The Tswane People

Tswane is the new name for the Pretoria area, and for IMB purposes it will refer to the entire northern section of the Gauteng Province. It includes the northern section of Johannesburg (Republic of South Africa’s [RSA] largest city), Tswane (one of RSA’s capitals), and an extensive rural area. Although Tswane is a separate jurisdiction, it is still considered a part of the Greater Johannesburg metropolis.

There are people of virtually every tribe and nation living in this area including the 30 people groups that are recognized in the RSA census. There are also many people from other countries, including a large diplomatic community. On this basis, we refer to the Tswane as a “population segment” of Greater Johannesburg rather than a “people group”.

For purposes of allocating IMB’s Southeastern Africa Cluster (SEAC) strategies, resources, and personnel in a manageable way, the former Pretoria Evangelism Team is now the Tswane Evangelism Team (TET). It is responsible for all of the people in the magisterial districts of Cullinan, Pretoria, Soshanguve, Wonderboom, and half of Bronkhorstspruit.

The 1996 RSA census indicates that 1.35 million people live in the above areas, 800,000 of which are Black Africans (59% of their population). Informed persons believe the real population is considerably higher, especially in the heavily Black African areas (“townships” – see Eastern Gauteng People for explanation). Over 36% of the population is white which is extraordinarily high for RSA where whites make up only 9.6% of the population.

Significantly, the white population in the Pretoria district is 57%, and white- Afrikaans speakers account for 48% of the population (Coloured Afrikaans speakers are 2%). Therefore, this is the highest concentration of Afrikaners and Afrikaans speakers in the RSA.

The Black African people of Tswane have many first-languages, and cultures. These include many similarities, such as their African Traditional Religion (ATR) and mutually understandable languages, which help them to coexist. They also have many problems in common, the most significant of which is that the townships are hotbeds of AIDS, illiteracy, rebellion and crime. Widespread ignorance and superstition regarding matters of health and hygiene combined with abject poverty and hopelessness result in a very high incidence of HIV/AIDS.

Since many people have migrated from the rural areas where education is often unavailable, or beyond their means, there is a continuing cycle of ignorance and illiteracy. Their children are exposed to the disproportionate socio-economic system of which they have no part, and they do not relate to their “parents world” so they rebel. Often they choose aberrant behavior to express their rejection of these circumstances. This can include drugs, promiscuity, violence and crime, all of which are self-destructive.

The remainder of the population includes: Coloureds – 30,200; Indian/Asian – 25,100; and, those who specify no race – 11,300.

Based on the census and other religious data, 73% of these people claim to have Christian involvement. However, based on limited surveys and experiential data garnered by missionaries, no more than 6% are “born again Christians”. Regardless, we believe that God is working with them, and our goal is to find where they are responsive to the Gospel so we can assign missionaries to lay the groundwork for “church planting movements”.

The Southeastern Africa Cluster (SEAC) is engaged in Tswane through TET. These efforts have shown that God is working among the people throughout the region, which includes both urban and rural areas. Therefore, we are working, praying and trusting God to greatly expand this work.

Take me Back to the Page about People