South Africa is the most southern country in Africa and has the continent's biggest economy. Diamond and gold in the late 1800s started to transform this country of African tribespeople, Boer farmers, and British traders into the strong economy of today. The country produces high-tech equipment and is a top producer of gold and diamonds.  From 1989 to 1992 the US Ambassador to South Africa was William Lacy Swing.
In 1989, because of economic pressure from without and protests within, the white minority government began the process of dismantling the apartheid system. In 1994, the first multiracial parliament was elected. Nelson Mandela in conjunction with former President Frederik W. de Klerk led the country. South Africa is now a democratic country with 11 official languages. 
- The constitution provides for freedom of the press, and this is generally respected. Laws, regulation and political control of media content are considered to be moderate and there is little evidence of repressive measures against journalists. Newspapers and magazines publish reports and comment critical of the government and the state-owned SABC is far more independent now than during the apartheid era.
Former US Ambassadors
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- "S Africa's controversial arms deal", BBC, December 20, 2007.
- Timeline: South Africa BBC, accessed January 2008.