Luna crisscrossed her way down a busy street of Cape Town, South Africa. She was not prepared
for such crowded cities. Before she came here, everyone told her all about the many animals
people see on African safaris. No one told her about the throngs of people! Several cities have
more than a million people living in them.
Cape Town was really an interesting place. On the southern end of South Africa, it has many
beautiful sights. Luna enjoyed nearby Table Mountain. People say you can see the mountain
from 100 miles away in the Atlantic Ocean. She also enjoyed going to Boulders Bay, home to a
large colony of penguins. She didn’t know much about penguins, but she enjoyed being around
so many animal friends.
Next Luna planned to go north to Kruger National Park, a wildlife area the size of New Jersey!
Thousands of animals — including elephants, lions, giraffes, and zebras — make their home there.
Luna would seem tiny compared to such huge creatures! After her visit there, she planned to go
to a place called Great Karoo. A vast open area in central South Africa, it is home to farmers
who graze sheep. Now grazing was something Luna knew about!
While enjoying scenery and watching interesting animals was
lots of fun, Luna knew her favorite part of the trip had nothing
to do with sightseeing or grazing. She was going to visit several
children’s programs connected with churches in South Africa.
Children at the programs came every day after school to eat,
play games, and get help with their homework. Luna couldn’t
wait to be a part of what was happening and make new
friends in this fascinating country.
THE COUNTRY *Several tribal groups lived in South Africa before
Europeans arrived in 1488. Over time, Europeans
* South Africa has a land area of about 471,000 took control of the land and developed their own
square miles, making it almost three times the size language, called Afrikaans. They forced black
of California. Africans to live separate from them under strict
rules called apartheid. Under apartheid, black
* Located at the southern tip of Africa, it borders Na- Africans had few freedoms, could not vote or
mibia on the northwest; Botswana on the north; hold high-paying jobs, and were often forcibly
and Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland on removed from their homes to live in slum areas.
the northeast. The country of Lesotho lies com- Apartheid officially ended in the early 1990s. In
pletely inside east-central South Africa. The Indian 1994 millions of blacks were allowed to vote for
Ocean borders South Africa on the east and south, the first time and elected Nelson Mandela as the
and the Atlantic Ocean borders it on the west. The country’s first black president.
two oceans meet at Cape Agulhas.
*Gold, diamond, and platinum mining is important
*The Indian Ocean side of South Africa has many to South Africa’s economy. The Zulu name for the
ports and scenic spots. The Atlantic side is rugged city of Johannesburg is “Egoli,” meaning “the
and isolated, and many ships have crashed in the place of gold,” because it was built on top of a
dangerous currents. large gold vein. Some of the gold mines around
the city are more than two miles deep.
* Even though South Africa is surrounded by oceans,
it is home to two deserts: the Kalahari and part of *South African currency is called the rand.
the Namib. THE PEOPLE
* Since South Africa lies in the Southern Hemisphere, *South Africa’s population is about 49 million, which
its seasons are opposite those in the United States. is about twice the number of people living in
South Africans are getting ready for the winter sea- Texas.
son in May while people in the United States are
preparing for summer. * South Africans follow a wide variety of religions.
Most of them are mixed with traditional ancestral
* The weather is mostly warm and dry year round and beliefs passed down for generations.
rarely dips below freezing. From December to Feb-
ruary, temperatures can top 100 degrees in some * In cities, wealthy people live in modern homes,
areas. The nation is generally dry, especially in the many of them with swimming pools and lovely gar-
northwest, but along the eastern coast rain is plenti- dens. Poor people live in shacks made from any
ful. type of material they can find, including mud and
thatch packed around wooden poles. They have
* South Africa has three national capitals. Cape Town no clean water or electricity. As more people
is home to the nation’s parliament where laws are come to cities to search for work, the size of slum
made; Pretoria is where the president lives; and areas is rapidly increasing.
Bloemfontein is where the Supreme Court meets.
* People in South Africa dress much as they do in
The nation is a treasure chest of wildlife, with more the United States. In villages or for special festi-
than 20 national parks where people can go on
safari tours. The ocean waters near Cape Town are
home to penguins and migrating whales. Huge * South Africa has 11 official
game reserves contain elephants, lions, hippopota- national languages: IsiZulu,
muses, giraffes, zebras, rhinoceroses, leopards, and IsiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi,
more. English, Setswana, Sesotho,
Xitsonga, SiSwati, Tshivenda,
* South Africa’s flag has a colorful design. A large and IsiNdebele. Many more
green Y is tipped sideways with the top pointing tribal languages are spoken,
left. It is surrounded by a thin white border on the making communication in-
top and bottom and yellow border on the left side. teresting — and sometimes
The rest of the flag is red at the top, black on the confusing. Most people know
left, and blue on the bottom. more than one language.
English is used in business.
* Children are required by law to attend school from
*On a golf course bordering Kruger National Park, a
ages 7 to 16. However, a lack of schools in many
golfer was trampled to death by an elephant that
poor areas makes enforcing the law impossible.
broke through the fence!
Children in these areas have few opportunities to
go to school.
*In Cape Town, drivers should always lock their
doors when leaving their cars. In addition to hu-
* People living in cities have access to all types of
man thieves, baboons have been known to open
foods from around the world. Barbeques, called
car doors and vandalize vehicles.
braais (pronounced “bryes”) and all types of jerky
(called biltong) are popular. Poor people often eat
*Safari-goers like to set out in search of the Big Five
mealie pap (pronounced “pop”), a type of por-
— buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinocer-
ridge similar to cornmeal mush.
