and Sepedi. Zulu is the most widely spoken language, while English is the most widely used language for business and work.

Bo-Kaap Muslim Quarter in Cape Town.

– Do you know that South Africa is the only country in the world with three capitals?

South Africa is a country with three capitals: Cape Town (the legislative capital with the National Parliament), Bloemfontein (the seat of the judiciary) and Pretoria (the administrative capital and where most embassies are located). Johannesburg, the most populated city in the country and home to South Africa’s largest international airport, is no capital.

Cape Town.

– South Africa is one of the few African countries that recognizes same-sex marriage

In the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, a former apartheid prison and now a Constitutional Court, same-sex marriage was legalized in 2006. It was the fifth country in the world to recognize these marriages, and the first in Africa. Currently, unfortunately, same-sex marriage is not legalized in many African countries and is even often persecuted.

Constitutional Court in Johannesburg.

– Mandela was known to be a good boxer

Nelson Mandela, whose story you can read in the next article, has been a boxing fan since he was young. According to his writings on “A long walk to freedom”, he liked the science of this sport more than violence itself. The strategy of moving, the pace or the rigor of the exercise were some of the values ​​that Mandela likes to practice while boxing. In fact, the world boxing champion, the American Sugar Ray Leonard, gave him the world champion belt that can be found in Mandela’s home museum.

Mandela, a tall politician who liked boxing.

– Vilakazi street is the only street in the world that has two Nobel laureates who lived there

Located in the Soweto district of Johannesburg (if you want to know more about our visit to this city you can click here), Vilakazi Street is a street where Nelson Mandela lived with his family and, a few meters from his house, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Both have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize during their careers. In 1984, Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism against racial segregation; and in 1993, Mandela and South African President De Klerk received the Nobel Prize for agreements on the abolition of Apartheid.

Mandela House on Vilakazi Street.

The mining industry is a very important resource for South Africa, with one of the largest holes in the world excavated by humans

South Africa is the world’s leading producer of platinum and one of the largest exporters of gold, diamonds and coal. In fact, the well-known Transvaal Company exploited much of the gold mines found in Johannesburg during the late 19th century gold rush; and, if you go on the Panorama Route today, you can find a recreation of what was once one of the most important mining towns in the country (for more information on the Panorama Route you can click here). In addition, South Africa has one of the deepest mines in the world (Tautona, located 70 kilometers from Johannesburg) with an underground depth of almost 4 kilometers; and the Big Hole of Kimberley, a hole dug by the mining company De Beers in 1871 with the help of 30.000 men who reached more than 1.000 meters deep with a diameter of about 200 meters. They extracted more than 30 million tons of soil while extracting diamonds, such as the famous African Star.

The Big Hole, in Kimberley.

– The South African coast is one of the most shipwrecked coasts in the world

The South African coast is the point where the Indian Ocean joins the Atlantic Ocean.  This journey was an adventure for sailors and explorers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries trying to reach the Asian colonies by crossing the Cape of Storms (now known as Cape of Good Hope, if you want to know more click here) or Cape Agulhas (to know more about our experience, click here). The cold currents of Benguela with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean caused a storm of waves that many ships could not overcome. As a result, there are an estimated 3.000 shipwrecked ships off the coast of South Africa today.

Shipwrecked on the South African coast, on the Garden Route.

Categories: SOUTH AFRICA
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