96th Largest City in the World: Cape Town, South Africa

An Overview of Cape Town

Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbor as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa’s most popular tourist destination.

Today, it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. As of 2007, the city had an estimated population of 3.5 million (source).

Poverty in Cape Town

A large area of wind-blown, flat land, covered predominantly by sand, lies to the north of Cape Town, known merely as the Cape Flats. Described fairly accurately as the ‘dumping ground of apartheid’ it was here that thousands of ‘non-white’ households were forced to move as a result of the Group Areas Act, and today it is home to over a million people who manage to eke out an existence in a combination of townships and informal settlements. Despite its origins, and the harsh conditions under which people still live, taking into account the present government’s housing initiatives, the area is totally unique and has emerged as a vibrant and culturally diverse part of the city that stands in strong contrast to the largely ‘white’ suburbs of Cape Town. Many visitors’ first impression of the mother city is along the N2, lined with tin and wood shacks that smack of poverty and little access to facilities. Even the country’s successful bid for the 2010 Soccer World Cup will not see these shacks vanish. According to the city’s mayor, it will take 30 years to deal with the upgrading of informal settlements, and the city already has a housing backlog of 400 000 units (source)

Religion in South Africa

More than three quarters of South Africans call themselves Christians. The largest single church is the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), which has over 4 million followers. During Christian festivals each year, more than a million ZCC members come together at Zion City in Limpopo province.

The next largest church is the Nederduitse Gereformeerde (NG) or Dutch Reformed Church, which has a congregation of about 3.5 million.

A small proportion of South Africans – about 6% – is made up of Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. Most South African Indians retain the Hindu faith of their original homeland.

The Islamic community, concentrated mostly in the Western Cape, is a small but growing one, while the Jewish community consists of approximately 100,000 followers, mostly situated in Johannesburg.

The remainder of the population is made up of atheists or agnostics, and a small number of people follow traditional African beliefs. The traditions of the latter pervade nominally Christian communities, with African rituals and traditional medicine (muti) still very popular (source).

Would you pray that God would send more laborers to this city and country to lift His name high?

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About the author

Beau is a Church Planter in Cobb County, GA. He is a graduate of the Our Generation Training Center and sent through Vision Baptist Missions.

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