South Africa info

South Africa

    • Full name: The Republic of South Africa
    • Population: 49,052,489
    • Capital: Pretoria (administrative capital), Cape Town (legislative capital), Bloemfontein (judicial capital)
    • Area: 1,219,090 sq km (slightly less than twice the size of Texas)
    • Major languages: 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa and Zulu
    • Major religions: Zion Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Catholic 7.1%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1% (2001 census)
    • Monetary unit: Rand =  0.134 US dollar
    • People: black African 79%, white 9.6%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5% (2001 census)

Reading Suggestions for South Africa:

Reading good books about the areas you’re visiting tends to make your trip much fuller and more rewarding. As weight on light aircraft is limited, you might consider reading the thickest books before you leave for your trip!
The major country-specific guidebooks (i.e., Lonely Planet, Rough Guide) tend to offer a good overview of the country’s history. One of the best resources for travel books is Longitude Books ( They organize books by country/region, which makes it easy to see what is available.

Many books will give you insight into South Africa. Here are just a few suggestions:

South Africa has a wealth of books covering all kinds of topics as well as rich movie heritage spanning many decades. Too many recommendations to list here! We encourage you to explore Longitude’s site to find books under specific topics of interest to you and if you’re flying through Johannesburg, the airport has a couple of bookstores with a great selection of books and that are sometimes hard to find here in the US. For those interested in the life of Nelson Mandela and politics, take a look at his book titled The Long Walk to Freedom.

Some film suggestions: Invictus, Cry the Beloved Country, Sarafina, A Place of Weeping, Yesterday, Disgrace, Tsotsi, District 9