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About South Africa


Natural resources include a large variety of metals and minerals—such as gold and diamonds—and natural gas.

The majority of the population is of African descent, with a small amount of European descent and mixed race. South Africa has 11 official languages, including English, Afrikaans (a Dutch dialect), Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda and Swazi.

Most people profess to be Christian, although there are still millions who follow traditional African religions

South Africa has a long history of European rule and influence. The Dutch East India Company brought the first European settlers in 1652, and Great Britain took possession in 1806. The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1886 brought more Europeans to the country.

Following the Boer War between the Dutch and British, the Union of South Africa was established in the early 1900s. Racial tension, however, overshadowed the country’s progress over the next few decades. The National Party started racial segregation, known as apartheid, in 1948.

The separation of races lasted until 1994 when South Africa held its first multi-racial elections. South Africa continues to hold democratic, multi-racial elections today despite lingering racial tensions. (Source: World Vision)

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is having a tremendous impact on South Africa. The country has the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world (6 million), and the prevalence rate among adults is more nearly 30 percent. Over the past few years, life expectancy has declined to 47, infant mortality has risen, and the number of men and women in their 30s and 40s has decreased, yielding a sharp increase in the number of children left without one or both parents.

Today South Africa is considered a middle-income, developing country, yet its people face economic challenges. The country has a high unemployment rate and the daunting effects of apartheid have resulted in poverty and lack of economic empowerment for disadvantaged groups.

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About Mamelodi, South Africa

Mamelodi, part of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, is a township set up by the then apartheid government northeast of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. It was established when 16 houses were built on a remote piece of land in June 1953 and later the name changed to Mamelodi, the name given to president Paul Kruger by the Africans because of his ability to whistle and imitate birds, also meaning Mother of Melodies. The Group Areas Act designated Mamelodi as a blacks-only area, though this became moot with the fall of apartheid in 1994. In the 1960s black citizens where forcefully removed from the suburbs around Pretoria and moved to Mamelodi. (Source: Wiki)

Mamelodi has an estimated population of between 1.0M and 1.5M people. Many live in small brick houses, but there are also very large informal settlements called squatter camps where people have built their own shacks made out of corrugated iron or plastic sheets. As more people move from the rural areas to the cities, these informal settlements are growing larger all the time. (Source: Mamelodi Trust).