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South Africa

Situated in the southern part of the African continent, South Africa boasts a coastline that extends over 2,850 kilometers (1,770 miles) from the arid border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast to the eastern border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. Covering a total land area of 1,220,813 square kilometers (471,359 square miles), the country has an estimated population of approximately 58,048,332 as of the 2023 national report.  According to 2022 estimates, South Africa's population comprises various ethnic groups, with Indian/Asian at 2.7%, White at 7.3%, Colored at 8.2%, Black Africans at 81.4%, and others at 0.4%. In terms of international commitments, South Africa signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993 and officially ratified it in June 16, 1995. This marked a significant milestone as it was the first foreign treaty accepted by South Africa's newly elected democratic government.

Since 1948, South Africa has grappled with widespread racial segregation and discrimination following the implementation of Apartheid by the government at the time. This system which was built on racial segregation, has had a profound impact on children in the nation, particularly those from segregated communities despite its repealing in 1991. Recent data from UNICEF reveals that one in five children in South Africa is an orphan, and a staggering 64.5% of children reside in low-income households or live in poverty. Challenges persist for children in accessing vital services such as protection from food insecurity, basic education, and adequate water and sanitation. Additionally, South African children face high levels of violence.

The religious landscape in South Africa is characterized by diversity, with adherents practicing a wide array of faiths. Christianity stands as the dominant religion in the country, with a significant portion of the population affiliating with it. This includes various Pentecostal and African-based congregations, alongside mainstream Protestant and Catholic denominations. Beyond Christianity, Islam holds a substantial following, particularly among the Indian and Cape Malay communities. The nation's constitution safeguards religious freedoms, fostering an environment where individuals of all faiths and beliefs can peacefully coexist.

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