South Africa Shopping, Official Site.

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South Africa Shopping

South Africa Shopping

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South Africa Gifts

South Africa Shopping

 
SOUTH AFRICA SHOPPING: South Africa Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean in the west, on Namibia in the northwest, on Botswana and Zimbabwe in the north, on Mozambique and Swaziland in the northeast, and on the Indian Ocean in the east and south. Lesotho is an independent enclave in the east. The largest city is Johannesburg . Cape Town is the legislative capital, Pretoria the administrative capital, and Bloemfontein the judicial capital.

South Africa has three main geographic regions: a great interior plateau; an escarpment of mountain ranges that rims the plateau on the east, south, and west; and a marginal area lying between the escarpment and the sea. Most of the plateau consists of highveld, rolling grassland situated at 4,000 to 6,000 ft (1,220-1,830 m). In addition, in the northeast are the Witwatersrand (a ridge of rock where gold has been mined since 1886), the Bushveld Basin (a zone of savanna situated at 2,000-3,000 ft/610-910 m), and the Limpopo River basin. South Africa Shopping, Official Site.

In the north are the southern fringes of the Kalahari desert; and in the west is the semiarid Cape middleveld, which includes part of the Orange River and is situated at 2,500 to 4,000 ft (760-1,220 m). The escarpment reaches its greatest heights (10,000-11,000 ft/3,050-3,350 m) in the Drakensberg Mts. in the east. The marginal area varies in width between 35 and 150 mi (60-240 km) and most of it is bordered by a narrow, low-lying coastal strip. The region also includes considerable stretches of grassland in the east; mountains and the semiarid Great and Little Karroo tablelands in the south; and desert (a southern extension of the Namib desert) in the west. Kruger National Park is in NE South Africa.

South Africa is divided into nine provincesóWestern Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga. Before 1994, there were four provinces: Cape Province, Natal, Orange Free State, and Transvaal. In addition, during apartheid rule about 14% of the country's land area was set aside for blacks in pseudoindependent territories (originally called "Bantustans" ), allegedly to allow them self-government and cultural preservation. In fact, these "homelands" were used to give the white government greater control and to exclude blacks from the political process. Gazankulu, Kangwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa, and QwaQwa were Bantu national homelands that existed under South African sovereignty. Transkei , the first homeland (1963), Bophuthatswana , Ciskei , and Venda were all granted "independence" by the early 1980s and existed as nominal republics, although none were recognized internationally.

The main industrial centers are Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth , Durban , Pretoria, and Germiston . There is food processing and a large wine industry. Principal manufactures include machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, and forest products. South Africa is a world leader in the production of platinum, gold, chromium, diamonds, aluminosilicates, manganese, and vanadium. Other leading minerals extracted are copper ore, coal, asbestos, iron ore, silver, titanium, and uranium. Automobile assembly, metalworking, and commercial ship repair are also important.

The country has good road and rail networks. The chief seaports are Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London , Saldonha Bay, and Mossel Bay, where natural gas is now extracted offshore. The Orange River Project, a major hydroelectric and irrigation scheme, began in 1963 in central South Africa and was fully operational by the mid-1980s. By 2008, however, the lagging development of electrical power generation capacity led to power shortages within South Africa.

The main imports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, and foodstuffs. The chief exports are gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, equipment, chemicals, and arms. The principal trade partners are Germany, the United States, Japan, and Great Britain. South Africa carries on a large-scale foreign trade and generally maintains a favorable trade balance.

Diamonds were discovered in 1867 along the Vaal and Orange rivers and in 1870 at what became (1871) Kimberley ; in 1886 gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand. These discoveries (especially that of gold) spurred great economic development in S Africa during 1870-1900; foreign trade increased dramatically, rail trackage expanded from c.70 mi (110 km) in 1870 to c.3,600 mi (5,790 km) in 1895, and the number of whites rose from about 300,000 in 1870 to about 1 million in 1900.

At the same time there were complex political developments. In 1871 the British annexed the diamond-mining region (known as Griqualand West), despite the protests of the Orange Free State. Britain annexed the Transvaal in 1877 but, after a revolt, restored its independence in 1881. In 1889, Cape Colony and the Orange Free State joined in a customs union, but the Transvaal (led by Paul Kruger ) adamantly refused to take part.

In 1890, Cecil J. Rhodes , an ardent advocate of federation in S Africa, became prime minister of Cape Colony, and by 1894 he was encouraging the non-Afrikaner whites (known as the Uitlanders) in the Transvaal to overthrow Kruger. In Dec., 1895, Leander Starr Jameson , a close associate of Rhodes, invaded the Transvaal with a small force, planning to assist a hoped-for Uitlander rising; however, the Uitlanders did not revolt, and Jameson was defeated by early Jan., 1896. Tension mounted in the following years as British Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain and the British high commissioner in South Africa, Alfred Milner , supported the Uitlanders against the dominant Afrikaners. In 1896, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State formed an alliance, and in 1899 they declared war on Great Britain. The South African War (Boer War; 1899-1902) was won by the British.

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