The Leading Global Portal for Diplomats!    
    Keep in touch with the community Prepare for your new career Take care of personal affairs Chat with diplomats online      
Home > New Posting > Post Reports
South Africa
Preface Last Updated: 4/1/2004 2:58 AM

South Africa, a country of stark beauty and diverse cultures, provides an exciting and dynamic work environment. With the end of apartheid, South Africa has embarked on a historic effort to build a multi-racial, sustainable, market-oriented democracy. The success or failure of this effort will have enormous implications for the rest of Africa and for the world. Our principal official objectives are to help South Africa combat HIV/AIDS, to boost antiterrorism cooperation, to promote regional security and stability, to increase South Africa's economic growth and bilateral trade with the U.S., and to help the country consolidate its democracy. South Africa is a large country, about twice the size of Texas, with an extensive interior plateau and a narrow coastal plain. The 2001 census put South Africa's population at 44.8 million, including non-documented immigrants. The country has eleven official languages, including English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, SeSotho, and SeTswana. English is widely understood among the better educated, even by those who do not speak it as a native language. With the most sophisticated economy on the continent, South Africa has a highly developed financial and physical infrastructure. Much of the country's wealth originally came from gold and diamond mines, but today South Africa exports a wide variety of manufactured products. Despite South Africa's economic growth and initial steps at restructuring, significant inequities persist along racial lines in the distribution of wealth, job opportunities, and provision of services. These disparities reflect the previous South African government's policy of apartheid - a system of legally mandated racial segregation favoring the white community. Although the present government has dismantled the legal basis for such racial discrimination, apartheid's legacy of widespread poverty, especially among the majority black population, will take many years to overcome. Besides a challenging work environment, South Africa offers a host of unique leisure experiences. The vineyards of the Cape, wildlife of Kruger National Park, and beaches of KwaZulu-Natal province are just some of the country's many tourist attractions. The combination of South Africa's physical beauty and its evolving society will make every employee's stay rewarding, whether the Post is to the Embassy in Pretoria or to the Consulates General in Cape Town, Johannesburg, or Durban. Above all, employees and their families will encounter interesting social, political, and economic issues and interact with vibrant cultures.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 4/1/2004 2:58 AM

Area, Geography, and Climate South Africa lies at the southern tip of the African continent. To the west, south and east, South Africa borders on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans with a coastline of 1,836 miles. To the north, South Africa shares common borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. The independent kingdom of Lesotho is completely enclosed by South Africa. South Africa has a narrow coastal zone and an extensive interior plateau with altitudes ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. Lacking arterial rivers or lakes of significance, extensive water conservation and controls are necessary. South Africa is divided into nine provinces: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Northwest and Limpopo Provinces. South Africa has a moderate climate with sunny days and cool nights. The most southerly point has a mean yearly temperature of 61.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while Johannesburg, situated at 5,700 above sea level, has an annual mean of 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretoria, at 4,452 feet above sea level, is warmer with a mean annual temperature of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperatures can be deceiving because of the very bright and dangerous high sun during most of the year, especially in the highveld areas. Both Pretoria and Johannesburg are situated on a high plateau in Gauteng Province. The surrounding countryside is characterized by relatively treeless, rolling hills. The Magaliesberg Mountain Range, more accurately described as a series of low rising hills, lies 30 miles to the north or northeast. The large Hartbeespoort Dam is located in this area. The more impressive Drakensberg Mountains are located 200 miles to the south, where peaks soar to 11,000 feet in neighboring Lesotho. The pine-studded Lebombo Mountains form the eastern boundary of the Johannesburg Consular District in Mpumalanga Province. Scenery in the Free State is flat, with a few buttes in the eastern part of the province. Bloemfontein is the provincial capital and the judicial capital of South Africa. Durban, located on the eastern seaboard of the Indian Ocean, is the principal city in KwaZulu-Natal province and the largest seaport in Africa. Its shoreline extends northeast to southwest along the Indian Ocean. Topographically, the coastal belt of KwaZulu-Natal rises sharply from the ocean to a fertile central plateau and then extends to the escarpment of the Drakensberg Mountains. The Western Cape has the widest range of scenic attractions, including the Mediterranean-like luxuriance of the Cape Peninsula, rolling uplands to the east, excellent surfing beaches, the majestic peaks of the Katberg, the placid lakes of the Wilderness on the south coast of the picturesque Garden Route, and the vast, arid distances of the Karoo to the north and east. Although the country lies close to the Tropic of Capricorn, the high altitude of the inland areas results in a temperate climate in most of the country. In the Southern Hemisphere, seasons are opposite those of the U.S.-summer extends from October to March; winter from June to September. The rainy season in the Pretoria-Johannesburg area is during summer, and the temperature seldom rises above 90 degrees F, with cool nights. Winter is dry and cool with daily temperatures varying from as low as 30 degrees F during the night to as high as 75 degrees F during the day. Air quality is marginal throughout the year but is especially poor in Pretoria and Johannesburg during the dry winter months. Along the coastal area where Durban and Cape Town are located, heavier rainfall occurs during winter and spring, causing high humidity. Both cities experience strong winds - Durban from August through October and Cape Town throughout the year. The seasons are not pronounced but blend almost imperceptibly. South Africa's climate is comparable to that of Central and Southern California. For the most part, trees and shrubs remain green, with flowers blooming throughout the year. The highveld, which includes the Pretoria-Johannesburg area, remains dry and brown throughout much of the year.

