South Africans as a nation are good at the extraordinary, it’s the ordinary that we are not so good at.

South Africa: the Good News

‘Good at the extraordinary but not so good at the ordinary’  is a quote from Albie Sachs, the retired Constitutional Court Judge and former activist in the freedom movement.  South Africa always gets notoriously bad press. I think I can safely say that the majority of my guests who have never been to South Africa before and have been warned in particular about the dangers of Johannesburg (from not leaving their hotel/guesthouse to not making eye contact  with people in the streets if they do go out), leave with a completely different impression.

Here are some random facts about SA taken from SA The Good News (the name is self-explanatory):

  • In 2006 SA’s tourism grew at three times the global average. The number of tourists to SA grew from 3 million in 1994 to 9 million in 2007 (Dept of Environment and Tourism)
  • There are 39 million cell phone users in SA (International Telecommunication Union)
  • SA is the 2nd country in the world to host the Cricket, Rugby and Soccer World Cups (No guesses for who is the 1st country?)
  • This is my best … The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace pirze winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both had houses in Vilikazi St, Orlando West.
  • In 2007 Cyril Ramaphosa was included in the TIME 100 list of the 100 most influential people and in 2009 William Kentridge and Jacob Zuma were included.
  • South Africa has the world’s largest deposits of gold, chromium, platinum and manganese.
  • The Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent.
  • The Cango Caves near Oudsthoorn is the world’s longest underground cave sequence.
  • Not only does SA have one of the 6 floral kingdoms of the world, but it is the smallest and richest per area unit. Of the 9000 species of plants, known as fynbos, around 6200 are endemic i.e. do not occur anywhere else in the world. The area stretches in a 100-200 km wide coastal belt from Clanwilliam on the West coast to Port Elizabeth on the Southeast coast.
  • SA has the oldest meteor scar in the in the world (2 billion years) at the Vredefort Dome in the Free State.
  • Gauteng is SA’s smallest province but produces 34% of SA’s GDP (Stats SA)
  • Tax revenue in SA has increased by 220% over the past 10 years
  • Since 1994, 500 houses have been built each day for the poor [Comment from Liz – still way below the needs]
  • SA is the 35th best place in the world to do e-business according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2007 E-Readiness Report
  • South Africa’s Rand is the second best-performing emerging market currency of the 26 monitored by Bloomberg in 2009
  • South Africa ranks second worldwide in terms of the transparency surrounding its budgets – just behind the United Kingdom, tie with France, and ahead of New Zealand and the United States – according to the Open Budget Index
  • Ghandi’s notion of passive resistance (Satyagraha) was developed while he lived in South Africa
  • Since the 1940s  SA golfers have won more golf majors than any other nation, apart from the US.
  • UNISA is the world’s largest correspondence University with 250,000 students.
  • The first MBA programme outside of the United States was started by the University of Pretoria in 1949.
  • SA is the first, and to date only, country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear arms programme.

For more facts go to

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