How well do you really know South Africa? You may know that the only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prize-winners is in Soweto and that we have three capital cities. However, here are my top 10 facts about South Africa that you might not know.
At number 10 on TOP 10 facts about South Africa that you might not know: South Africa is the first, and to date only country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme.
o Today, nearly three decades after the Cold War ended, there are still 23,000 nuclear warheads in the world. Since the end of the Cold War, South Africa has unilaterally dismantled its nuclear weapons and is the only country to do so.
• Number 9 is: South Africa has the world’s second most transparent budget (Deloitte, 2012)
o Out of 100 countries for the transparency and accountability of its budget processes, according to the latest Open Budget Index Survey by the Washington-based International Budget Partnership. South Africa scored 90 points out of a possible 100 points in the Open Budget Index report of 2012, standing out as one of only six countries worldwide that releases extensive budget information to the legislature and the public in general.
• On the Top 10 list at number 8 it’s: SA is ranked second out of 183 countries for good practice in protecting both borrowers and lenders when obtaining credit for business (World Bank Doing Business Report 2013).
• Number 7 is: The University of South Africa is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is the largest correspondence university in the world (Unisa)
o Founded in 1873 as the University of the Cape of Good Hope, Unisa became the first public university in the world to teach exclusively by means of distance education in 1946. Today, the university has approximately 300,000 students.
• Coming in at number 6 on the TOP 10 facts about South Africa that you might not know: Since the 1940s, South African golfers have won more golf majors than any other nation, apart from the United States (South African Golf Association)
o With golfers like Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel, it’s little wonder why South Africa has been so successful in the world of golfing. Gary Player alone has won nine majors and 24 PGA Tour wins.
• We’re halfway through the Top 10 list …. At Number 5 is: South Africa has 45 million active cell phones (population 49 million) – ranking in the top 5 globally in terms of mobile phone coverage. (Deloitte, 2012)
• Number 4 is: Table Mountain alone has over 1,500 species of plants, more than the entire United Kingdom. (Lark Tours)
o In fact Table Mountain is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora and has more plants than 4 countries.
• At number 3 on The Top 10 list is: South Africa has the third highest level of biodiversity in the world
o Only Brazil and Argentina beat us on this on.
• Coming in at number 2 on the top 10 list is: South Africa has the second oldest film industry in the world (Set Build)
o Only the USA created a film industry before South Africa. In 1898 The Empire Palace of Varieties in Commissioner Street, Johannesburg, first screened films of views of Johannesburg taken from the front of a tram.
• And at number 1 on the TOP 10 facts about South Africa that you might not know: South Africa has the most official languages in the world (Guiness World Records)
o South Africa has 11 official languages: English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Setswana, Sepedi, Xitsonga, siSwati, isiNdebele and Tshivenda. Although India has 18 languages recognised by its constitution and can be considered as official, each language is recognised as the official language of a certain area e.g Kashmiri in Kashmir.