Charting South Africans’ life expectancy is to track the country’s modern history. In 1960, when the state was grimly implementing apartheid laws, an average newborn child was expected to have a lifespan of only 52 years – 50 years for boys. In 2015, life expectancy was 62 years.
It took one day for young South Africans to change the course of the country’s history. That day was 16 June 1976. Here’s an hour-by-hour account of the events that sparked the 1976 Soweto students’ uprising.
South Africa has 11 official languages and a multilingual population fluent in at least two. IsiZulu and isiXhosa are the largest languages, while English is spoken at home by only one in 10 people – most of them not white.
Robert Sobukwe was one of South Africa’s greatest but forgotten heroes of the struggle for human rights and nonracialism.
Nelson Mandela’s large and growing family tree includes three wives, six children, 17 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
They’ve been dismissed as street dogs, mongrels, and worse. But as a breed they are smart, tough, athletic, loyal – and ancient. They are the Africanis, the dog of Africa.
The distribution of South Africa’s population groups reveals the country’s history. Find out more with these maps of where black, coloured, Indian and white South Africans live today, according to the 2011 census.
South Africa has nine provinces, each with its own history, landscape, population, languages, economy, cities and government.
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.
Creative Commons is a licensing system that frees creative works for others to publish and transform. The commons drives some of the best projects on the internet, including Wikipedia and South African History Online. Here’s a selection of free and open images of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo were friends for six decades, from student days through their law firm, then imprisonment and exile until the final victory over apartheid.
South Africa has 56.5-million people, according to 2017 estimates. The 2011 census puts it at 51.5-million. Black South Africans make up around 81% of the total, coloured people 9%, whites 8% and Indians 3%.
Black men have the shortest lives, and white women the longest. Find out more about the country’s population structure with this infographic charting the realities of age, race and sex in South Africa.
There’s a lot of talk of South Africa’s population being dominated by the youth. But we’re less youthful than we have been for decades. The end of apartheid, better healthcare, widespread social welfare and greater economic opportunities all mean South Africans are now able to live longer lives.
From 1960 to the late 1980s, apartheid laws kept families and communities in poor rural areas. Young men alone were allowed to move to the cities, where their labour was valuable. After the end of apartheid, from the mid-1990s, urbanisation increased rapidly.
Mixed with over a dozen African languages for over two centuries, spiced by imports from British, Dutch and Portuguese colonies, South African English has its own rich, varied and sometimes weird flavour.
In the West the peak of the Aids epidemic was in 1985. But HIV and Aids hit South Africa only in the 1990s, just as we were starting to build a new society out of the ruins of apartheid. Here, the epidemic peaked in 2006.
A comprehensive timeline of the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – revolutionary, soldier, political prisoner, president of South Africa, statesman and global icon of social justice.