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South Africa - Glossary Index
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook

      Glossary -- South Africa

      South African of Dutch ancestry, often with German, French, or other European forebears; member of white community tracing its roots to the seventeenth-century Dutch settlers at the Cape of Good Hope.
      "Separateness," (Afrikaans, Dutch); policy implemented by National Party government (1948-94) to maintain separate development of government-demarcated racial groups; also referred to as "separate development," and later "multinational development"; abolished by Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1993.
      Literally, "human beings," in more than 300 Bantu languages of equatorial and southern Africa. Bantu languages are classified within the central branch of the Niger-Congo language family; characterized by a system of noun classes marked by prefixes, so that each dependent word in a sentence carries a prefix of the same class. Outsiders often simplify by omitting prefix; for example, the amaZulu (people) are known as the Zulu; their language, isiZulu, is also referred to as Zulu. Speakers of seSotho, the BaSotho, are often referred to simply as Sotho peoples. Four major subgroups of Bantu languages--Nguni, Sotho, Tsonga-Shangaan, and Venda--are widely represented in South Africa. They include nine of South Africa's official languages--isiXhosa, isiZulu, isiNdebele, sePedi, seSotho, seTswana, siSwati, tshiVenda (also luVenda), and xiTsonga. During the apartheid era, the term Bantu was often used in government regulations, official statements, and sometimes in conversation to designate people of black African descent. Because this group was particularly disadvantaged by apartheid, the term Bantu assumed pejorative connotations in many apartheid-era contexts.
      An area reserved for an officially designated Bantu-speaking ethnic group during the apartheid era; a term generally supplanted by "homeland," national state, or self-governing state during the 1970s and 1980s.
      Farmer (Afrikaans); generally used in eighteenth and nineteenth century to refer to white South African settlers of Dutch, German, and French Huguenot origin; generally supplanted by the term Afrikaner (q.v.) in the twentieth century. See also Trekboer.
      Those "of mixed race," in apartheid terminology; usually referred to people with African and Dutch ancestry.
      European Community (EC)
      See European Union (EU).
      European Union (EU)
      Formerly, the European Community (EC), established as the EU by the Treaty on European Union, November 1, 1993. The EU comprises three communities: the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Each community is legally distinct, but since 1967 the three bodies have shared common governing institutions. The EU forms more than a framework for free trade and economic cooperation: EU signatories have agreed in principle to integrate their economies and ultimately to form a political union. EU members in early 1996 were Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
      fiscal year (FY)
      In South Africa, April 1-March 31. For example, FY 1997-98 includes the period from April 1, 1997, to March 31, 1998.
      gross domestic product (GDP)
      A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by a domestic national economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic production is included, not income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad, hence the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from the gross national product (GNP--q.v.). Real GDP is the value of GDP when inflation has been taken into account.
      gross national product (GNP)
      The total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding gross domestic product (GDP--q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents and then subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents. Real GNP is the value of GNP when inflation has been taken into account.
      High-altitude grassland, generally between 1,200 meters and 1,800 meters above sea level.
      homeland or reserve
      A primarily residential area set aside for a single officially designated black ethnic group during the apartheid era. Some of the ten homelands in the 1980s consisted of more than a dozen discrete segments of land. Homeland boundaries shifted as the government assigned additional groups of people to the often crowded homelands or as neighboring jurisdictions successfully pressed claims to territory within a homeland's boundary.
      import substitution
      An economic development strategy that emphasizes the growth of domestic industries, often by import protection using tariff and nontariff measures. Proponents favor the export of industrial goods over primary products.
      International Monetary Fund (IMF)
      Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency, affiliated with the United Nations, that is responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members (including industrialized and developing countries) when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans frequently carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are developing countries.
      A group, the members of which are descended through males from a common male ancestor (patrilineage) or through females from a common female ancestor (matrilineage). Such descent can in principle be traced.
      "Crushing" or "hammering" (isiZulu); refers to early nineteenth-century upheaval in southeastern Africa caused by expansion of Zulu society under the military leadership of Shaka and combined economic and population pressures throughout the region; difeqane, in seSotho.
      A semi-autonomous, quasi-governmental, state-owned enterprise.
      Paris Club
      Informal name for a consortium of Western creditor countries (Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States) that have made loans, or have guaranteed export credits, to developing nations and that meet in Paris to discuss borrowers' ability to repay debts. Paris Club deliberations often result in the tendering of emergency loans to countries in economic difficulty or in the rescheduling of debts. Formed in October 1962, the organization has no formal or institutional existence. Its secretariat is run by the French treasury. It has a close relationship with the International Monetary Fund (q.v.), to which all of its members except Switzerland belong, as well as with the World Bank (q.v.), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Paris Club is also known as the Group of Ten (G-10).
      having more than one wife at the same time; polygynous marriages are allowed by tradition in many African societies.
      rand (R)
      Unit of currency. A decimal currency of 100 cents, the rand replaced the South African pound in 1961. The official exchange rate of the rand against the United States dollar was R1=US$1.40 until December 1971, and from September 1975 to January 1979, R1=US$1.15. From 1972 to 1975, and after 1979, the government allowed market forces to determine the value of the rand. The exchange rate averaged R3.55=US$1 in 1994 and R3.64=US$1 in 1995. On April 30, 1996, R4.34=US$1; conversely, R1= US$.23. Financial rands were issued only to foreign buyers for capital investment inside South Africa. They were available periodically until 1983 and again in September 1985, but were abolished in March 1995.
      Local contraction of Witwatersrand (q.v.).
      Migrant farmer, in Afrikaans; signifies participation in nineteenth-century population migrations eastward from the Cape of Good Hope. See also Boer.
      Literally, "Ridge of White Waters" (Afrikaans), often shortened to Rand; mining region south of Johannesburg known primarily for rich deposits of gold and other minerals.
      World Bank
      Informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated international institutions that provide advice and assistance on long-term finance and policy issues to developing countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, has as its primary purpose the provision of loans at market-related rates of interest to developing countries at more advanced stages of development. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in the less developed countries. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The MIGA, which began operating in June 1988, insures private foreign investment in developing countries against such noncommercial risks as expropriation, civil strife, and nonconvertibility of currency. The four institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (q.v.).

    NOTE: The information regarding South Africa on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of South Africa Glossary information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about South Africa Glossary should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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