Country Listing

South Africa Table of Contents

South Africa


South Africa's emergence from global isolation in the 1990s parallels its political and economic reorganization, as it works to eliminate vestiges of the notorious system of apartheid. That system provoked international condemnation and deprived society of much of its human potential, and coping with its legacies has complicated the process of establishing a new system based on nonracial norms. An interim constitution, first implemented in April 1994 to govern the political transition, is being replaced by a new constitution, intended to protect legal equality for individuals regardless of racial identity after 1999. The transition has just passed the halfway mark as this book goes to press, and this volume reflects the fact that many political and social issues remain unresolved.

This book replaces South Africa: A Country Study , also produced in a time of turmoil in 1981, as the country began to recognize some of the demands for broader political participation by all racial groups. Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a concise and objective manner the dominant historical, social, economic, political, and national security aspects of contemporary South Africa. Sources of information included scholarly books, journal articles, and monographs; official reports of governments and international organizations; foreign and domestic newspapers; the authors' previous research and observations; and numerous periodicals. Chapter bibliographies appear at the end of the book; brief comments on particularly valuable sources appear at the end of each chapter.

Place-names follow the system adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN), wherever possible. Nine new provinces have been designated to replace the four provinces and ten homelands of the apartheid era. Some other desigations--for historical landmarks, public holidays, as well as some public buildings and government offices--are still being changed in the mid-1990s in recognition of the country's new political dispensation. New names have been included as available. As of early 1997, the provincial capital of KwaZulu-Natal is still to be decided between Ulundi and Pietermaritzburg. The apartheid-era designation for the racial category known as "coloured" is retained in this volume for historical accuracy.

The country has eleven official languages, which include nine Bantu languages, selected to recognize the first language of almost all South Africans. The two previous official languages, Afrikaans and English, remain important, but the former no longer dominates the public media and is being phased out in some official contexts, such as military training. Some provincial legislatures are considering language policies to be incorporated into provincial constitutions in the late 1990s.

All measurements in this book rely on the metric system; a conversion table is provided to assist those readers who are unfamiliar with metric measurements (see table 1, Appendix). A glossary is also included to explain terms with which the reader may not be familiar. The use of the term billion follows the American system; for example, one billion means 1,000,000,000.

The body of the text reflects information available as of May 1996. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated: the Introduction concludes with a discussion of significant events that have occurred since the information cutoff date; the Country Profile and Chronology include updated information as available; and the Bibliography lists recently published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

Data as of May 1996