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South Africa

South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent, known for its beautiful topography, cultural diversity, and a coastline that stretches for 1,700 miles along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The country has three capitals and while its largest city is not a capital, Johannesburg remains its center of commerce and home to its highest court.

South Africa is a multiethnic society representing many cultures, languages, and religions. In fact, the country has 12 official languages, a reflection of its diversity and its complicated history of British and Dutch colonialism which eventually led to apartheid, a governmental system to enforce defined racial segregation and political and economic discrimination within the country.

Starting back in the 1930s, a series of land acts were set in motion, essentially reserving 80% of the country’s land for the white minority population (currently about 7%). This set the stage for the eventual institution of apartheid, affecting housing, finances, land ownership, education, and virtually every other aspect of life for the majority black population. Although around 80% of the population are Black South Africans, it wasn’t until 1994 and the official end of apartheid that they were given the right to vote. This largely non-violent movement against apartheid under the leadership of Nelson Mandela has succeeded in transitioning South Africa to an electoral democracy, but crime, poverty, and ethnic tensions remain challenges for the country.

It is in this setting that we will launch our newest Globalscope campus ministry, a grace-driven and welcoming community of belonging where students can explore life and faith. After a great deal of research, consultation, and several vision trips, all involved agreed that Gqeberha, formerly called Port Elizabeth, was where the ministry will be. We are hopeful that this will happen through a budding partnership with a local church that is extremely involved in the life of the student-filled community, as well as an unfolding partnership with faculty, staff and students at Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha, which has well over 32,000 students and is one of the major universities in South Africa as a whole.

Now with a city, university, and several partnerships identified, we are looking toward building a team, including South African team members, to help continue this vision for a Globalscope campus ministry in Gqeberha.