South Africa Study Abroad Programs

  • Capital: The Republic of South Africa has 3 capitals, each serving a different governmental function
    • Pretoria (administrative)
    • Cape Town (legislative)
    • Bloemfontein (judicial)
  • Language: The Republic of South Africa has 11 official languages: English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Afrikaans, siSwati, Sesotho sa Leboa, Sesotho, Setswana, Tshivenda, Xitsonga
  • Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)

Known informally as “the Rainbow Nation,” South Africa is a nation defined by its diversity. The country is home to over 50 million people, who represent a variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Since the end of apartheid (the government-mandated, forced segregation between racial groups), the country has become focused on multicultural inclusion in all its forms. To demonstrate this inclusivity and a respect for the cultures of all its peoples, the South African government promotes social cohesion by recognizing 11 official languages, supporting indigenous knowledge systems, and encouraging multilingualism.

South Africa is also sometimes described as “a world in one country,” because visitors are able to experience variety not only in peoples and cultures, but also in geography, biodiversity, and economy. Modern, cosmopolitan cities with advanced infrastructure contrast with huge tracks of undeveloped land where it is not unusual for motorists to have to stop to allow giraffes, baboons, or herded cattle to cross the road. South Africa also hosts 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Cradle of Humankind, the world’s richest hominid site and home to over 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils.