GEOGRAPHY: Area: 1,223,201 km ². Local Time: +5 h. Climate: tropical (mostly), Mediterranean (extreme south), tropical dry (NO), mountain (O). Capital: Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative), Bloemfontein (judicial). Cities: Johannesburg (3,225,812), Durban (3090122), Cape Town (2,893,247), Port Elizabeth (1005779), Pretoria (1985983), Soweto (858,649), Bloemfontein (111 698) (conurbations) (2010).

POPULATION: 47.2 million (2010); nationality: South African; composition: 70% indigenous ethnic groups (20.5% Zulus, chosas 18%, 9% pedis, Sotos 7%, 6% tsuanas, Tsongas 3.5 %, Swazi 2% nedebeles 2%, 2% sales), 12% Europeans (Dutch, German, French, English), eurafricanos 13%, Indian 3%, other 2% (1996). Languages: Afrikaans, English, Sepedi, sessoto, Setswana (officers, among others). Religion: Christian 83.1% (45.8% independent, Protestant 30.7%, other 20.2% - double parentage 13.6%), traditional beliefs 8.4%, other 6%, no religion and atheism 2 6% (2010).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Organizations: World Bank, the Commonwealth, IMF, WTO, UN, SADC, AU. Embassy: Tel (61) 312-9500, fax (61) 322-8491 - Brasília (DF), e-mail:, website:

GOVERNMENT: Republic presidential. Administrative Div: 9 provinces. President: Thabo Mbeki (ANC) (since 1999, reelected in 2004). Parties: African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom (IFP), New National Party (NNP). Legislative branch: bicameral - the National Assembly, with 350 to 400 members, the National Council of Provinces, with 90 members. Constitution: 1997.

Cut by the Tropic of Capricorn and bathed by the Atlantic and Indian oceans, South Africa is located in southern Africa. At the meeting of the oceans is the Cape of Good Hope, a strategic point of trade routes from Europe to the Middle XV.O century system of racial segregation (apartheid) ends with the first multiracial election in 1994, but leaves a legacy of social inequalities . After a decade of democratic experience, persisting high levels of poverty and crime among the black population - the main victims of the AIDS epidemic ravaging the país.Na economy, subsistence agriculture coexists with a modern industrial activity and mineral, which gives the country the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the continent. South Africa is the world's leading producer of gold and a leader in the extraction of diamonds. Tourism is important, with the attraction of wildlife reserves like the Kruger National Park, where they can be seen the so-called "big five": elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino.

Among the first inhabitants of the southernmost region of Africa are the Khoisan ethnic group populations. Europeans interested in establishing trade routes with the East, first hit the southern tip of the African coast in 1487, when the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias gets around the Cape of Storms, which then passes to be known as the Cape of Good Hope . The Portuguese did not establish positions of colonization, and in 1652, the Dutch East India Company deploys a permanent factory. The settlers also called Boers, are mostly of German and Dutch origin, until in 1806 the British annexed the Cape. In 1814, the region is formally into the hands of the British Crown, which conflicts with Boers and blacks. With the shocks, the Boers emigrated from 1834 to the northeast (Great Journey), which founded the Transvaal and Orange Free State, regions recognized as independent in the 1850s. Differences between the British and the Boers of the Transvaal, incited by the context of the gold rush, resulting in the Boer War (1899-1902), ending with the British victory.

Apartheid - in 1910 formed the Union of South Africa, been faithful to the British Crown. The white minority, composed of Afrikaners (another name for the Boers) and descendants of British, promulgated a series of laws that consolidate his power over the black population. The policy of racial segregation of apartheid (which means separation, in Afrikaans, a language created by the Dutch) is formalized in 1948 with the coming to power of the New National Party (NNP). Apartheid prevents the access of black land ownership and political participation and forces them to live in segregated residential areas. Marriage and sexual relations between people of different races becomes illegal. The opposition to apartheid takes shape in the 1950s, when the African National Congress (ANC), black organization established in 1912, launched a campaign of civil disobedience. In 1960, police killed 67 blacks participating in a demonstration. The Sharpeville Massacre, as is known, provokes protests in the country and abroad. As a result, the ANC is outlawed. Their leader, Nelson Mandela, was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to prison perpétua.No government of Prime Ministers Henrik Verwoerd (1958-1966) and BJ Vorster (1966-1978), the policy of apartheid worsens. A series of laws classifies and separates the black ethnic groups in an attempt to confine them in the tribal territories called bantustans. With the end of Portuguese colonial empire in Africa (1975) and the fall of white minority government in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe (1980), the white rule in South Africa is in crisis. In 1984 a popular uprising against apartheid compelled the government to declare martial law. The United Nations (UN) sanctions imposed on South Africa Cornered, President Pieter Botha promotes reforms, but retains the essential aspects of the racist regime. Growing worldwide movement for the release of Mandela.

The end of the Apartheid - With the inauguration of the President Frederik de Klerk in 1989, several changes occur. In 1990, Mandela is freed and the ANC recovers legality. De Klerk repeals the racial laws and initiate dialogue with the ANC. His policy is legitimized by an all-white referendum in 1992, where 69% of the voters speak out to end apartheid. Among blacks, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Zulu organization, political representation dispute with CNA.De Klerk and Mandela win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In April 1994, Nelson Mandela is elected president of South Africa in the first multiracial elections. The ANC wins 252 of 400 seats in the National Assembly. The alliance with the NNP, De Klerk, enables the country's first multiracial government. Then the Parliament adopted the Law on Land Rights, restoring properties to black families affected by the 1913 law, which will earmark 87% of the territory to the South African white minority.

New President - The 1999 parliamentary elections are won by the ANC, which forms coalition with the Minority Front party, ensuring two thirds of the National Assembly. Thabo Mbeki, vice president and successor to Mandela in the ANC leadership, assumes the presidency. The ANC gets about 60% of the vote in municipal elections in 2000, winning five of the six metropolitan areas of the country. Opposition wins in Cape Town.

Ten years after the end of the system of segregation, the country still shaken by old problems. In 2002, Wouter Basson - dubbed Dr. Death - is acquitted of 46 charges. Head of the national chemical and biological weapons under apartheid, was accused of murder, drug trafficking and fraud. The ANC condemns the decision. In the same year, Mbeki gives forgiveness to men convicted of 13 murders during the old regime, which leads to strong criticism.

Electoral victory - In April 2004, the ruling ANC gets a landslide victory in elections. Receives 69.7% of the votes for the National Assembly (passing from 266 to 279 seats in 400) and win the nine provincial governments, making the highest benches in the nine provincial assemblies. It is the largest historic vote ANC, which had received 64% of the vote in 1994 (the end of apartheid) and 66% in 1999. Then get the Democratic Alliance (liberal right, with strong white voters), with 12.4%, and Inkhata Freedom (based on minority Zulu), with 7%. A week later, the National Assembly re-elects Mbeki for a second presidential term, without oponentes.Em May, South Africa is chosen as the headquarters of the World Cup soccer in 2010. The announcement causes great party in the country and opens the possibility of important business.

Mandela's son dies of AIDS
In January 2005, Makgatho dies, son of former president Nelson Mandela. He announces that his son's death was caused by AIDS. Amidst the pain, Mandela seeks to draw the attention of the population to a redoubling of care against the spread of doença.Com 5.3 million infected in late 2003, South Africa is the country with the largest number of patients HIV, the AIDS virus, according to a report of the United Nations (UN) published in December 2004. The epidemic affects 11.7% of the population and 27.9% of pregnant women. The number of children orphaned by AIDS reached 1.1 million. The UN projections indicate that the disease will cause a reduction of 18 years in life expectancy of the population between 2000 and 2010.Genéricos A decisive step in the reduction of public spending on AIDS was given in 2001. The government won the diplomatic and legal battle against multinational pharmaceutical companies to produce generic drugs for AIDS - cheaper and similar to those patented. With generics, the annual cost of drugs per infected person falls from $ 3800 to $ 575. Even so, experts kept their criticism of official policy against AIDS in the country, because government agencies ignored several drugs, and officials, including President Mbeki himself, cast doubt that the disease was caused by HIV. In late 2001, the High Court decides that infected pregnant should receive anti-AIDS drugs to protect infants. In 2002, the Constitutional Court ordered the President to provide drugs to public hospitals. The government finally does a great setback in 2003, accepting distribute anti-retroviral drugs to Aids patients. The epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa South Africa is the most visible part of the drama that affects most African countries south of the Sahara, which total more than 25 million HIV-infected, 64% of the planet. The predominant form of infection is heterosexual relationships.