South African Geography

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South African Geography

South Africa is located at the southernmost region of Africa, with a long coastline that stretches more than 2,500 kilometres (1,550 mi) and across two oceans the Atlantic and the Indian). At 470,979 sq mi (1,219,912 km²), south Africa is the world's 25th-largest country (after Mali). it is comparable in size to Colombia. Njesuthi in the Drakensberg at 3,408 m (11,424 ft) is the highest peak in South Africa.

South Africa has a generally temperate climate, due in part to it being surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides, by its location in the climatically milder
outhern hemisphere and due to the average elevation rising steadily towards the north towards the equator) and further inland. Due to this varied topography and oceanic influence, a great variety of climatic zones exist.

The climatic zones vary, from the extreme desert of the southern Namib in the farthest northwest to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the Mozambique border and the Indian ocean. From the east, the land quickly rises over a mountainous escarpment towards the interior plateau known as the Highveld. even though South Africa is classified as semi-arid, there is considerable variation in climate as well as topography. The interior of South Africa is a vast, rather flat, and sparsely populated crubland, Karoo, which is drier towards the northwest along the Namib desert. in contrast, the eastern coastline is lush and well-watered, which produces a climate similar to the tropics. The extreme southwest has a climate remarkably similar to that of the Mediterranean with wet winters and hot, dry summers, hosting the famous Fynbos iome. This area also produces much of South Africa's wine. This region is also particularly known for its wind, which blows intermittently almost all year.

The severity of this wind made passing around the Cape of Good Hope particularly treacherous for sailors, causing many shipwrecks. Further east on the country's south coast, rainfall is distributed more evenly throughout the year, producing a green landscape. This area is popularly known as the Garden Route.

The Free State is particularly flat due to the fact that it lies centrally on the high plateau. North of the Vaal River, the Highveld becomes better watered and does not experience subtropical extremes of heat. Johannesburg, in the centre of the highveld, is at 1,740 metres (5,709 ft) and receives an annual rainfall of 760 millimetres
30 in). Winters in this region are cold, although snow is rare.

To the north of Johannesburg, the altitude drops beyond the Highveld's escarpment, and turns into the lower lying Bushveld, an area of mixed dry forest and an abundance of wildlife. East of the Highveld, beyond the eastern escarpment, the Lowveld stretches towards the Indian ocean. It has particularly high temperatures, and is also the location of extended subtropical agriculture. The mountains of the Barberton Greenstone belt on the lowveld are the oldest mountains on Earth, dating back 3.5 Billion years. The earliest reliable proof of life (dated 3.2–3.5 Billion years old) has been found on these mountains.

The high Drakensberg mountains, which form the south-eastern escarpment of the Highveld, offer limited skiing opportunities in winter.The coldest place in South Africa is futherland in the western Roggeveld Mountains, where midwinter temperatures can reach as low as -15 degrees Celsius (5 °F). The deep interior has the hottest temperatures: A temperature of 51.7 °C (125 °F) was recorded in 1948 in the Northern Cape Kalahari near Upington.

7: South African agriculture:

South Africa has a large agricultural sector and is a net exporter of farming products. here are almost a thousand agricultural cooperatives and agribusinesses throughout the country, and agricultural exports have constituted 8% of South Africa's total exports for the past five years. The agricultural industry contributes around 10% of formal
Employment, relatively low compared to other parts of Africa, as well as providing work for casual labourers and contributing around 2.6% of GDP for the nation. However, due to the aridity of the land, only 13.5% can be used for crop production, and only 3% is considered high potential land.

Although the commercial farming sector is relatively well developed, people in some rural areas still survive on subsistence agriculture. It is the eighth largest wine producer in the world, and the eleventh largest producer of sunflower seed. South Africa is a net exporter of Agricultural products and foodstuffs, the largest number of exported items being sugar, grapes, citrus, nectarines, wine and deciduous fruit. The largest locally produced crop is maize (corn), and it has been estimated that 9 billion tons are produced every year, with 7.4 million tons being consumed. Livestock are also popular on South African farms, with the country producing 5% of all meat consumed. The dairy industry consists of around 4,300 milk producers providing employment for 60,000 farm workers and contributing to the livelihoods of around 40,000 others.

In recent years, the agricultural sector has introduced several reforms, some of which are controversial, such as land reform and the deregulation of the market for agricultural products. Land reform has been criticised both by farmers' groups and by landless workers, the latter alleging that the pace of hange has not been fast enough, and the former alleging racist treatment and expressing concerns that a similar situation to Zimbabwe's land reform policy may develop,[19] a fear exacerbated by comments made by the country's deputy president. The sector continues to face problems, with increased foreign competition and crime being two of the major challenges for the industry. The government has been accused of not devoting enough time and money to tackle the problem of farm attacks as opposed to other forms of violent crime.

Another issue which affects South African agriculture is environmental damage caused by misuse of the land and global climate change. South Africa is unusually vulnerable to climate change and resultant diminution of surface laters. Some predictions shows surface water supply could decrease by 60% by the year 2070 in parts of the Western Cape.[23] To reverse the damage caused by land 8: Role of media in South Africa: south Africa has a large, free, and active press that regularly challenges the government, a habit formed during the apartheid era when the press was the medium least controlled by the government. Major scandals have erupted when the press reported harges of corruption that were proven to be true in cases such as that of Schabir Shaik, on which (then) deputy president Jacob Zuma was implicated, and the corruption allegations what led to the dismissal of Winnie Mandela from parliament. Even though South Africa now as the most sophisticated media network in Africa, it was one of the last countries in the world to allow television, with colour TV broadcasts only commencing in 1975. By the and of apartheid in 1994, television networks covered all urban areas and some less populated areas, while radio networks covered almost all of the country.

During the Apartheid era the majority of commercial and all public-service radio stations and all of the television channels were operated by the South African Broadcasting
orporation (SABC), and were subject to strict control and censorship by the government, with a few independent regional stations allowed. The creation of the independent
lack homelands (or Bantustans) in the 1970s allowed for the establishment of TV and radio stations outside of the control of the apartheid Government. Following the demise of apartheid, the broadcasting industry was deregulated with many of the commercial regional SABC radio stations and former Bantustan stations privatised and
old to companies and consortia that were majority-owned by black people. Three SABC Television channels are in place at present.

An African language channel was introduced to the SABC in 1981 (during apartheid) with a second African language channel added later in the decade. The SABC's Television monopoly was eventually challenged in 1986 when a new privately owned subscription television network, M-Net, was launched. However M-Net was not licenced to operate a news service.

South Africa currently has two terrestrial free-to-air television networks SABC and e.tv, one subscription based terrestrial network, M-Net, as well as two Satellite television services, DStv, operated by M-Net's owners, Multichoice and Vivid, operated by the state-owned signal distributor Sentech. e.tv is licenced to operate an independent television news service. DStv broadcasts local and international news and entertainment channels Africa-wide via satellite. More recently Stv and e.tv announced a joint venture to provide a 24 hour news channel from 2008 that will be distributed through the DStv platform

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