World Country South Africa

About the world country South Africa, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Southern tip of Africa, plus the Walvis Bay enclave on the coast of Namibia. Size: 471,443 sq. mi. (1,221,037 sq. km.). Population: 29,288,000 (70% black, 18% white, 9% colored, or mixed, and 3% Asian).

Who Really Rules: South African society is based upon apartheid, a system of racial segregation and white social, economic, and political supremacy. Aprtheid consists of three types of policies: (1) petty apartheid, social segregation intended to prevent intermarriage; (2) the homelands policy, the eventual concentration of the black majority into semi-independent tribal "Bantustans," or reservations; and (3) tight controls on the movement and activities of blacks within the remaining white areas, which make up 87% of the territory. Blacks are allowed in white areas only to provide cheap labor for affluent whites.

Within the ruling white minority, the Afrikaans people--descendants of Dutch and other continental European immigrants--dominate the elected parliamentary government. The Afrikaans-based National party, which runs the government, is split between verligtes (liberals) and verkramptes (hard-liners). The verligtes are willing to compromise away some of their privileges under petty apartheid, while the verkramptes oppose any substantial reform. The English-speaking whites, concentrated in the Cape Province, historically favor the liberal position. Leading capitalists, foreign and domestic, as well as Western governments, urge reform, but they are unwilling to take any steps which might endanger white rule.

The government attempts to control any opposition to apartheid by arresting and "banning" (restricting the political rights of) white as well as nonwhite critics. However, opposition within black townships is growing, and the liberation of nearby nations such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique has paved the way for full-scale guerrilla war by African nationalists.

Thus far, South Africa has granted "independence" to three black homelands within its boundaries--Transkei, Bophuthatswana, and Venda. As part of this independence, members of the black ethnic group assigned to each homeland are denied their South African citizenship.

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