* Soccer is the most popular sport. South Africa was
the host country for last year’s World Cup.
Zulu make up one of the largest people groups in
South Africa. Their language, IsiZulu, is one of the
*HIV/AIDS is a major problem in South Africa. So many
national languages. Here is a list of several com-
people have died that an entire generation of AIDS
mon words and phrases in IsiZulu.
orphans is growing up without parents. Many of
these children live on the streets of major cities.
DID YOU KNOW?
* South Africa is the only country where visitors can
see both the world’s largest land mammal (the ele-
phant) and the world’s largest sea mammal (the
Hello (to one person) sawubona
Hello (to a group) sanibonani
My name is … Igama lami ngu…
* The San people, also known as Bushmen, live in the
Kalahari Desert. They speak a language that in-
No Cha (pronounced
cludes various sounds made by clicking and pop-
with a small click by
ping with their tongues. In print, those sounds are
putting your tongue
shown by symbols such as !, //, and /. The Xhosa
right behind your
language also includes similar clicks.
front teeth and drop-
ping it quickly
*The king protea, South Africa’s national flower, has a
making a clicking
white center surrounded by pink spiky petals. The
flower can grow up to one foot in diameter.
I don’t know. Angazi
* Biltong — South African jerky — is made from all
I love you. Ngiyakuthanda.
types of meat, including ostrich, antelope, and
* When visiting South Africa, be careful about order- The Assemblies of God in South Africa
ing food called smileys and walkie-talkies. Smileys
are sheep heads cooked over an open fire, and The first Assemblies of God missionaries
walkie-talkies are chicken feet and heads! went to live in South Africa in 1917. To-
day more than a million people worship
in Assemblies of God churches. Mission-
*A food with a very long name is waterblommetjie-
aries work alongside national believers
bredie, which means “flower stew” and is made to plant more churches and reach
from the buds of a Western Cape flower. people in need. Several missionaries are
involved in teaching at Assemblies of
* Every day at noon in Cape Town, the South African God Bible schools. Others hold chil-
navy fires a canon to let people know it is lunchtime. dren’s crusades, train children’s work-
ers, assist in youth ministries, and help
* The Post Office Tree, a giant milkwood at Mossel people affected by HIV/AIDS.
Bay, is believed to be the first post office in South
Africa. In 1501, sailors tied a boot around the tree
and left letters inside to be picked up and delivered
So uth Af
May Flower Craft
The king protea, South Africa’s national flower, is grows up to the pole is knocked down, the team automati-
a foot in diameter. Make a miniature king protea to bring to cally receives five points. If the pole remains
a club meeting. standing, the tube that lands closest will be
measured and the distance recorded.
You will need
Cardboard Reset the pipe and let members of the second
Pencil team toss their pipes, the same rules applying.
Large-size coffee filter When both teams have finished, the team
Pink, white, red, and green crayons recording the closest distance to the pole
Medium-weight pink paper receives three points in the round.
Scissors Continue playing until a team reaches 11
Foods From South Africa
Here are adaptations of two common South African foods.
What to do
Draw a cardboard circle the same size as the coffee Mealie Pap
filter’s base. Cut it out. You will need
Color the sides of the coffee filter pink, both inside and 5 to 6 cups water
outside. One-half teaspoon salt
Cut several long, thin triangular shapes from the pink 1 Tablespoon butter
paper. 1 cup cornmeal or masa flour
Use a crayon to shade the wide end of the triangles
white. What to do
Color the tip of the triangles red. 1. In a large pan, bring water to a boil.
Glue the triangles around the outside of the coffee filter, 2. Add salt and butter.
keeping the wide end at the bottom. This will form the 3. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in cornmeal or masa.
flower’s long, spiky petals. 4. Adjust heat to medium. Bring mixture to a boil.
Glue the cardboard circle onto the inside base of the 5. Reduce to simmer, cover pan, and let mixture cook for 30 to 45
filter. minutes. (Mealie pap tastes better by cooking it long and slow.)
Glue cotton balls onto the cardboard, shaping the cen- 6. Eat warm with chakalaka on top.
ter into a pointed mound.
Color a craft stick green and glue it on the back of the Chakalaka
filter. Chakalaka is a spicy relish served with many different dishes, in-
cluding mealie pap.
Jukskei is a traditional South African game that is similar to You will need
horseshoes. Here is a simplified version of the game to play 3 tablespoons oil
with friends. 2 medium onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
You will need 2 or 3 hot chilies, minced
Sand 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
One 20-inch long straight stick or pole 2 teaspoons curry powder
Four- to eight-foot lengths of plastic pipe (Paper towel tubes 3 tomatoes, chopped
filled with sand and stapled closed at each end can also be 1 can (15-ounces) baked beans in tomato sauce
used) Salt and pepper to taste
What to do What to do
Make a circle of sand up about three feet in diameter. 1. Pour oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
Mound the sand in the center. 2. When oil is hot, add onions, bell peppers, chilies, garlic, and
Insert the 20-inch pole two inches into the sand. curry powder.
Form two teams with up to four players each. 3. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft, about five
Mark a line eight to ten yards away from the pole. minutes.
Give each player a piece of pipe. Choose a team to go 4. Stir in tomatoes. When mixture boils, reduce heat to simmer.
first. Cook about five minutes longer.
Each player on the team must take turns standing be- 5. Add baked beans, salt, and pepper. Heat through.
hind the line and tossing her pipe toward the pole. If 6. Serve with mealie pap.