Population Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:01 AM

2001 Census figures put South Africa's population at 44.8 million. This figure includes an estimate of the undocumented immigrants moving into the country from neighboring African states. No generally recognized nomenclature has yet taken the place of the former apartheid categories that were used as an instrument of racial discrimination. The terms remain and are now used in the census descriptively, rather than prescriptively as in the past: "Black Africans" constitute 35.4 million, or 79% of the population; "Whites" 4.3 million, or 9.6%; "Coloreds" (people of mixed racial origin) 4 million or 8.9%; "Asians" (including Indians) 1.1 million or 2.5%. Of the population of European descent, 60% are native Afrikaans speakers, while the remaining 40% are native English speakers. Most of the "colored" population lives in the Cape, whereas most South Africans of Indian origin live in KwaZulu-Natal. South Africa officially recognizes eleven languages and accords them equal legal status. In descending order of demographic importance they are: IsiZulu (7 million), IsiXhosa (6 million), Afrikaans (5 million), Sepedi, English, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, SiSwati, Tshivenda and IsiNdebele. While English is spoken by only 9% of South Africans in the home, it and Afrikaans share the status of lingua franca among the educated, with isiZulu and isiXhosa spoken across a wide spectrum as well. English serves as the working language of the government. The 1898-1902 Anglo-Boer War, as it is called in South Africa, was a fight for overall political control of what is now South Africa. The war pitted the "Afrikaners" (descendants of the Dutch, French Huguenots, and Germans who began coming to the Western Cape area in the seventeenth century) against the English who arrived in the nineteenth century. For historical reasons, the influence of these two groups remains disproportionately high compared to their demographic representation. About one-quarter of South Africans belong to one of the African Independent Churches. These consist mostly of Zionist and Apostolic churches and also include some Pentecostal offshoots. Most Afrikaners are members of the Dutch Reformed ("NG") Church, traditionally a bastion of conservatism. Other religions found in South Africa include other Protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. The system of legally mandated racial segregation, or "apartheid," was dismantled in the early- and mid-1990s, though economic and social barriers hinder greater integration. The former apartheid laws (now repealed) which held the system together included the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936, which restricted Black African ownership of land to certain designated homelands; the Group Areas Act of 1950, which segregated residential neighborhoods by race; the Population Act of 1950, by which people were racially classified at birth; and the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950, which classified opponents of apartheid as communists and empowered the government to suppress dissent. Since the advent of majority rule in 1994 and the removal of legal restrictions on the ability of all South Africans to decide where they want to live, black migration to the cities has intensified. The influx of new residents to urban areas adds to the challenge faced by the South African government to provide basic services to the entire population. Significant strides have been made in the provision of land, water, housing, and electricity but much remains to be done. The ANC government can boast of doubling school enrollment since it took office in 1994. The national government adopted anti-discrimination laws in areas such as employment and access to housing. The government is instituting a program of economic transformation to bring formerly disadvantaged populations into the economic mainstream. Nevertheless, unemployment remains high. The official figures on unemployment hover at 28-30%, while the generally accepted rate is closer to 40%. Statistics for infant mortality and life expectancy reveal inequalities. According to 2001 statistics, infant mortality among white children under one year old is 11 for every 1000 live births; for Black Africans it is 47 for every 1000 live births. 1996 census statistics portray the disparity in life expectancy as 65.5 years for Whites, 61.5 for Asians, 58.6 for Coloreds, and 55.5 for Black Africans. By 2002, overall life expectancy at birth had fallen to 47.6 years, due to the rising numbers of premature deaths from AIDS. Another impact of HIV/AIDS is the increasing number of orphans. A 2001 UN study estimated there were 662,000 AIDS orphans in South Africa. This number is forecast to rise as high as 1.7 million by 2010. An estimated 5.3 million South Africans are HIV positive. A 2002 survey by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Human Sciences Research Council showed 15.6% of South Africa's population aged 15-49 to be HIV positive. HIV status also varies significantly among racial groups. The NMF/HSRC study shows that among the 15-49 year old population, 18.4% of Black Africans, 6.6% of Coloreds, 6.2% of Whites, and 1.8% of Asians are HIV positive. There is also a disparity by gender: 17.7% of females 15-49 years of age are HIV positive as opposed to 12.8% of males in the same age category.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:01 AM

