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The Limpopo Province

Limpopo is one of the nine provinces of South Africa, and the northernmost. The capital is Polokwane (former name is Pietersburg). The name Limpopo relates to the province most important river, which flows on the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana. At the moment of writing, Cassel Mathale (African National Congress) is the premier of the Limpopo province.

Geography

The Limpopo province is located next to three other countries: Botswana in the North and the West, Zimbabwe in the North, and Mozambique in the East. The province contains a big part of the Waterberg Biosphere. It is a massif (15,000 km2) in the North of the province and is acknowledged by UNESCO. Then there is of course the famous Kruger Park, located in the East. The landscape varies from mountainous areas to flat land.

Demographics (Statistics South Africa, 2007)

The population number is around 5 million people (2007) with a density of 42/km2 or 109/sq. mi. There are four main population groups. The biggest group is the Black African (97.5 %), followed by Whites (2.2%). Then there is a small group of Coloured (0.2%) and a small group of Indian or Asian (0.2%). Limpopo has the smallest percentage of White South Africans in the country.

Language (Statistics South Africa, 2007)

As follows from the demographics, the main language spoken in Limpopo is Sepedi, also known as Northern Sotho (55%), followed by Tsonga (18%), and then Venda (17%). English is regarded as a business language.

Religion

Most of the inhabitants of Limpopo are Christian. There are some minorities with other religions, such as a local traditional religion, Muslim, or Hindu.

Economy

The inhabitants of the Limpopo province are one of the poorest of South Africa and unemployment rates are extremely high. These problems have especially high rates in the rural areas. The main industry is agriculture and mining. Mining contributes for more than 20% of the local economy. Tourism is an important industry for the economy as well and focuses especially on wildlife safaris.

HIV/AIDS

This one of the largest health crises at the moment in the country. The HIV-rate in whole Africa is very high, especially in South Africa. It has the highest HIV-rate in the world. So it is quite a surprise, in comparison with the surrounding provinces, that Limpopo has a fairly low rate of HIV/AIDS, ‘only’ 19%. (AVERT, 2010)