Is South Africa The Rape Capital of Africa?

Executive Summary

  • South Africa is often called the rape capital of Africa and the world.
  • This article reviews how likely this is true.


South Africa’s rape statistics tend to be accepted without thinking through how SA compares to other countries in Africa. Secondly, many publications have jumped to the conclusion that the high levels of rape must be due to apartied.

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The Reality of Keeping Statics in Africa

Africa keeps the worst statistics on literally any topic of anyplace in the world. There are routinely complete blanks for many African countries as they can’t be made to maintain statistics.

The Better Statistics of South Africa

South Africa is the only country in Africa that still has white influence. This means that it is most likely that while South Africa’s rapes are undoubtedly high, as other African countries have very little white influence, South Africa simply has the best-maintained statistics of any African country. The following table on the number of rapes by country will show undercounting in other African countries.

Incidence of Rape by Country

CountryRapes Per 100K Population
South Africa 96
Botswana 92
Sweden 63.5
Nicaragua 31.6
Grenada 30.6
Saint Kitts and Nevis 28.6
Australia 28.6
Panama 28.3
Belgium 27.9
US 27.3

First, all of the rape statistics reported by the countries are ridiculously low. Does anyone believe that such a low number of people are raped per 100,000 individuals in a given year in any of these countries? Let us take just South Africa.

If the incidence of rape were accurate, this would mean that 100,000/96 people were raped in South Africa every year. Or one out of 1041 people was raped in a year. Just think for a second how many people that is and how many sexual interactions there are between 1041 people per year. There are examples of multiple people being raped in a single family in South Africa as the following quotation explains.

Xingwana said the irony was that the child’s mother had become pregnant after she was raped and that her grandmother too had been raped “in the same house where the baby was raped.”

She angrily listed similar cases in the past month, including those of a 14-month-old baby raped by her uncles and of a three-year-old girl who died after she was raped by her father. – MG

Secondly, something should strike anyone analyzing the data as very odd.

First, the second-highest country on the list is Botswana. However, Botswana is generally considered the best-run country in Africa. Then after Botswana, none of the next countries on the list is an African nation. The next African nation on the list is Senegal, at number 35. And the next African country after Senegal on the list is Uganda. However, Uganda is well known to have a high rate of rape. Yet, according to the statistics, Uganda is between Hungary and Georgia.

According to Unicef, around 43% of children up to the age of five suffer from malnutrition in the Congo. The country has difficulty getting water to approximately 33 million of its citizens. Sufficit to say, collecting statistics is not high on the list of the government of the Congo.

What Would Happen if Statistics Were More Accurately Recorded

Most African nations have incomplete statistics on rape. If the statistics were accurately kept, it is a virtual certainty that South Africa and Botswana would dramatically drop in the listings, and other African nations would supersede them. If this were to occur, there would be a problem promoting the idea that the very high levels of rape in Africa are all due to the legacy of apartied in a country where the vast majority of Africans do not live and have never visited.


None of the statistics on the incidence of rape by country are remotely accurate. This causes the problem of rape to be underemphasized globally.

It is also doubtful that South Africa has the most rapes in Africa. Most likely, South Africa, like Botswana, simply has the most accurate record-keeping in Africa. It is bizarre, and a mark of innumeracy that so many outlets would report South Africa as the rape capital of the world, when the statistics of all the countries are so under-reported, and when outside of Botswana, there is not another African country anywhere close to South Africa (or Botswana) in the rankings.