How well do you really know our dear country 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’s a list of some facts about South Africa that you might not know.

10. South Africa is the first, and to date only country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme.

Today, nearly three decades after the Cold War ended, there are still 23,000 nuclear warheads in the world. They are held by just nine countries: the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Since the end of the Cold War, South Africa has unilaterally dismantled its nuclear weapons and is the only country to do so.


9. South Africa has the world’s second most transparent budget.

South Africa ranks second 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, standing out as one of only six countries worldwide that releases extensive budget information to the legislature and the public in general.

8. 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 )

With a range of laws and legal to protect the borrower and the lender, South Africa has consistently performed well against the other 185 countries that took part in the survey.

7. The University of South Africa is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is the largest correspondence university in the world (Unisa)
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.

6. Since the 1940s, South African golfers have won more golf majors than any other nation, apart from the United States (South African Golf Association).
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.

Golf - 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Day Four - St Andrews

5. South Africa has 45 million active cellphones (population 49 million) – ranking in the top 5 globally in terms of mobile phone coverage. 

It should come as no surprise that the country that invented touch tone dialling offers world-class telecommunications. Today, more South Africans use cell phones than radio, television and personal computers.

4. Table Mountain alone has over 1,500 species of plants, more than the entire United Kingdom. (Lark Tours)

We all know that the Cape Floral Region represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa, but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora but the tiny area of Table Mountain has more plants than 4 countries.


3. South Africa has the third highest level of biodiversity in the world.

With two oceans, the country’s topography and prevailing winds, South Africa creates an environment has everything from; lush forests to savannah and desert. Only Brazil and Argentina beat us on this on.

2. South Africa has the second oldest film industry in the world (Set Build)
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 of the President of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger, leaving his house for the Raadzaal. The favourable exchange rate, good weather conditions, varied locations and world-class production facilities have made South Africa a preferred destination for international film, television and commercial producers.

1. South Africa has the most official languages in the world (Guinness World Records)

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.

Read also : Top 5 South Africans that would make a better President than Zuma.