South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. From 1948 to 1990, it was under apartheid, racial segregation enforced through law. Thanks to the work of people like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, apartheid was dismantled from 1990 to 1993 in a series of negotiations, and the first all-race elections were held in 1994, which were won by the African National Congress. Many of the compromises struck during this time are still in place, such as having 11 official languages and a national anthem that is the bastard offspring of "Nkosi Sikilel' iAfrica" (God Bless Africa) and "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" (The Call of South Africa). It remains the only neo-modal (it does not finish in the home key) national anthem in the world. The anthem itself is a mixture of isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English.
Linux users might know South Africa as the birthplace of the term ubuntu, a philosophy dealing with the relationship and allegiances between people.
Unfortunately, some South African leaders, such as former president Thabo Mbeki, were HIV denialists, and perhaps more sickeningly, certain segments of the country's population, largely as a result of the influence of "tribal doctors" and "spiritual healers," spread rumors that one could rid themselves of AIDS through measures such as "eating a lot of vegetables such as garlic and African potatoes," having sex with a virgin, male circumcision, and other assorted woo. In fact "African vegetables rather than anti-HIV medication" was the official line touted by Mbeki's Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.
Other interesting facts are that the current president, Jacob Zuma, only has a primary school education, and as a result of the history of traditional African lifestyles currently has three wives, although he has been married five times, and is currently engaged to wife number six.
- Once in the news almost daily, the band African national Congress are now rarely heard.
- Spitting Image summed up the Apartheid regime with the excellent song "I've never met a nice South African."
- The worst rendition of an anthem you'll ever hear. Ras Dumisani slaughters the song before a test match in France.