South Africa were first represented at the St Louis 1904 Olympic Games.
Between 1964 and 1988, they were not permitted to compete and expelled from the Olympic movement in 1970 as a consequence of the apartheid regime then in force in the country.
They were re-admitted to the Olympic movement in 1991 and participated at the Barcelona 1992 Games under a provisional flag.
They have enjoyed great success in athletics. Their first Olympic champion was Reginald WALKER, who won the men's 100m at the London 1908 Olympic Games.
Charles HEFFERON took silver in the 1908 Olympic marathon.
In 1920, Bevil RUDD claimed the gold in the 400m, silver in the 800m and added a bronze in the 4x400m relay.
Charles WINSLOW won tennis gold in the men's singles and doubles, also in 1920 at the Antwerp Games.
High jumper Esther BRAND was the first South African woman to win gold when she triumphed at the Helsinki 1952 Games.
Joan HARRISON won the women's backstroke gold at the same Games. Josiah THUGWANE won the final gold medal of the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games in the men's marathon.
In 1996, swimmer Penny HEYNS won South Africa's first gold medals since their re-admission to the Games. She took gold in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. South Africa's men won their only gold medal in 2004.
It came in the 4x100m freestyle relay. South Africa have had success in boxing. Clarence WALKER won bantamweight gold in 1920, William SMITH won the same division in 1924 and in 1932 at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Lawrence STEVENS won lightweight gold and Dave CARSTENS triumphed in the light-heavyweights.
The last time the Games were held in London, in 1948, Gerald DREYER won in the lightweights and George HUNTER boxed his way to light heavyweight gold.
A team of 134 South Africans competed in Beijing 2008. It was their largest team to date.
Flagbearer Natalie DU TOIT had also competed in the Paralympic Games. Durban hosted the IOC session in 2011.