South Africa

country in southern Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost sovereign state in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometers of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, and on the east by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with an estimated population of 60 million people, is the world's 23rd-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere.

I like a lot of South Africans but they really think they're the bees' knees. ~ Guy Scott
If it happened in South Africa, why can't it happen anywhere? ~ Desmond Tutu
Either break into pieces or collapse into dust, the end of South Africa is inevitable. ~ Robert Duigan
At thy call we shall not falter, firm and steadfast we shall stand. At thy will to live or perish, o South Africa dear land! ~ C.J. Langenhoven

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  • From its roots, like many colonial societies, South Africa was a society of great inequalities, both economic and political. In the twentieth century, this inheritance led to a highly undemocratic polity in which only whites were enfranchised. After the Second World War, Africans began to successfully mobilize against this political status quo, and they were able to exert increasing pressure, rendering the existing apartheid regime infeasible and threatening mass revolt. Attempts by the regime to make concessions, although leaving the system basically unaltered, failed to achieve this objective, and the apartheid regime maintained power through the use of extensive repression and violence. In 1994, the regime was forced to democratize rather than risk potentially far worse alternatives.
    • Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (2006)
  • American society as a whole seemed committed to the idea of the races living together on an equal basis. This was something few South Africans, white or black, had actually seen. Nconganwe had trouble accepting that it actually existed. In African culture, the family and extended family were everything. Loyalty to one's clan was far more important than any feeling of nationhood. America had forged her own borders. South Africa’s had been drawn by European colonists, with no thought to the peoples already living there.
  • A doctor in rural South Africa describes his frustration. He says, "We have no medicines. Many hospitals tell people, you've got AIDS, we can't help you. Go home and die." In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words.
  • Here are wide tracts of fertile soil watered by abundant rains. The temperate sun warms the life within the soil. The cooling breeze refreshes the inhabitant. The delicious climate stimulates the vigour of the European. The highway of the sea awaits the produce of his labour. All Nature smiles, and here at last is a land where white men may rule and prosper. As yet only the indolent Kaffir enjoys its bounty, and, according to the antiquated philosophy of Liberalism, it is to such that it should forever belong.
    • Winston Churchill, The Boer War: London to Ladysmith Via Pretoria and Ian Hamilton's March (1900)
  • In South Africa the rise of a very powerful and very affluent Black sector of the population, a Black bourgeoisie if you will, the potential for which was never really taken into account, at least not publicly during the struggle against apartheid-it was assumed that once Black people achieved political and economic power, there would be economic freedom for everyone, and we see that that's not necessarily the case. We have basically the same situation in the US.
    • Angela Davis Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (2015)
  • ... it's an horrific circumstance that [the South African farmers] face and Australia has a refugee and humanitarian program – as well as a number of other visa programs – where we have the potential to help some of these people that are being persecuted. So I've asked my Department to have a look at options and ways in which we can provide some assistance because I do think, on the information that I've seen, people do need help and they need help from a civilised country like ours and more importantly than that, the people that we are talking about want to work hard, ... abide by our laws, integrate into our society, ... not lead a life on welfare ...
  • ... as there has been an awakening in India, even so there will be an awakening in South Africa with its vastly richer resources – natural, mineral and human. The mighty English look quite pygmies before the mighty races of Africa. They are noble savages after all, you will say. They are certainly noble, but no savages and in the course of a few years the Western nations may cease to find in Africa a dumping ground for their wares.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Speech at Oxford, October 24, 1931. Quoted in Rajeshwar Pandey, Gandhi and Modernisation, Meenakshi Prakashan, 1979.
  • Compared to its regional counterparts, South Africa is a wealthy country. It has a strong economy and a solid industrial base. It has the potential to become a regional leader and assert influence over all of southern Africa. And yet, South Africa today is focused almost entirely inward, its ability to project power constrained by competition between numerous factions. This wasn’t always the case.
  • There are powers that are trying to manipulate our country's history by trying to portray it as dark, suppressive and unfair... Yes, we have made mistakes. Yes, we have often sinned and we don't deny this. But that we were evil, malignant and mean–to that we say "no"!
    • F. W. de Klerk, as quoted in The Citizen (10 October 1992), Johannesburg, South Africa
  • There are a number of imperfections in the new South Africa where I would have hoped that things would be better, but on balance I think we have basically achieved what we set out to achieve. And if I were to draw balance sheets on where South Africa stands now, I would say that the positive outweighs the negative by far. There is a tendency by commentators across the world to focus on the few negatives which are quite negative, like how are we handling AIDS, like our role vis-à-vis Zimbabwe. But the positives – the stability in South Africa, the adherence to well-balanced economic policies, fighting inflation, doing all the right things in order to lay the basis and the foundation for sustained economic growth – are in place.
  • None of the articles of faith of the South African Constitution is plausible. The Constitution is not supreme and entrenched. Vulnerable to potent socio-economic forces it changes continuously and often profoundly regardless of stringent amendment requirements. The trite threefold separation of powers is more metaphorical than real and therefore unable to secure effective checks and balances. Though institutionally separated with their own personnel and functions, the three powers are ordinarily integrated in a single dominant political leadership.
