Proudly South African

Monday, 12 April 2010 14:40 administrator

We're both so proud to be part of this country - and to be privileged enough to be able to show YOU this country! Once we cringed when our "anthem" was sung, felt ashamed to see the old South African flag. Now we want to shout from the rooftops - WE'RE HERE WHERE WE BELONG, AND ARE DAILY OVERPOWERED BY THE MIRACLE THIS LAND HAS WITNESSED!

Thought we'd share with you some items that rank high on this achingly beautiful country's pride list.


# We had our own home-made saint in the person of ex-President Nelson Mandela, surely one of the greatest forces for good in the world. He was our role-model, and an example to the world of peace, love, tolerance and reconciliation.May he rest in peace!

# Four South Africans have won the Nobel Peace Prize : Chief Albert Luthuli in 1960; Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984; and Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk in 1993. In all cases, the prize was granted for the work done in ensuring that peaceful, rather than violent, change came to South Africa. Zackie Achmat and the Treatment Action Campaign, involved in the fight against HIV - AIDS, have been nominated for a Nobel Prize as well. South Africa can certainly be proud of these great people!

# In the past decade, enormous strides have been made in the economic field. Here follows a short list of some of those economic successes :

· When Nelson Mandela was inaugurated President in 1994, South Africa was insolvent (liabilities exceeded assets). Today the Government's deficit is negligible - one of only a handful of countries in this position.

· South Africa has the world’s 20th biggest economy – out of 230 countries! The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is the 15th largest stock exchange in the world.

· South Africa has had single-digit inflation since 1993 - following 20 years of double-digit inflation.

· Since 1995, 440 000 ha of land in South Africa have been redistributed, and 29 000 land claims settled – peacefully, legally, constitutionally – unlike in our northern neighbour, Zimbabwe!

· Mortgage rates are at their lowest level since 1981.

· Water delivery country-wide has improved by 85% since 1995. In fact, South Africa is one of only 12 countries worldwide where tap water is safe to drink everywhere!

· Half of rural homes are now electrified.

· The literacy rate has gone up by at least 10%. Total: 85.9%.

· Most South Africans now have access to a telephone link, and some 7 million actively use mobile phones.

· After a brief, sudden plunge of the South African Rand at the end of 2001, the currency has recovered the almost 40% it lost to the U.S. Dollar. Since 1994, it has been the strongest-performing currency vs. the US$.

· South Africa is still one of the world's biggest exporters of gold and other base and precious metals.

· A special fraud unit improved tax collection by US$430 million in 2001, enabling the government to cut corporate income tax rates from 48% to 30%.

· Mercedes Benz C Class, BMW 3 Series and Volkswagen Golf and Jetta vehicles for all right-hand drive markets in the world are produced in South Africa.

· South Africa's electricity supplier, ESKOM, is the largest producer of coal-fired electricity in the world, and South African electricity is among the cheapest in the world. Approximately two-thirds of all the power generated in Africa comes from South Africa.

· South African Breweries is the fourth-largest producer of beer in the world (very important, that!) - and produces over 50% of the beer consumed in China! In June 2002, S.A.B. bought Miller Brewing Company, making SAB-Miller the 2nd largest brewer in the world.

# 22 years ago, in 1986, South Africa was the pariah of the world. A state of emergency was in place; draconian legislation made the country an effective police state; Nelson Mandela was in prison; white men did two years compulsory military service, spending much of that time patrolling the black townships to keep the lid on the pressure-cooker; 64 184 black people were removed from "white areas" in that year, and 3 989 people were detained without trial. And look at the country now!

# The first heart transplant operation in the world was performed at Cape Town's Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967 by Professor Chris Barnard. South African surgeons are renowned the world over for their cardiovascular research and heart surgery technology.

# For a country as small as ours, and so "backward" compared to most of the "developed" countries, South Africa has a remarkable sporting pedigree : think of golfing legends Gary Player, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen (South Africans have won more U.S. golf tournaments than any other foreign country); swimmers like Karen Muir and Penny Heyns, Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman; our 1995 and 2007 rugby world champions. In 2003, for the first time, South Africa hosted the international Cricket World Cup. We have been awarded the 2010 Soccer (Foorball) World Cup. And Cape Town came a narrow second to Athens in the bid to host the 2004 Olympic Games.

# South African authors have won major international awards : Nadine Gordimer the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991; and J. M. Coetzee the Nobel Prize in 2003 and the Booker Prize twice! And Athol Fugard is the second most performed playwright in English after Shakespeare.

