Rather, a triad of South African cities share capital city roles: Pretoria (administrative and executive), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein (judicial).
South Africa ranked among the world’s 40 biggest exporters in 2019, shipping US$90.4 billion worth of goods around the globe. Highest-value exported products from South Africa were platinum (9.2% of its global total), cars (7.4%), iron ores and concentrates (6.4%), coal 5.4%), gold (5.1%), trucks (3.9%), ferro-alloys (3.6%), manganese ores and concentrates (3.5%), processed petroleum oils (3.3%) and chromium ores and concentrates (2.2%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for South Africa’s Three Cities: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Voortrekker Monument (Pretoria), Houses of Parliament (Cape Town) and the Supreme Court buildings (Bloemfontein)
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in one of South Africa’s three capital cities.
- Lize-Mari Retief, Olympic swimmer (born Nov. 30, 1986)
- Brendan Peyper, singer-songwriter (born Aug. 7, 1996)
- Michael Mol, physician & executive TV producer (born Aug. 16, 1971)
- Jonathan Shapiro, cartoonist (born Oct. 27, 1958)
- Gérard Rudolf, actor & poet (born Apr. 20, 1966)
- AB de Villiers, celebrated cricket player (born Feb. 17, 1984)
- Kotaro Matsushima, international rugby union player (born Feb. 26, 1993)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, fantasy novelist (born Jan. 3, 1892)
- J. M. Coetzee, author & literary critic (born Feb. 9, 1940)
- Elon Musk, Entrepreneur, engineer & inventor (born Jun. 28, 1971)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches of published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a resident of Cape Town/Pretoria/Bloemfontein: Capetonian/Pretorian/Bloemer
Population: 4,617,560 (Cape Town) at June 14, 2020
Density: 29,921 people per square mile (11,536 per square kilometer)
Population: 2,565,660 (Pretoria) at June 14, 2020
Density: 9,680 people per square mile (3,732 per square kilometer)
Population: 567,029 (Bloemfontein) at June 14, 2020
Density: 310 people per square mile (120 per square kilometer)
Population: 59,276,942 (South Africa) at June 14, 2020
Density: 127 people per square mile (49 per square kilometer)
Median age for all South Africans: 27.6 years old
GDP: US$809 billion in 2019 (South Africa)
GDP per person: $13,754
Note: The above GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars.
Official currency used in Pretoria, Cape Town and Bloemfontein: South African rand
Bloemfontein Supreme Court Website, Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa.
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Cape Town’s Official Government Website, City of Cape Town.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Africa: South Africa.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas.
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Pretoria’s Official Government Website, City of Tshwane (municipality including Pretoria, Centurion, Winterveld and Temba).
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 2016 Cities of Opportunity Report.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, List of countries with multiple capitals.
Wikipedia, Cape Town.
Wikipedia, South Africa.
WorldOMeter, South Africa Population.
South Africans celebrate Freedom Day as a public holiday each April 27.
Pretoria has a population of 2.6 million residents spread out over 265.1 square miles (687.54 square kilometers). While Cape Town is home to 4.6 million people, South Africa’s legislative capital occupies a smaller area equal to 154.55 square miles (400.28 square kilometers) compared to Pretoria.
Bloemfontein scores much lower in terms of its demographics and geographic size, with 567,029 residents living within an area of 91.19 square miles (236.17 square kilometers).
At the country level, South Africa’s land territory covers 468,376 square miles (1,213,090 square kilometers). The national population count was 59.3 million inhabitants as of June 2020.
Population density is highest within Cape Town’s city limits with an average 29,921 Capetonians per square mile (11,536 per square kilometer).
Compare those metrics with South Africa’s administrative and executive capital Pretoria, where there are 9,680 Pretorians per square mile (3,732 per square kilometer).
Density for the smaller Bloemfontein is about 6,100 Bloemers per square kilometer (2,400 per square kilometer).
Widening the geographic scope to consider South Africa’s national boundaries, the country’s overall density is 127 people per square mile (40 per square kilometer).