The new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, signed into law on December 10, 1996, codifies separation of powers, checks and balances and a far-reaching Bill of Rights. South Africa is one of the few countries, which, through a single entrenched law, protects all universally accepted fundamental rights against government interference and individual abuse. Socio-economic rights include housing, health care, access to food and water, social security and basic education. The Constitution applies to private persons as well as the State. The Constitutional Court is the highest court in cases regarding the interpretation, protection and enforcement of the Constitution. While the Constitutional Court decides on constitutional matters only, the Supreme Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear and determine an appeal against any decision of a High Court. The Cabinet consists of the President, the Executive Deputy-President and 25 Ministers appointed by the President. Any party with at least five percent of the seats in the National Assembly may have, if it chooses, one or more Cabinet posts based on the number of seats it holds. South Africa's Parliament has two chambers: the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The 400 seats in the National Assembly are allocated to political parties on the basis of proportional representation. There are currently 17 parties represented in the parliament. The ANC has 275 seats, which gives it a two-thirds majority (and the power to amend the Constitution without support from other parties). The Democratic Alliance (DA) has 46, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 31, the New National Party 20, the African Christian Democratic Party seven and the United Democratic Movement four. The remaining 17 Assembly seats are divided among 11 additional parties. The National Assembly elected Thabo Mbeki as President in 1999. Jacob Zuma, also from the ANC, became Deputy President. On a provincial level the ANC won seven out of the nine provinces, while the DA-NNP alliance won a majority in the Western Cape and the IFP received a plurality of the votes in KwaZulu-Natal (42% vs. ANC's 38%). In 2001, the NNP broke its tie with the Democratic Alliance and, allied with the ANC, took over the premiership of the Western Cape. South Africa's third round of national elections are scheduled for April 14, 2004. The 90-member National Council of Provinces (NCOP) consists of six permanent and four special delegates representing each of South Africa's nine provinces. The NCOP legislates on matters that have an impact on the provinces and those which pertain to national finances. Permanent delegates are selected by the provincial legislatures and apportioned according to the parties' share of the provincial vote. Special delegates can be substituted at will by the provincial premier. The ANC controls the voting majority within the NCOP. Government comprises national, provincial and local levels. Instead of a clear division of powers, the constitution introduces the concept of "co-operative governance," whereby each tier of government must endeavor to resolve any disputes by mediation and negotiation. South Africa is divided into nine provinces, each with its own legislature, premier and ministers. The ANC government successfully stabilized the inflation rate and liberalized exchange control regulations, but unemployment, low economic growth, a widening income gap, and housing shortages remain serious problems. The ANC has had problems maintaining labor support for its "liberal" Growth, Equity and Redistribution (GEAR) macro-economic framework. While the IFP remains a powerful force in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, it has lost substantial support among White and Indian voters, leaving little formal organization outside of its key support base of Zulus in the KwaZulu-Natal hinterland. The IFP's dilemma is whether to continue cooperating with the ANC in the KwaZulu-Natal and national governments or to keep its distance and act as a regionally based opposition party. The conservative Afrikaner right is represented by the Freedom Front Plus (FFP). The FFP was created in 2003 from the merger of three right-wing parties. These parties received fewer than 2% vote in 1999. Most Afrikaners now support either the NNP or the DA. The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) lost a large amount of support since 1994 and currently has only two Members of Parliament. The party has experienced continuing leadership struggles. One of its strongest members, Patrica DeLille, left the PAC in 2003 to form the Independent Democrats.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:07 AM

South African cities have an active cultural life. