South Africa – Part 1: All About the Country with three Capitals

South Africa! The only country in the world to have three capital cities, Pretoria, Cape Town and Bloemfontein; a country with the world’s biggest hospital, Chris Hani – Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, the largest timed cycle race in the world, the longest wine route in the world and highest commercial bungee jump in the world. We are also the world’s largest producer of macadamia nuts, of mohair and of gold, platinum, chromium and other precious metals.

Located on the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa’s beauty is reflected through the smiles of friendly faces, the melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and the complex history that has shaped it. 

We are a country known for its breath-taking stunning natural landscape, and wildlife that captivates the hearts of tourist around the world. They are rarely disappointed as the country showcases a beautiful blend of beaches, mountains and forests, and the sunsets that would bring a tear to your eyes. South Africa is a photographers dream!

The country is home to Nelson Mandela, a political icon whose influence is unmatched and whose is the “forgiveness’’personified, and whose profound wise words reverberate throughout the world. His work has built the country and is the reason we enjoy the freedoms of democracy in the country to this very day. He is known to us as the Father of the Nation.  

The Constitution of South Africa is a significant accomplishment in today’s world of modern politics and diplomacy. Our constitution has high merit in all respects, which is agreed upon by all other nations and it is often been considered exemplary in international forums. South Africa enjoys a relatively stable mixed economy that draws on its fertile agricultural lands, abundant mineral resources, tourist attractions, and highly evolved intellectual capital. however, this does not necessarily mean social tranquility. 

South Africa has many facets that make it unique. Like a coin however, there is always a flipside. The country is riddled with many complex problems and challenges. These includes exceedingly high crime rates, ethnic tensions, and disparities in housing and educational opportunities and now the unprecedented and swift hard lock down since COVID-19 pandemic. The country is known to have amongst the highest levels of inequality in the world when measured by the commonly used Gini index.

On March 28, 2020, South Africa went into lockdown for the first time in its history. This amplified the plethora of challenges which were already faced by many communities. The government was instantly recognised across the world for taking the tough steps necessary to “flatten the curve” and keep infections low. In the months to follow, the numbers plateaued but not without resounding negative effects left in the wake of pandemic. Large groups of households were met with devastating hardships. Statistics show that first week of the lockdown, 87 000 cases reported of Gender-based violence, and around 2 000 000 women lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which lead to dire consequences for household food security and hunger. The suspension of the national school nutrition program, which usually reached approximately 9 600 000 children, stifled the provision of a consistent daily supply of meals to children which exacerbated the problem.

The response by government was neither wide nor deep enough to overcome the devastating implications of job or income losses on household and aid food insecurity. Furthermore, gaps in government responses emerged. Administrative challenges in expanding social assistance and social insurance delayed the provision of relief to some households.

This is where the Impact Week team jumped in!

To be continued…