On dry land, going from west to east, South Africa shares long borders with Namibia and Botswana, touches Zimbabwe, has a longitudinal strip of border with Mozambique to the east, and lastly curves in around Swaziland before re-joining Mozambique's southern border.
In the interior, nestled in the curve of the bean-shaped Free State, is the small mountainous country of Lesotho, completely surrounded by South African territory.
South Africa is a medium-sized country, with a total land area of slightly more than 1.2-million square kilometres. South Africa measures about 1 600km from north to south, and roughly the same from east to west.
The country has nine provinces, which vary considerably in size. The smallest is tiny and crowded Gauteng, a highly urbanised region, and the largest the vast, arid and empty Northern Cape, which takes up almost a third of South Africa's total land area. There are 11 official languages, including English, Afrikaans and Zulu.
South Africa has three capitals:
The largest and most important city is Johannesburg, the economic heartland of the country. Other important centres include Durban and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu- Natal, and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.
Between 200 000 and 100 000 years ago, modern humans began to evolve throughout Africa – including South Africa. In the year 700 A.D. the African kingdom of Mapungubwe was formed and began trading with India, Arabia and China.,
In 1652, the Dutch set up a ship-refuelling station at Cape Town – an important stop both geographically and politically. Over the next 200 years, various waves of other European and Indian settlers also arrived. The Dutch, British and the French, fought for control of the Cape, with the British finally triumphant in 1806. Dutch Boers prepared to trek into the hinterland to escape British rule.
The late 1800s saw the discovery of South Africa’s immense gold and diamond wealth, and later, the great platinum finds. The 20th century saw the end of the South African War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War), which was fought from 1899 to 1902, followed by the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
Apartheid was a nearly 50-year period of institutionalised racism and the suppression of non-whites, during which the African National Congress (ANC) was banned and its leaders, including Nelson Mandela, banished to prison on Robben Island. The unbanning of the ANC in 1990, the release of Mandela and the 1994 democratic elections heralded the birth of the new South Africa.
South Africa is emerging as one of the world's most exciting study destinations, confirmed by the rapidly increasing number of international students. Because of international exchange rates, South Africa offers real educational value for relatively low education fees.
South Africa's entire educational system is in the process of being redesigned for the post-apartheid future, by incorporating small universities into larger educational institutions. The result of this process will be a better, more efficient educational infrastructure.
Find the best information about what to expect when studying in top cities in South Africa. Read about degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.
South Africa has both public and private universities. Public universities can be:
Private universities usually provide vocational courses.
Most universities teach in English, although some focus on preserving and encouraging the use of Afrikaans language in an academic context.
As part of the South African university system students may study at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels, although not all universities will offer all types of course.
There are also a large number of other educational institutions in South Africa - some are local campuses of foreign universities, some conduct classes for distance-learning students, offering both unaccredited and non-accredited diplomas. Universities and colleges are accredited by the Council on Higher Education.
To be eligible for an undergraduate degree at a university in South Africa, you must present proof of completing the following requirements:
Before applying , ask the university international student office for detailed information on application requirements.
Meet language requirements for university admission in the South Africa by choosing an English language preparation course offered by English language schools worldwide, including South Africa. By taking the right English exam training course you will advance your language skills in order to get the needed scores for IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, or other English exams.
The academic calendar in South Africa usually begins in January or February and ends in November. Deadlines for international students to apply for the following year tend to be very early, so it is important to apply in plenty of time.
International students should apply for a Study Permit at the South African High Commission, Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission in their country of origin.
Study permits are issued for a program of study at a specific institution. Once you have confirmed your acceptance of the formal offer from the university or technikon, you can make your application for a study visa.
Prospective international students are advised to submit their study permit documentation as soon as possible. It normally takes six to eight weeks for applications to be processed. The institution (technikon or university) in South Africa cannot register a student until a valid study permit has been produced. Passports with the valid study permit must be presented to the host institution during registration.
In order to obtain their study permit to South Africa, students should provide the following documents:
You should contact the South African Consulate for full details about applying for a study permit.