South Africa, as the name reflects, is located on the far southern tip of the African continent.

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South Africa, as the name reflects, is located on the far southern tip of the African continent. It is surrounded by water on three sides: in the south and in the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and in the east by the Indian Ocean. Neighboring countries are Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, and Lesotho. The form of government is a presidential democracy. South Africa has three capitals: Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein. The country is 1,219,080 square kilometers. The population (in 2009) was 49.1 million people. GDP in 2009 was $495.1 billion, with per capita income at $10,100.
South Africa is known as the "Rainbow Nation," a title that reflects its cultural diversity and the fact that the country's population is one of the most diverse and complex ones in the world. Of the total population, about 31 million are Black, 5 million White, 3 million Coloured, and 1 million Indian. The Black population covers four major ethnic groups consisting of Nguni, Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga, and Venda. There are a number subgroups; the Zulu and Xhosa are the largest subgroups of the Nguni. The majority of the White population has Afrikaans roots, and 40 percent are of British descent. In South Africa eleven official languages are spoken.
The most significant characteristic of South Africa's modern history was apartheid, a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the Nationalist Party between 1948 and 1994, under which the rights of the majority nonwhite population were curtailed in all avenues of life. Apartheid sparked significant tension and violence internally as well as a UN trade embargo against South Africa. A series of popular uprisings and protests were met with the banning of opposition and imprisonment of anti-apartheid leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.
Reforms to apartheid in the 1980s failed to quell the mounting opposition, and in 1990 President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid, culminating in multiracial democratic elections in 1994, which were won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela.
One feature of post-apartheid South Africa was the program Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) designed to redress the inequalities of apartheid by giving previously disadvantaged groups (Black Africans, Coloureds, Indians, and Chinese) economic opportunities previously not available to them. It has included measures such as employment equity; skills development; ownership, management, and socioeconomic development; and preferential procurement.
The 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament put South Africa on the international stage and provided significant economic stimulus, with more than 160,000 net new jobs created. An economist of the German Standard Bank said: "The World Championship 2010 is an important impulse for the South African people. Many people doubted that South Africa would be able to host an event of such international attention, but its stable political situation under the government of the African National Congress, which Nelson Mandela was a member of, is a good sign for potential investors and the finance market." In advance of the games, South Africa invested heavily in transportation infrastructure. South Africa finished most of the first section of their new high-speed Gautrain passenger railway and installed new bus lines. Highways have been upgraded, and the city of Durban managed to complete South Africa's first new greenfield airport in 50 years. The infrastructure projects are creating employment opportunities and are providing workers long-term skills and training. One of many challenges in building the infrastructure for the World Championship was generating power without an unduly adverse environmental impact. Environmentally friendly features such as natural ventilation and rain water capture systems were used in the new stadium facilities.
Despite these developments and improvements, South Africa is still plagued by severe social problems such as pervasive poverty, lack of infrastructure in Black African areas, AIDS, crime, and corruption.
Although South Africa is a transactional culture, meaning they do not require a history with people in order to do business with them, they are a personable people that have deeply rooted traditions. This means it is a good idea to build a rapport with them before doing business as well as furnish counterparts with some background information about oneself or company. South Africans follow the European approach to personal space, meaning people keep their distance when speaking and interacting in the public space.www.southafrica.info, www.kwintessential.co.uk 


Questions
1. In what way could the huge cultural diversity in South Africa pose challenges for MNCs seeking to set up a business there?
2. How is South African culture different from or similar to U.S. culture?
3. In what ways could South Africa benefit from hosting the World Cup in the long term?
4. What do you think are the most pressing social issues in South Africa and how is the country doing in resolving them? South Africa, as the name reflects, is located on the far south

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