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Johannesburg is also known as Jozi, Joburg, and Joni. It is the largest city in South Africa and is the provisional capital of Gauteng.
South Africa – South Africa has a wide variety of ethnic groups, and as such it has eleven official languages. The most-spoken languages at home are Zulu, Xhosa, and Afrikaans. Afrikaans is primarily spoken by descendents of Dutch settlers. English is the fifth-most spoken language, however most of the country’s media uses English. South Africa suffers from economic disparity, with about one quarter of the population unemployed. Many of South Africa’s social and economic problems are carried over from the Apartheid era. A little over 70% of the country’s population is Christian, with the Zion Christian and various Pentecostal churches being popular. Traditional tribal culture is more dominant in rural areas, while it is less prevalent in whiter, more urban areas. Kwaito music is especially popular, though jazz and other forms of music are also present. Soccer, rugby, and cricket are the nation’s most popular sports – the national rugby team has won the Rugby World Cup two times. There are a wide variety of foods in South Africa thanks to the many cultures present. Braai barbeques are very popular, using different meats such as beef, goat, and mutton. Chicken, corn-based foods, and different spices are also popular. Barbecues are especially popular among the Dutch, as well as different stews using tomato and onion sauce. Eating out at different restaurants is also popular, and there are a wide variety of restaurants representing different cultures.
The church in South Africa is growing strong, with nearly 60,000 members. The first church building was constructed in 1916 and 1917. Membership growth was slow for the first few decades, and in 1978, membership reached 7,200. Today, the membership has grown immensely.
The cuisine of South Africa is very diverse due to the many cultures that have occupied the area over the years.
Mala Mogudu is a local dish. It is similar to Tripe, and is usually served with Pap in the winter.
The main form of transportation in South Africa is by road. There are railroad stations, however, they are not as common.
South Africa is a relatively safe country. Mission Home reminds all missionaries to be mindful of the mission rules and missionary handbook regulations. Be mindful of your surroundings and stay safe.
Contacting your missionary:
The USPS does ship to South Africa. You can send your missionary letters and packages to the mission home address listed above.
Private Bag X4
Straight from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“Honestly, I don’t remember anything significant that I wasn’t able to get a reasonable substitute for there.”
“My son is currently serving in the Johannesburg mission and he said the pasta there is not great. I paid more than it costs to mail him macaroni and cheese!”
*What did you eat the most of?
“Chicken and Rice. Lots of meat. Also lots of traditional British food.”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Chicken heads, Sheep Eyeball”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“The black Africans have a very strong sense of community and are very open to talk with people. I loved that about my interactions with them. Also, the white South Africans are sometimes hard to crack their shell, but once you win their allegiance, they are intensely loyal and incredibly giving of their time and energy.”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission?
“Be prepared to fit in with an incredibly diverse set of people and cultures. One minute you’ll be talking with an Afrikaaner, the next with a Zulu. Be personable, and you’ll fit right in.”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“How to be more open minded. South Africa is culturally very different than the US. With their really turbulent political and economic history, South Africans live day in and day out with the effects of racism and segregation. Even though Apartheid has ended, there is still racial tension, and everybody doesn’t always get along. But when I realized that there were people successfully loving their neighbors (especially in the Church), they became real people with real desires to be better, and I was able to connect with them on that level. Suddenly, I sought to bring that out in everybody I met, to help them realize the dignity and power inside of themselves.”
“Serving in South Africa is a rare gem, and a very blessed experience. Dig in to the local foods, love the members, enjoy the incredible weather and wildlife, take your investigators and recent converts to the Joburg temple, it’s not really as dangerous as people think it is, and just be grateful that God called you to one of the best corners of His vineyard.”