    • Koos Malan in There is no Supreme Constitution: A Critique of Statist-individualist Constitutionalism, African Sun Media, 2019
  • When [Nelson Mandela] was in prison I admired him for his moral strength... Of his period in power I can see few results. Apartheid no longer exists, at least to all appearances, but no one understands what the new government in South Africa is doing.
    • Mengistu Haile Mariam, As quoted in Riccardo Orizio, Talk of the Devil: Encounters with Seven Dictators, (Walker and Company, 2003), p. 148
  • We have never had a superhero that looks like us and speaks like us and shares the same experiences and environment as us. Comic books in South Africa are still at crawling stage. The market hasn’t been tapped into and activated. As someone who is passionate about comics and the power of comics, I see it as a challenge to overcome.
  • SA, long regarded as the gateway to Africa, suffers from reputational damage due to the high crime rate (including high-profile murders), the finance minister fiasco, parliamentary shenanigans and chicanery by President Jacob Zuma over payment for upgrades at his Nkandla home.
  • Being convinced in our consciences that a republic would be disastrous to the material well-being of Natal as well as of the whole of South Africa, subversive of our freedom and destructive of our citizenship, we, whose names are underwritten, men and women of Natal, loyal subjects of Her Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, do hereby pledge ourselves in solemn covenant, throughout this our time of threatened calamity, to stand by one another in defending the Crown, and in using all means which may be found possible and necessary to defeat the present intention to set up a republic in South Africa. And in the event of a republic being forced upon us, we further solemnly and mutually pledge ourselves to refuse to recognise its authority. In sure confidence that God will defend the right, we hereto subscribe our names. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.
    • Natal Covenant
  • It was in Southern Africa that there emerged the most carefully planned structures of interlocking directorates, holding companies, and giant corporations which were multinational both in their capital subscriptions and through the fact that their economic activities were dispersed in many lands. Individual entrepreneurs like Oppenheimer made huge fortunes from the Southern African soil, but Southern Africa was never really in the era of individual and family businesses, characteristic of Europe and America up to the early part of this century. The big mining companies were impersonal professional things. They were organized in terms of personnel, production, marketing, advertising, and they could undertake long-term commitments. At all times, inner productive forces gave capitalism its drive towards expansion and domination. It was the system which expanded. But in addition, one can see in Africa and in Southern Africa in particular the rise of a capitalist superstructure manned by individuals capable of consciously planning the exploitation of resources right into the next century, and aiming at racist domination of the black people of Africa until the end of time.
  • The South Africans are very backward in terms of historical development. I hate South Africans. That's not a fair thing to say because I like a lot of South Africans but they really think they're the bees' knees and actually they've been the cause of so much trouble in this part of the world... I have a suspicion the blacks model themselves on the whites now that they're in power. "Don't you know who we are, man?" ... They think in BRICS that the "S" actually stands for South Africa whereas it stands for Africa. Nobody would want to go in for a partnership with Brazil, China, India and South Africa for Christ's sake... I dislike South Africa.
  • I come from a beautiful land, richly endowed by God with wonderful natural resources, wide expanses, rolling mountains, singing birds, bright shining stars out of blue skies, with radiant sunshine, golden sunshine. There is enough of the good things that come from God’s bounty, there is enough for everyone, but apartheid has confirmed some in their selfishness, causing them to grasp greedily a disproportionate share, the lion’s share, because of their power. They have taken 87 of the land, though being only about 20 of our population. The rest have had to make do with the remaining 13. Apartheid has decreed the politics of exclusion. 73 of the population is excluded from any meaningful participation in the political decision-making processes of the land of their birth. The new constitution, making provision of three chambers, for whites, coloreds, and Indians, mentions blacks only once, and thereafter ignores them completely. Thus this new constitution, lauded in parts of the West as a step in the right direction, entrenches racism and ethnicity. The constitutional committees are composed in the ratio of 4 whites to 2 coloreds and 1 Indian. 0 black. 2 + 1 can never equal, let alone be more than, Hence this constitution perpetuates by law and entrenches white minority rule. Blacks are expected to exercise their political ambitions in unviable, poverty-stricken, arid, bantustan homelands, ghettoes of misery, inexhaustible reservoirs of cheap black labor, bantustans into which South Africa is being balkanized. Blacks are systematically being stripped of their South African citizenship and being turned into aliens in the land of their birth. This is apartheid’s final solution, just as Nazism had its final solution for the Jews in Hitler’s Aryan madness. The South African Government is smart. Aliens can claim but very few rights, least of all political rights. In pursuance of apartheid’s ideological racist dream, over 3.000.000 of God’s children have been uprooted from their homes, which have been demolished, whilst they have then been dumped in the bantustan homeland resettlement camps. I say dumped advisedly: only things or rubbish is dumped, not human beings. Apartheid has, however, ensured that God’s children, just because they are black, should be treated as if they were things, and not as of infinite value as being created in the image of God. These dumping grounds are far from where work and food can be procured easily. Children starve, suffer from the often irreversible consequences of malnutrition – this happens to them not accidentally, but by deliberate Government policy. They starve in a land that could be the bread basket of Africa, a land that normally is a net exporter of food.
  • [T]here is always the possibility of change. If it happened in South Africa, why can't it happen anywhere?
  • As we coasted along two men began to run along the beach opposite us. This land is very attractive and well situated; and we saw many cattle wandering about on the land here; and the further we advanced the better did the land become and the higher the groves of trees.
  • Let us live and strive for freedom, in South Africa our land!
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