Population: 51.7 million (2014)
Capital: Pretoria (executive capital); Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital)
Official language: 11 official languages
Major religion: Christianity
IFES Movement: Students' Christian Organisation (SCO)
South Africa is a diverse country with many different ethnic groups with distinct traditions and customs. Spiritualism and ancestral worship is common. Being a Christian in South Africa is a challenge in the midst of such spiritualism and the rise of other religions.
- 73 tertiary institutions and 58 SCO groups
- 8 staff members, a host of volunteers
- graduate ministry in almost all the provinces of the country
- largest SCO group members has between 700 and 900 members; smallest group has 20 to 40 students
- more than 760 high school groups
SCO is the result of the merger in 1997 of two student movements which were previously divided by apartheid system; the SCA (Students' Christian Movement, working in historically black institutions) and the SCM (Students' Christian Association, predominantly white and English-speaking).
Today SCO is an active and outward looking movement. Students are embracing and living out the main aim of the movement: to share the love of Jesus Christ with their friends and lead them to a personal faith in God. Discerning that God has called them for mission, SCO members have designed a strategic plan and programme that are helping them to fulfil their calling.
View from the inside
Zuko Gabela, SCO National Director, says, ‘While not neglecting our core ministry of spreading the gospel and the love of Jesus Christ, the task before us inside the organisation is to consolidate and strengthen SCO base, to build a sustainable influential organisation for our nation. We are working towards organisation renewal and ensuring that our activities speak to single objectives, that we have strong roots, that we are sustainable and are united as a team.’
- that SCO remains faithful to the fundamental of its ministry and identity;
- that God will give them wisdom to respond to contemporary challenges facing the country, such as lack of social cohesion, inequality, poverty, corruption, unemployment and HIV/AIDS;
- for sustainable means of fund-raising and an increasing number of full-time staff.