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Expats in South Africa

Expats in South AfricaSouth Africa: An Overview

South Africa has 11 official languages, some of which incorporate clicking sounds as consonants. This spread of languages, and the multiethnic nature of South Africa in general, is a result of many different periods of colonization and migration. South Africa contains many of humanity's most ancient archaeological and fossil sites, with Homo Sapiens having lived in Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years.

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Originally inhabited by Khoikhoi and San peoples, South Africa saw a large influx of Bantu-speaking people (originally from the Cameroon area) from 300AD onwards. By the time that the first Europeans arrived, Bantu-speaking people had become the dominant ethnic group. Portuguese colonists were the first Europeans to establish settlements, but were replaced by Dutch colonists in 1652 (around the area of modern-day Cape Town). This initial colonisation saw slaves being moved to South Africa from places as diverse as Indonesia, Madagascar and India, in order to provide labour on behalf of the Dutch East India Company.

The British seized the Cape in 1795, as Dutch naval and mercantile power had faded and there was a prospect of Napoleon occupying the area. This new sovereignty was not officially recognised until the Congress of Vienna in 1815, following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The discovery of diamonds at Kimberley in 1867, and the subsequent discovery of gold in Witwatersrand in the Transvaal (around 1884), led to further migration during a period known as the ‘Mineral Revolution’. This upheaval led to an increased subjugation of the indigenous people, and ultimately caused the British and Dutch-speaking colonists to engage in conflict during the Boer Wars.

The Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, following the unification of Britain's Cape Colony, Natal Colony, Transvaal Colony and Orange River Colony. In 1931 the union was effectively granted independence from the United Kingdom, as the Statute of Westminster meant that the United Kingdom could no longer legislate on behalf of South Africa, though the country did not officially become a republic until 1961.

Segregationist legislation had been in place for a number of years but, under control of the newly elected National Party in 1948, the existing system of racial discrimination was formalised and extended as the apartheid (Afrikaans: ‘separateness’) era began. The large-scale denial of human rights continued until multi-racial democratic elections were held in 1994, and Nelson Mandela's subsequent rise to power after 27 years of imprisonment.

Nowadays, South Africa's economy is the largest and most developed in Africa, though poverty is still very high, with a quarter of the population living on less than US$1.25 per day.


Country Name: South Africa
Coordinates: 30°00'S 25°00'E
Capital: Pretoria
Capital Coordinates: 25°44'S 28°11'E
Other Main Cities: Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town
Population: 52981991
Area: 1221037
Official Language(s): Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Ethnic Group(s): 79.2% Black African, 8.9% Coloured, 8.9% White, 2.5% Indian or Asian, 0.5% other
Demonym: South African
Currency: South African Rand, ZAR
GDP: $623.201 billion
Time Zone: SAST (UTC+2)
International Dialling Code: 27
Internet TLD: .za
Electricity Voltage: 230 Volts AC (50Hz)



Financial Considerations In South Africa

Taxation In South Africa

Healthcare In South Africa

Education In South Africa

Immigration In South Africa

Employment And Business In South Africa

Accommodation In South Africa

Relocation In South Africa

Social And Cultural Traits In South Africa

Living In South Africa



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Moving to South Africa

If you are considering moving to South Africa or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated South Africa section including; details of immigration and visas, South African forums, South African event listings and service providers in South Africa.

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Living in South Africa

From your safety to shoppingliving in South Africa can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in South Africa with relevant news and up-to-date information.

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Working in South Africa

Working in South Africa can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in South Africa, and general South African culture of the labour market.

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