General Information about the Eastern Cape
- Major cities: East London and Port Elizabeth. Capital: Bhisho
- Language: 83.4% isiXhosa, 9.3% Afrikaans, 3.6% English
- Business language: English
- Population: 7,140,000, 15.7% of SA
- Area: 169,580 square kilometres – 14% of total South African area
- Gross regional product: R88-billion (2003) – 8.1% of total South African GDP
- Average GDP growth: 5.3% per annum
- Major industries: Automotive and component manufacturing; agriculture; agro-processing; tourism
South Africa is a land of great diversity, a world in one country. The Eastern Cape holds all that South Africa has to offer – all in one province. It contains all seven of South Africa’s biomes or ecological zones, and offers an unrivalled range of climates, landscapes and cultures.
Historically, the Eastern Cape was a crucible of conflict. This was the eastern ‘border’ where the early Cape colonial settlers clashed with the Xhosa, the Khoi and the San. This was the birthplace of apartheid resistance movements – the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, and the Black Consciousness Movement, with famous leaders from the province such as Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Steve Biko.
The Eastern Cape is still a frontier. For the tourist, industrialist or investor, it is a frontier of diversity, potential and economic opportunity. For the people who live here, the province is a frontier at the cutting edge of social and economic transformation.
Former President Nelson Mandela, whose home is in the hills of the Transkei, once said: ‘After having travelled to many distant places, I still find the Eastern Cape to be a region full of rich, unused potential.’
Click here for an interactive presentation about the Eastern Cape