South Africa People, Population, Religion and Nationality


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South Africa People

Browse the information below for demographic information on South Africa, including population, religion, nationality and more. If you do not find the South Africa information you need on the people page, check out our complete listing on the South Africa Country Page.

  • South Africa Geography
  • South Africa Government
  • South Africa Economy
  • South Africa History

    Nationality: Noun and adjective--South African(s).
    Annual growth rate (2000): 1.5%.
    Population (2001, 44.6 million): Composition--black 77.8%; white 10.2%; colored 8.7%; Asian (Indian) 2.5%; other 0.8.5%.
    Languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu (all official languages).
    Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish.
    Education: Years compulsory--7-15 years of age for all children. The South African Schools Act, Act 84 of 1996, passed by Parliament in 1996, aims to achieve greater educational opportunities for black children, mandating a single syllabus and, more equitable funding for schools.
    Health (official): Infant mortality rate (1998)--45.4 per live births. Estimates from international organizations range from 50 to 60 per live births. Life expectancy--54 yrs. women; 52 yrs. men.

    People of South Africa
    Until 1991, South African law divided the population into four major racial categories: Africans (black), whites, coloreds, and Asians. Although this law has been abolished, many South Africans still view themselves and each other according to these categories. Africans comprise about 78% of the population and are divided into a number of different ethnic groups. Whites comprise about 10% of the population. They are primarily descendants of Dutch, French, English, and German settlers who began arriving at the Cape in the late 17th century. Coloreds are mixed-race people primarily descending from the earliest settlers and the indigenous peoples. They comprise about 9% of the total population. Asians descend from Indian workers brought to South Africa in the mid-19th century to work on the sugar estates in Natal. They constitute about 3% of the population and are concentrated in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.

    Education is in a state of flux. Under the apartheid system schools were segregated, and the quantity and quality of education varied significantly across racial groups. Although the laws governing this segregation have been abolished, the long and arduous process of restructuring the country's educational system is just beginning. The challenge is to create a single nondiscriminatory, nonracial system that offers the same standards of education to all people.


  • South Africa Geography
  • South Africa Government
  • South Africa Economy
  • South Africa History