Not to be confused with South Africa.
For the region of the African Union, see Regions of the African Union § Southern.
The term southern Africa or Southern Africa, generally includes Angola, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, though Angola may be included in Central Africa and Malawi and Mozambique in East Africa.
Definitions and usage
Another geographic delineation for the region is the portion of Africa south of the Cunene and Zambezi Rivers – that is: South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the part of Mozambique which lies south of the Zambezi River.
This definition is most often used in South Africa for natural sciences and particularly in guide books such as Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, the Southern African Bird Atlas Project and Mammals of the Southern African Subregion.
It is not used in political, economic or human geography contexts because this definition cuts Mozambique in two.
UN scheme of geographic regions and SACU
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was established in 1980 to facilitate co-operation in the region.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Eswatini (Swaziland)
- South Africa
East and southern Africa are among the earliest regions where modern humans (Homo sapiens) and their predecessors are believed to have lived.
Kingdom of Mapungubwe
Main article: Kingdom of Mapungubwe § Origin
Kingdom of Zimbabwe
Main article: Kingdom of Zimbabwe § Origin
Kingdom of Mutapa
Main article: Kingdom of Mutapa § History
Kingdom of Butua
Main article: Kingdom of Butua
Main article: Torwa dynasty
Main article: Rozvi Empire § History
Main article: Ndwandwe
Main article: Zulu Kingdom § History
Main article: Merina Kingdom § History
Main article: Mthethwa Paramountcy
Even though considerable disturbance has occurred in some regions from habitat loss due to human overpopulation or export-focused development, there remain significant numbers of various wildlife species, including white rhino, lion, African leopard, impala, kudu, blue wildebeest, vervet monkey and elephant.
It has complex Plateaus that create massive mountain structures along the South African border.
There are numerous environmental issues in Southern Africa, including air pollution and desertification.
Further information: African art § Southern Africa
Further information: Architecture of Africa § Southern Africa
Further information: Folk costume § Southern Africa
Further information: African cuisine § Southern Africa, and List of African cuisines § Southern African cuisine
Further information: Cinema of Africa § Southern Africa
Demographics and languages
Further information: Demographics of Africa, List of African countries by population, List of ethnic groups of Africa § Southern Africa, African diaspora, and Writing systems of Africa § Southern Africa
Southern Africa is home to many people.
Due to the Bantu expansion which edged the previous native African peoples to the more remote areas of the region, the majority of African ethnic groups in this region, including the Xhosa, Zulu, Tsonga, Swazi, Northern Ndebele, Southern Ndebele, Tswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho, Shona people, Mbundu, Ovimbundu, Shona, Chaga and Sukuma, speak Bantu languages.
The process of colonization and settling resulted in a significant population of native European (Afrikaner, British, Portuguese Africans, etc.) and Asian descent (Cape Malays, Indian South Africans, etc.) in many southern African countries.
Science and technology
Further information: History of science and technology in Africa § Southern Africa
See also: Science and technology in Botswana
Agriculture and food security
Some key factors affecting the food security within the regions including political instability, poor governance, droughts, population growth, urbanisation, poverty, low economic growth, inadequate agricultural policies, trade terms and regimes, resource degradation and the recent increase in HIV/AIDS.
These factors vary from country to country.
For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has favourable climatic and physical conditions, but performs far below its capacity in food provision due to political instability and poor governance.
In contrast, semi-arid countries such as Botswana and Namibia, produce insufficient food, but successfully achieve food security through food imports due to economic growth, political stability and good governance.
The Republic of South Africa is a major food producer and exporter in the region.
Data on agricultural production trends and food insecurity especially in term of food availability for Southern Africa is readily available through the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) - Food, Agriculture and Nature Resource Directorate (FARN).
However, this data might not fully capture the reality of a region with large urban populations and where food insecurity goes beyond per-capita availability to issues of access and dietary adequacy.
Urban food security has been noted as an emerging area of concern in the region, with recent data showing high levels of food insecurity amongst low-income households.
In a study of eleven cities in nine countries: Blantyre, Cape Town, Gaborone, Harare, Johannesburg, Lusaka, Maputo, Manzini, Maseru, Msunduzi (Durban Metro) and Windhoek, only 17% of households were categorized as ‘food-secure’ while more than half (57%) of all households surveyed were found to be ‘severely food-insecure’.
Some factors affecting urban food insecurity include climate change with potential impact on agricultural productivity, the expansion of supermarkets in the region, which is changing the way people obtain food in the city, rural-to-urban migration, unemployment, and poverty.
The issue of food insecurity in general and urban food insecurity in particular in the region is also characterized by an increased consumption of caloric junk food and processed foods leading to potential increase in the co-existence of undernutrition and dietary-related chronic diseases such as obesity and hypertension.
In South Africa for example, while over 50% experience hunger, 61% are overweight or morbidly obese.
There is only limited data on the other Southern African countries.
As of early 2019, parts of the region are suffering from a period of drought.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern Africa.