Resilient, gritty, and hardworking are some of the words that describe the people of South Africa. For a country that has been plagued by political turmoil and unrest for the major part of the 20th century, her inhabitants have always managed to bounce back with even higher determination than before. Centuries ago the country’s vast reserves of gold and diamond attracted the Europeans to settle here thereby influencing not just the cultural heritage, but also the social make up.
Today South Africa boasts off a multiethnic population and a staggering 11 official languages! Compared to several other countries, South Africa is a young country, having become a Republic only in 1961. However, in spite of all the difficulties, South Africans have contributed immensely to the development of the world in the fields of literature, philosophy, science and fine arts. Cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant while the nation’s first black president Nelson Mandela gave hopes of a better future to not just the citizens of his country, but to the whole world. The nation has also given the world modern literary geniuses in the form of Nadine Gordimer and John Maxwell Coetzee. Read on to discover more about famous South Africans.