- How did the valuable present from South Africa get to England?
- What animal is the symbol of South Africa?
- How many years can the African giant plant live?
- Why is the flag of South Africa so colourful?
- What measures do the authorities take to save endangered animals?
- How many names has the country got?
- Why was state power divided between three places?
A. The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa and is washed by the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. It is sometimes called the ‘Rainbow Nation’, because there are so many different languages and various cultural traditions. The ‘Rainbow Nation’ includes 38 million black South Africans, 5 million whites, 3.5 million people of mixed race and 1.5 million people of Asian origin. The colours of the rainbow can now be seen in South Africa flag.
B. Unlike most other countries around the world, South Africa has not one but three capital cities. More precisely, the government branches are divided among three major South African cities: Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein. When creating the state, it was decided that if the government was in one place, that place could have more influence and political control.
C. The majority of the population can speak and understand English which is the language of business, politics and the media in South Africa. Most citizens know three or more languages. In total, there are eleven official languages in South Africa. So there are eleven official names for the country, one for each different language.
D. Today South Africa maintains its position as a major diamond producer. The largest diamond, Cullinan, was found in 1905. The Government decided to present the diamond to King Edward VII as a birthday present. However, it was a problem to find a safe way to deliver such an expensive diamond to London. It was decided to place a fake diamond on a steamboat to attract those who would be interested in stealing it. The actual diamond was sent to England in a plain box via parcel post, though registered!
E. It is a sad truth but the African rhinos are in danger. Though using rhino horns for medicine has been illegal since 1993, this hasn’t stopped people killing this rare animal simply for the horn. To prevent rhino extinction, their horns are covered with a special toxin that does not harm the animal. But it is designed in such a way that any product (powder, tea or cream) that is made from the poisoned horn will taste bitter or will cause burns. It will also show itself in airport scanners.
F. Baobabs, the largest trees in the world, grow in South Africa. They live up to 5 thousand years and reach a trunk diameter of 25 meters! Baobab is called ‘The Tree of Life’. It provides food, water, and shelter to people, animals, and birds. All the parts of the baobab are used for different purposes. For example, its fruit, called ‘monkey bread’, is edible, and full of vitamin C.