10 Facts about South Africa
South Africa is one of Africa’s choicest countries that is spearheading development in the continent. The country which had been an apartheid country, recently hosted the FIFA world cup in 2010 but there are many other fascinating facts about South Africa. Here are 10 amazing and fun facts about South Africa which you probably did not know.
The country is the first, and up till date, the only country to build its own nuclear weapons and to voluntarily dismantle its nuclear weapons programme. There is no other country in history that has done so. The warheads was to be delivered by aircraft and the ICBM missles - the missiles were to be based on the RSA-3 and RSA-4 launchers that had already been built and tested for the South African space programme.
Most diverse fossils of early dinosaurs
The Karoo region in the Western Cape of South Africa is home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs. In fact, it is estimated that some 80% of the mammalian fossils found to date were found in the Karoo. In southern Africa, rocks of the Karoo Supergroup cover almost two-thirds of the present land surface, including central Cape Province, almost all of Orange Free State, western Natal, much of south-east Transvaal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Second largest producer of fruits
South Africa is the second largest fruit producers in the entire world. The optimal climatic condition of the country has made it possible to support quite a large range and species of fruits. South Africa seems to be well-balanced climatically and apart from the fruit depot of the world, SA is ranked first in the world for its floral kingdom and is home to the world’s smallest succulent plants (less than 10 mm) and the largest (the baobab).
World's first heart transplant
It should be noted that the very first world’s heart transplant was done in South Africa and that was on 3rd December, 1967. It was performed on Louis Washkansky at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town South Africa. The nine-hour operation began at 1 a.m. when surgeons removed the heart of 25-year-old Denise Darvall, who had very recently been fatally injured in a car accident. The procedure was performed by Christiaan Barnard.
The Palace of the Lost City is the world’s largest themed resort hotel in the world and is located in South Africa. The palace is surrounded by a 25 hectare man-made botanical jungle with almost 2 million plants, trees and shrubs in existence. It is a must see for anyone with plans of visiting South Africa.
South Africa is extremely rich in mining and minerals and considered the world’s leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth and the top ranked gold producing country producing around 41% of all the world’s Gold.
Coal to Oil Technology
South Africa is the first country to develop an unimaginably rare coal-to-oil technology. Due to the aftermath of the second world war, SA was struggling economically, and oil was hard to access, so due to SA’s vast coal reserves, they decided to research on how to turn coal into oil. And now, it’s one of the biggest companies in SA (Sasol).
There are more than 2500 shipwrecks off the South African coast, most dating back at least 500 years. From the days when Portuguese explorers rounded the Cape in their wooden galleons to modern-day shipping, the aptly named “Cape of Storms” has claimed many a vessel. All in all, researchers have documented more than 2 500 wrecks along the South African coastline since 1500 – hundreds of these in the waters off the Western Cape – but believe many more await discovery in their watery graves.
Nobel Peace Prize winners on the same street?
South Africa is the only country where a street has produced two Nobel price winners in history. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had houses on the street of Vilakazi located in Soweto. The Nobel Peace Prize 1993 was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”. Archbishop Mpilo Desmond Tutu was the first Black Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Well recognised Monarchy
The country’s status is well-regarded as a democratic republic, but the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has a monarchy system of government that is specially provided for by the Constitution. Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu is the King of the Zulu Nation, has 27 kids and 6 wives.