South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. It has 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline that stretches along the South Atlantic and Indian oceans. To the north lie the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; within it lies Lesotho, an enclave (An enclave is defined in international law as any portion of a state that is entirely surrounded by the territory of another state. It follows from this definition that for an area to be considered an enclave, it must not be a sovereign state and it must not be entered or exited without the need to enter the territory of another state, either by land, sea or air. Enclaves, which were quite numerous in past centuries, are now very uncommon. The concept of enclave is applicable at both the international and sub-national level.
Somewhat abusively, the word enclave has progressively come into common usage to denote also any non-sovereign or sovereign territory, generally a small coastal territory, that is partly surrounded by one of several larger states. Thus, coastal territories such as Gibraltar, Ceuta, Monaco, Kaliningrad, Cabinda, etc., which can all be easily entered or exited by air or sea without the need to enter the territory of another state, are nevertheless called enclaves. The expression "true enclave" is often used to denote territories that correspond to the strict definition of an enclave.
An exclave is defined as a portion of a country geographically separated from the main part by surrounding alien territory. Basically, an exclave is the enclave seen from the viewpoint of the main part. Thus, in Fig. 1 at bottom, C is an enclave from the viewpoint of A but an exclave from the viewpoint of B, the main part. The word exclave is much less common than enclave, which tends to be the generic to denote both concepts.
In Fig. 2 at right, C is again an exclave of B, but is not an enclave, because it has boundaries with more than one entity ) 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 53 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation.
South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: English and Afrikaans, the latter originating from Dutch and serving as the main language of most white and coloured South Africans. Though English is commonly used in public and commercial life, it is only the fifth most-spoken home language.
About 80% of South Africans are of black African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian, and multiracial ancestry. All ethnic and linguistic groups have political representation in the country's constitutional democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. Since the end of apartheid, South Africa's unique multicultural character has become integral to its national identity, as signified by the Rainbow Nation concept.
According to the 2001 national census, Christians accounted for 79.8% of the population. This includes Zion Christian (11.1%), Pentecostal (Charismatic) (8.2%), Roman Catholic (7.1%), Methodist (6.8%), Dutch Reformed (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk; 6.7%), Anglican (3.8%). Members of other Christian churches accounted for another 36% of the population. Muslims accounted for 1.5% of the population, Hindus 1.2%, traditional African religion 0.3% and Judaism 0.2%. 15.1% had no religious affiliation, 0.6% were other and 1.4% were unspecified.