South Africa has nine provinces, each with its own history, landscape, population, languages, economy, cities and government.
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Finance is the biggest industry in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Mining dominates in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and the Northern Cape. KwaZulu-Natal’s major industry is manufacturing. In the Eastern Cape and Free State, it’s government services.
The home language of most people in KwaZulu-Natal is, unsurprisingly, isiZulu. In the Eastern Cape it’s isiXhosa. Around half the people of the Western Cape and Northern Cape speak Afrikaans. In Gauteng and Mpumalanga, no single language dominates.
South Africans migrate to where the jobs are. They move from poorer provinces to the richer ones, and from rural areas to the cities.
The Free State’s complicated history has played out across its varied landscape, which runs from the Maloti Mountains in the east through flat central farmlands to the Karoo desert regions in the west and south.
Before South Africa’s 1996 constitution, the country was divided into four provinces set aside for white people, and 10 “homelands”, tiny states designated for black people.
South Africa has nine provinces, which vary in size from the small city region of Gauteng – home to more than a quarter of the population – to the great Northern Cape, by far the largest province but with the smallest population.
Local government in the Free State is organised into five major municipalities. One is metropolitan, and the other four district municipalities. The districts are further divided into 19 local municipalities.