# South African banks are among the best in the world in terms of competitiveness and efficiency. 4 of South Africa’s banks are listed among the world’s top 200.

# 8 of South Africa’s universities are listed among the top 200 research universities in the world.

# South Africans are highly regarded internationally as negotiators. Cyril Ramaphosa was in charge of the decommissioning of I.R.A weapons; Nelson Mandela settled the dispute over Lockerbie; Thabo Mbeki initiated the mediation in the D.R.C., and is currently hard at work trying to bring normality to beleaguered Zimbabwe; and Judge Richard Goldstone headed the investigation into the Kosovo war crimes.

# South African wines are among the finest in the world, and consistently win international awards. Wine was first produced in South Africa over 300 years ago, and South Africa is currently the world’s 8th largest wine-producing nation.

# We have some of the most superb National Parks in the world - from the awesome Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (one of the world's first cross-border parks run jointly by South Africa and Botswana), to the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Kruger was one of the first National Parks in the world (founded in 1898), has the most innovative management of any park in the world, and is the world's most profitable game reserve.

# South Africa has the most sophisticated road and rail infrastructure in Africa.

# South Africa is the only country in the world to have acquired, and subsequently fully dismantled, its nuclear weapons capability.

# South Africa's hotels are among the best in the world - and a number of them (such as the Cape Grace and Mount Nelson in Cape Town, and the Londolozi, Singita and Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve) have won international awards from Conde 'Nast and other top sources.

# Archbishop Tutu described South Africans as the "rainbow people of God". How right he was! With 11 official languages, 3 major religions, and more than 20 different ethnic groups, there is a remarkable cultural diversity in this country.

# South Africa's national flag is one of the most popular and easily identified in the world (apparently the 3rd most easily identifiable!). The new multi-coloured flag, introduced in 1994, is symbolic of the optimistic new start this country made in that momentous year. The central design begins as a V near the flag-pole, then comes together in the centre of the flag as a single horizontal band. This represents the coming together of all South Africans in a new, united future!

# “Homo Habilis”, considered to be the first true ancestor of the human race, is thought to have emerged here in South Africa. Fragments found at the Sterkfontein Cave near Johannesburg – a cave where more hominid remains have been found than at any site in the world – belong to this species. The Sterkfontein area has recently been declared the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

# South Africa has seven World Heritage Sites : the Cradle of Humankind; Robben Island; the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park; the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park (recently renamed the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park); the Vredefort Dome; the Cape Floristic Region; and the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape.

# Cape Town’s Table Mountain is one of the seven natural wonders of the modern world, and surely one of the most famous. The flat-topped, 1 089m-high massif can be seen from 250km out at sea. It is also the only geographical feature in the world to have a constellation of stars named after it – “Mons Mensa”.

# SASOL was the world’s first producer of oil from coal – and it still contributes more than 40% of South Africa’s oil needs.


# “The Dark Continent is at once a misnomer and an awful truism. The sun never shines as brightly as it does in Africa. Unfortunately the brightest sunshine casts the darkest shadows and the miseries that lie in Africa’s umbra are the most abject in the world…… And yet. Not for nothing has this continent been confirmed as the cradle of all humankind. Not for nothing do we know that the first people on earth were Africans and that other races developed from them. Not for nothing do Africa’s misplaced citizens – the Afro-Americans and West Indians – hanker to find their roots. And not those people alone. Everyone of whatever race, nation or creed who comes to Africa feels a magnetism that cannot be ignored or explained. Because it is primeval. Because Africa is like a mother calling her children home. Old, addled and poor she may be, but the pull of the umbilicus is still there. Irresistibly.”

John Ryan, One Man’s Africa

And how about this magnificent passage from the Alexander Mc Call Smith novel Tears of the Giraffe - his protagonist, Mma Ramotswe is thinking :

"Then there was Mr. Mandela. Everybody knew about Mr. Mandela and how he had forgiven those who had imprisoned him. They had taken away years and years of his life simply because he wanted justice. They had set him to work in a quarry and his eyes had been permanently damaged by the rock dust. But at last, when he had walked out of the prison on that breathless, luminous day, he had said nothing about revenge or even retribution. He had said that there were more important things to do than to complain about the past, and in time he had shown that he meant this by hundreds of acts of kindness towards those who had treated him so badly. That was the real African way, the tradition that was closest to the heart of Africa. We are all children of Africa, and none of us is better or more important than the other. This is what Africa could say to the world : it could remind it what it is to be human."

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 January 2016 14:23