|Area:||471,011 sq. miles|
|Capital(s):||Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein|
|Major Cities:||Durban, Johannesburg|
|Language(s):||IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans, English|
|Winter Olympic Debut:||1960|
South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa and is bordered to the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Mozambique. It encompasses Lesotho and borders the Indian Ocean to the south. On Feb. 11, 1990, African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison.
In 1993, the ANC and the governing National Party agreed on basic principles for a new constitution with elections in which all races could vote. In historic elections April 26-29, 1994, the ANC won 62.7 percent of the vote, enabling Mandela to become president. In June 1999, Mandela was succeeded by his deputy president, Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's second popularly elected president. Mbeki resigned in September 2008 because of political infighting.
South Africa has appeared in five Olympic Winter Games and has never won a medal. It was banned from the Games in 1964 and 1968 and in 1970, the International Olympic Committee withdrew its recognition of South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. South Africa made its reappearance at the Winter Games in 1994.
Vancouver Outlook: South Africa is not expected to contend for a medal in Vancouver.