The republic of South Africa is located one the southern-most
tip of Africa. It\'s bordered on the north by Namibia, Bostwana,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland; on the east and south by the
Indian Ocean; and on the west by the Atlantic ocean. South Africa
occupies a land area of about 1,221,037 sq km (471,445 sq mi). South
Africa\'s population almost reached 39 million people in 1991. South
Africa is a multiethnic, multiracial society comprised of 75.2% black
Africans, 13.6% whites, 8.6% are known as coloureds, and 2.6% are of
Asian decent. South Africa consists primarily of a great plateau, it
takes up approximately two-thirds of the country. It reaches its great
heights along the Drakensberg Mountains, a Mountain range that is part
of the Great Escapement. The Great escarpment separates the plateau
from the coastal areas of South Africa. There are three regions
distinguished in the plateau: The Highveld, the Bushveld, and the
Middleveld. The Highveld is characterized by mostly level or gently
rolling ground. The Highveld covers the majority of the plateau and is
mostly higher than 5000ft above sea level. The northern limit of the
highveld is marked by a great rock ridge called the Witwatersrand. The
city of Johannesburg is located here. North of the Highveld is the
Bushveld or as also referred to the Transvaal Basin. The Bushveld
averages some 4000ft in height. This veld is characterized by basins
and rock ridges which slope westerly toward the Limpopo River. The
Westernmost section of the plateau is known as the Middle Veld it too
slopes in a westerly direction and the average height is 3000ft. Between
the edge of the plateau and the eastern and southern coastline the
landscape descends towards the sea in a series of abrupt, steep drop
offs. There are also other Mountain Ranges in South Africa such as
the Swatberg mountain range, the Langerberg mountain range. South
Africa includes parts of two major deserts, in the northwest the Kalahari
Desert and a small section of the Namib Desert in the west. The major
rivers of South Africa are the Orange, Vaal, and Limpopo. The Orange
is the longest river in the country, it originates in Lesotho (a small
country located inside of South Africa). South Africa happens to enjoy
a mild yet temperate climate. Laden with moisture the Trade Winds
bring about 35 inches of rain yearly to the Eastern Lowveld, the Eastern
Uplands and as far west as the Drakensburg. The Highveld receives
about 15 to 30 inches of rain annualy. The amount of annual
precipitation decreases amazingly as you move west. On the western
coast the annual rain fall often goes as low as 2 inches. The extreme
Southwest receives 22 inches of rain annually, mostly because this
region is dominated by the western winds that originate over thee
Atlantic Ocean. The average daily temperature in January in Durban,
which is located on a low lying part of the northeastern coast is about
75 degrees Fahrenheit. The corresponding temperature in
Johannesburg, in the north central area is about 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
The average daily temp in January in Cape Town is about 69 degrees
Fahrenheit. The average daily July temperature in Durban is 62 degrees,
49 degrees in Johannesburg, and about 54 degrees in Cape Town.
As mentioned earlier South Africa is a multiethnic, multiracial
country. Comprised of Black Africans, Whites, Coloureds and Asians.
The income gap between blacks and whites is among the largest in the
world. The average household income for a white is more than 12
times that of the common black family. More than half the blacks in
South Africa live below the poverty line. In rural areas the living
standards gap is even larger. Due to residential segregation laws,
whites generally live in the center of major urban areas, relatively close
to the central business district, while blacks live in outlying townships.
Incomes from the poorest 40% of black South Africans decreased
significantly and steadily since 1975. Although on a better note the
number of wealthy blacks has increased since 1975. The official
languages of South Africa are Afrikaans and English. English is the
primary language for almost all whites and for some Asians and blacks.
Most blacks though speak or use a Bantu language. About four-fifths
of South Africans are Christians, mainly protestant. Most Asians come
from Hindu or Muslim decent. Blacks on the other hand belong to the
Dutch Reformed church, and most. South African whites who speak
English as their primary language belong to the Anglican,
Congregational, Methodist, or Roman Catholic churches. South Africa
has a Jewish community of some 120,000 members.


The mining industry