As big and blessed with natural resources as South Africa is, have you ever considered which are possibly the largest towns in South Africa? Well, while we have lots of places in South Africa, the good thing is that this article discusses the largest South Africa cities in terms of their population as well as a few other facts that you should know about each of them.
South Africa is known to be the largest country in Southern Africa, and in terms of land area, the country is the 25th largest all over the world. It can be divided or categorised based on its provinces, cities as well as the towns. While some other countries use states, there are no states in South Africa; instead, a province is represented by a state in South Africa.
Then, whenever the word "township" is used, under apartheid, South African townships refer to the racially-segregated urban areas that are underdeveloped and reserved for South Africans who are black. But today, in terms of land titles, townships in South Africa talk about locations that have no racial connotations.
What major cities are in South Africa?
How many cities in South Africa? There are close to 250 African cities in the country. However, among all of these, we take a look at those with the largest population on the list of cities in South Africa.
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Which is South Africa's biggest city? Johannesburg is not just the largest city that is in South Africa but also ranks as one among the 50 largest urban areas which are in the world. The city is known to be the centre of diamonds and a large-scale gold trade as well as the Constitutional Court seat of the country, even though it is not a capital city of South Africa. As at 2011, the population of the city was estimated to be 4,434,827.
2. Cape Town
Being the oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town is called the Mother City colloquially. As the country's legislative capital as well as the Western Cape province's primate city, Cape Town is known to be second among the largest cities in South Africa. The City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality has an estimated population of 3,740,026 according to Wikipedia.
In the ranking of the largest South African cities, Durban takes the third position, and it automatically assumes the largest city among others in KwaZulu-Natal province. The city is famous and recognised as the busiest port in South Africa. Then, its estimated population is 3.44 million, including the neighbouring towns.
Pretoria is one of the three capital cities that are in South Africa, and it serves as the administrative branch of the country's government seats. The city is assumed to have an estimated 741,651 population based on the census carried out in the country in 2011.
Pietermaritzburg is the capital of KwaZulu-Natal province and the second-largest city within the province. In English, Afrikaans, and Zulu, the South Africa city is popularly called Maritzburg. There are so many schools as well as tertiary education institutions in the city. The University of KwaZulu-Natal also has a campus in the city. One of the highest populations of Indian South Africans is found in Pietermaritzburg, and at the moment, there is an estimated population of more than 600,000 residents there.
6. Port Elizabeth
Situated in the Eastern Cape Province, on the African continent, Port Elizabeth is known to be the southernmost large city with an estimated population of 312,392. The city was founded in 1820 so that the British settlers would have a place of dwelling in order to strengthen the border region between the Xhosa and the Cape Colony.
7. East London
Known as eMonti in Xhosa language and Oos-Londen in Afrikaans, East London is situated on the southeast coast of the country, and it hosts the only river port that is in South Africa. The city is estimated to have a population of about 267,000 based on the data released during the 2011 census held in the country.
In Dutch and Afrikaans languages, Bloemfontein means "blooming fountain" or "fountain of flowers". The city is the capital city of the Free State province and it is also one of the three national capitals of South Africa. Because of the abundant flowers and the yearly rose festival that takes place there, the city is poetically and popularly referred to as "the city of roses", and it has an estimated population of 256,185.
Vereeniging constitutes a part of the Vaal Triangle region. Vereeniging is a name that has its root from the Dutch word that means "union" or "association". When you talk about the most important industrial manufacturing centres that are in South Africa, Vereeniging city is one of them, and it is also estimated to have about 99,787 population.
How many towns are there in South Africa?
While there are more than fifty townships in the country, a list of towns in South Africa with the highest population based on the figures given during the 2011 census is discussed below.
As a township in the suburb of Johannesburg, the name "Soweto" carries the syllabic abbreviation in English for South Western Townships. The population there are mostly blacks and eleven out of the official languages of the country are spoken there. Based on the statistics of the population census carried out in 2011, Soweto has an estimated population of 1,271,628, making it the biggest township in South Africa.
The township is located on the northern side of Kempton Park. Etymologically, Thembisa is a name in Nguni word that means promise and hope, although it got misspelt later as Tembisa. It was founded by people who were full of promise and hope of a brighter future for the people who live there. The population of the people staying there is estimated to be 463,109.
Katlehong has grown to be a high-density area in Gauteng since it was created in 1945, and in the southern part, it has six informal settlements. The township is so overcrowded that they even set up shacks for rent. Together with Vosloorus and Thokoza, after Soweto, Katlehong forms the second biggest black township, and it has an estimated population of 407,294.
As the fourth largest township in South Africa, Umlazi is the only township with its own registration plate in the country. It has 26 sections that it is divided into, and they are A to Z, apart from I, O and X which are replaced with AA, BB and CC. Umlazi has several private and government investments, and in each section, there are police stations and clinics. The population of the township is estimated to be 404,811.
Soshanguve town is situated in Gauteng province, and the name, as an acronym, shows how the multi-ethnic groups in the town are composed. The abbreviations are SOtho, SHAngaan, NGUni and VEnda. The total population of the town is estimated to be 403,162.
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As a partially-informal township that is in the Western Cape, Khayelitsha is on the Cape Flats, and the Xhosa name means Our New Home. The township is reputed to be the fastest-growing township among others in South Africa. The makeup of the ethnic groups in Khayelitsha are approximated to be 8.5% Coloured, 0.5% White, and 90.5% Black African, and the residents' language is predominantly Xhosa. The estimated population is 391,749.
The township was set up during the apartheid government in the northeastern part of Pretoria in Gauteng province. Based on the census of 2011, the population of Mamelodi is about 334,577.
17. Mitchells Plain
Mitchells Plain is one of the largest suburbs in South Africa, and it is situated between Khayelitsha and Muizenberg on the Cape Flats. The township is considered to have the most substantial level of investment as far as the Cape Flats is concerned. Also, there are three large shopping centres and a central business district that is usually called "Town Centre" in the local parlance. The population of the dwellers is estimated to be 310,485.
Ibhayi township is known to be a large township around Port Elizabeth, and it has sixteen subdivisions including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd KwaZakele, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Zwide. The population is estimated to be 237,799.
Sebokeng township is situated around the industrial city of Vanderbijlpark. In Sesotho, Sebokeng means "gathering place". There are predominantly blacks in the township as well as an influx of other racial groups who live there. The lingua franca of the township is SeSotho, and it is spoken as any of the first to third languages of all residents. It has a population of 218,515 residents.
20. Ivory Park
Ivory Park has a dense population of residential areas in the eastern part of Johannesburg. It is located in Midrand with well over 182,000 black people. The township is blessed with a police station, libraries, clinics, and it is proud to have the Voice of Tembisa FM, a community radio station there.
So far, we have been able to look at the towns in South Africa that have the highest population as well as how the country is subdivided. Specifically, we have seen that instead of using states as other countries do, provinces are used in South Africa. We, therefore, hope that this information might help you have a better idea of what the country's composition is like.
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