Johannesburg is the largest and most cosmopólitan city in South Africa. It is the financial and commercial capital of Gauteng. It is also the centre of the gold mining industry and was probably named after Johannes Meyer, who was the first mining commissioner in 1886.
South Africa has a diverse population of 43,647,658 as of the last census. It is made up of ethnic black groups, Indians, whites and coloureds (mixed race). Below are a list of ethnic groups and the percentage of the population they make up:
* Zulu- 23.8%
* White- 18%
* Coloureds- 10.5%
* North Sotho- 7.3%
* Xhosa- 9.7%
* Tswana- 5.7%
* Asian- 3.3%
* Indian- made up of Hindus and Muslims
Due to the mixture of ethnic groups, South Africa has eleven official languages e.g. Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu, Tswana, Sotho etc. Almost half of South Africa’s population is concentrated in urban areas. Its population density varies from five people per sq mile to two hundred and thirty-nine people per sq mile. The population growth rate is higher for black people and people of mixed race than it is for white people. South- Africa’s infant mortality rate is very high amongst the black population but moderate amongst the white population. Its life expectancy for males is sixty-three years and sixty-eight years for females and it’s the highest for the white population but the lowest for the black population, due to the Aids epidemic.
From 1948 to 1993/94 South Africa’s political and social structure was held on apartheid (a legalised system separating different population groups). In 1983 a new constitution was granted giving limited political rights to coloureds and Asian minorities but not to the black people. The dominant white party was the National Party who ran the government. The opposing black party was the African National Congress (ANC), which was run by Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for his political activity. In 1960, South Africa became a republic and in 1961 South Africa had left the common- wealth. During 1985/86 there were periods of unrest (the uprising of black political parties fighting for their rights). President F.W. de Klerk was voted in 1990 and he began trying for racial reconciliation.