South Africa is one of Africa’s choicest countries that are spearheading development on the continent. The country which had been an apartheid country recently hosted the FIFA world cup in 2010 but there are other fascinating facts about South Africa that you probably have not heard of before.
In this article, we’ll bring to light the best 10 amazing and fun facts about South Africa, popularly known also as the Rainbow Nation.
Fun South Africa Facts
10. Nobel Peace Prize Winners on the Same Street?
South Africa is the only country where a street has produced two Nobel prize winners in history. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had houses on the street of Vilakazi located in Soweto.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s former President Frederik Willem de Klerk in 1993.
While Mandela was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize “for his work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”, Frederik Willem de Klerk was honored for participating in the country’s peace progress by releasing Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.
Another South African giant to have received the Nobel Peace Prize is Archbishop Mpilo Desmond Tutu, the world-renowned preacher and strident voice against apartheid.
Tutu, who was a bishop at the time was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 16 October 1984, for his “role as a unifying leader figure in the campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa”.
The Archbishop Emeritus is the first Black Secretary General of the South African Council of Churches, the first Black Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu first met Mandela as a debate judge when he [Tutu] was a student at a teacher training college. The next time the icons spoke was the night after his release from prison in 1990. The meeting reportedly took place at Bishop’s Court, in Cape Town.
Shortly after his release from prison, the Nelson Mandela administration appointed Tutu as the chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was tasked with investigating past human rights abuses.
All through his lifetime, Madiba and Tutu were close friends who shared a special kind of bond. Their closeness was so strong to the point Tutu suffered a major heartbreak when he learned about Mandela’s passing.
9. Most Diverse Fossils of Early Dinosaurs
The Karoo region in the Western Cape of South Africa is a very important area in the South African country because it’s home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs. In fact, it is estimated that some 80% of the mammalian fossils found to date were found in the Karoo.
In southern Africa, rocks of the Karoo Supergroup cover almost two-thirds of the present land surface (400,000 sq km), including central Cape Province, almost all of Orange Free State, western Natal, much of south-east Transvaal, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. Some group of land vertebrates found in Karoo Supergroups includes Dinosaurs, mammals, and tortoises.
8. Second Largest Producers of Fruits
South Africa is the second largest fruit producers in the entire world – many thanks to the optimal climatic condition of the country has made it possible to support quite a large range and species of fruits.
The country is famed as the fourth biggest apple producer, second biggest pears producer, the world’s tenth largest sugar producer, and the world’s largest producer of macadamia nuts.
South Africa seems to be well-balanced climatically and apart from the fruit depot of the world, SA is ranked first in the world for its floral kingdom and is home to the world’s smallest succulent plants (less than 10 mm) and the largest (the baobab).
7. Coal to Oil Technology
South Africa is the first country to develop an unimaginably rare coal-to-oil technology. Due to the aftermath of the second world war, South Africa was struggling economically, and oil was hard to access, so due to the country’s vast coal reserves, they decided to research on how to turn coal into oil.
Though the South African country thought that converting coal into a liquid was absolutely impossible at first, it turned out that it was easier than they had anticipated. Today, the country is one of the biggest companies in South Africa Synthetic Oil Liquid (SASOL).
Also, China and the United States of America seem to have followed suit. While China is said to have begun the construction of a coal-to-oil plant, the US has adopted the study of coal-to-oil technology as part of its academic curriculum.
6. Sailors Bump
South Africa’s coastline is said to be around 2500 km and has witnessed over 2000 shipwrecks, most dating back at least 500 years.
The dangerous coastline has claimed thousands of vessels and lives over the centuries. Some popular shipwrecks off the South African coast include the SS Thomas T Tucker, Grosvenor, the Waratah, the Arniston, the Oceanos, the Birkenhead, and the Sacramento. These outrageous number of wrecks could likely be the reason the coast was dubbed “the graveyard of ships” and “the Cape of the storm”.
5. Land of Mines
South Africa is extremely rich in mining and minerals and considered the world’s leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth and the top-ranked gold producing country producing around 41% of all the world’s Gold.
In 1996, it emerged that South Africa had 261,423 antipersonnel mines in its stockpile, along with 49,756 antitank mines. This was revealed by the then minister of defense. Nevertheless, the country allegedly boasts stocks of more than 20 other types of mines from six other nations.
4. Well Recognised Monarchy
The country’s status is well-regarded as a democratic republic, but the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has a monarchy system of government that is specially provided for by the Constitution.
Since September 17, 1968, the Zulu kingdom has been producing kings in South Africa. The reigning king of the Zulus is Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. He ascended the throne as the eighth monarch on December 3, 1971at a lavish ceremony attended by over 20,000 people from all walks of life.
King Goodwill is a father to twenty-seven (27) children and a husband to six pretty wives. Zulu queens are named as Nompumelelo Mchiza, Zola Zelusiwe, Buthle MaMathe
Thandekile Jane Ndlovu, MafuMantfombi Dlamini (chief queen), and Sibongile Winifred Dlamini.
3. The Palace of the Lost City
The Palace of the Lost City is the world’s largest themed resort hotel in the world and is located in Sun City, Rustenburg, South Africa. The five-star hotel is surrounded by a 25-hectare man-made botanical jungle with almost 2 million plants, trees, and shrubs in existence.
Since its establishment in 1992, the legendary palace has hosted millions of fun lovers from across the world. The Palace of the Lost City is a must-see for anyone with plans of visiting South Africa.
2. Mind Your Business While Sitting
In South Africa, it is against the law to sit closer than 2 Meters to any individual of the opposite sex, if he or she wears nothing but a swimming dress. (Who decides the reference point is who I really don’t know).
1. Major Medical Record
It should be noted that the very first world’s heart transplant was done in South Africa and that was on 3rd December 1967. It was performed on Louis Washkansky, a Lithuanian Jew migrant, at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town South Africa.
The surgical operation lasted for six hours. However, Washkansky succumbed to pneumonia eighteen days after the renowned transplant.