Pristine wilderness, a turbulent history, and a culture in transition: South Africa is a country with many facets

The “rainbow nation” is one of the most dynamically growing economies on the African continent. It’s a promising future market for creative solutions.



A bird’s-eye view: If you’re lucky, you can encounter wild penguins on the beaches of South Africa. This country is renowned worldwide for its biodiversity. In order to safeguard its broad range of species, it established its first nature reserves more than 120 years ago. The best-known one is Kruger National Park, where lions, rhinoceroses, elephants, and many other species live in their original habitat. About ten million tourists visit South Africa every year—and the fascination of pristine nature is a powerful enticement.

Shining bright: Table Mountain towers above a pulsating city. Daily life in Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city, is shaped by a mix of various cultures. Its residents are said to be comparatively easygoing—and that’s not a bad mindset in a major city that is constantly changing and reinventing itself. For example, its cityscape was enhanced with the eye-catching Cape Town Stadium for the Soccer World Cup in 2010. It’s an ultramodern soccer arena with lighting pillars made of PLEXIGLAS® that compete brilliantly with the stars above Table Mountain night after night.

Mouthwatering: Barbecuing, which is known as braai in Afrikaans, is especially popular in South Africa. Favorite grilled meats include local delicacies such as springbok as well as the more conventional beef and chicken. Livestock and poultry farming play an important role in filling this demand. The amino acid DL-methionine is used here in order to ensure that the animals metabolize their feed optimally.

In transition: A large proportion of the energy used in South Africa is still based on coal, but the conditions are right for an energy transition. There’s a lot of sunshine, as well as strong winds along the coasts. Various products from Evonik are supporting the ecological transformation. For example, VISCOBASE® boosts the efficiency of wind turbines, and Dynasylan® is an additive for adhesives in solar modules.

Location, location, location: In 2017 South Africa sold about 4.5 million hectoliters of wine abroad, thus becoming the world’s sixth-largest wine exporter. Most of this wine is grown in the Western Cape Province in
the south of the country. The granulate STOCKOSORB® supports South Africa’s agriculture by ensuring that soils stay fruitful even under inhospitable conditions. In addition, silicas in plant protection products help to ensure rich harvests that contribute to the country’s reputation and prosperity.

Große Evonik-Standorte
1 Midrand
2 Elandsfontein
3 Umbogintwini
4 Kapstadt

Production and Innovation

Production and Innovation
Evonik operates two production facilities in South Africa. In Elandsfontein in the northeast, the Group produces PLEXIGLAS®; in Umbogintwini it produces hydrogen peroxide (H202). Evonik’s administrative headquarters and sales unit for South Africa are located in Midrand, the third of the company’s locations in the country. There Evonik operates innovation centers where research is conducted and new products are developed.

photos: Robert Harding Picture Library/National Geographic Creative, Getty Images (2), mauritius images/Edwin Remsberg/Alamy, Gerald Haenel/laif
Illustration: KNSKB+
Publishing date 05 March 2019

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