Hero and role model
Among all the new sights and sounds of Johannesburg, the attention of two teenagers is drawn by the bronze statue of their hero and role model, Nelson Mandela.
Free healthcare for all but…
Basic medical care is free in South Africa, which has a sophisticated public healthcare system in the major towns and cities. However, hospitals in poor areas tend to be overcrowded and services remain inferior in these and in rural locations.
‘Rainbow Nation’ of diversity
South Africa is often called the ‘Rainbow Nation’, a term which was coined by the former Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, and neatly describes the country’s multicultural diversity.
South Africa is renowned for its stunning landscapes. With ochre-coloured deserts and large savannahs, verdant rainforests and wetlands and long stretches of rugged coastline and beaches, visitors are drawn by the country’s natural beauty.
Economy has strengthened
After experiencing difficult times during the sanctions and isolation of the apartheid era, South Africa’s economy has strengthened since 1994, posting average annual growth of around 3.5% over the past decade.
Education marks the divide
South Africa is sometimes said to possess both first and third-world societies.
The well-educated are able to take advantage of the country’s growing economy. But for those with a low level of educational attainment, prospects are bleak.
A huge divide
Average life expectancy in South Africa is 54, though there is a great divide in the standard of living and health among the country's 50 million people.
A bead lamp is just one of many expertly-crafted goods made and sold by street sellers in Soweto. Basetsana and Precious discover what else is on sale.
Fish, meat and maize
With the warm climate and outdoor lifestyle, it’s no wonder South Africans love braai or barbecue. Along the Western coastal areas, grilled crayfish and snoek (a large oily fish) are popular. South Africans also love their meat and where affordable enjoy lamb, steak, chicken, sosaties (kebabs) and boerewors (sausages).
Deserts, rainforests, mountains…
South Africa’s varied geography has diverse habitats, including deserts, savannahs, rainforests, mangroves, wetlands and mountain regions.
'The sky's the limit'
Two 22 year-old men talk about their future plans and aspirations. There are many opportunities available to young people growing up in South Africa, but there are also still many challenges and obstacles.
Explore South Africa
Explore a map of South Africa. Find out more about the most important places in South Africa
Painful history of Apartheid
They’d read about it in schoolbooks - the era when white men beat black schoolchildren with canes to discourage them from taking part in the riots against apartheid. But Basetsana (15) and Precious (14) had never seen film of it before.
'A place to call home' and 'The importance of family'
After a lesson on filming, some of the children at the SOS Children’s Village in South Africa spilt into two groups, and created their very own films.
Team A and team B created films on topics that have affected their lives, in one way or another.
Sunny South Africa
Lying halfway between the Equator and the Antarctic, much of South Africa enjoys a temperate climate. With its warm weather and long hours of sunshine, it’s sometimes referred to as ‘sunny South Africa’.
South Africa has a large agricultural sector with wine being the most profitable.
The anti-apartheid movement
Two teenagers visit a memorial in Soweto where a display photograph shows a father carrying his dead child in his arms. This picture became an emblem of the anti-apartheid movement.
Hi, we're Basetsana and Precious!
Welcome to South Africa! Click on this image to find out what we’ve been up to around Johannesburg, such as learning more about South Africa's history, especially apartheid and our hero, Nelson Mandela.
We live in a brilliant country where there are many opportunities if you can get a good education.
A valuable skill
Mama Rosa makes shoes in one of the communities bordering the SOS Children’s Village. SOS Children paid for training to help Mama Rosa learn this skill.
Tables turned on journalist
The Sunday Times’ foreign correspondent in South Africa is himself subjected to an interview by our two ‘reporters’, who find out what it’s like to be a journalist. They’re outside Nelson Mandela’s home in Johannesburg at a time when Mr Mandela has just returned from hospital treatment. Everyone is holding their breath that he will be ok.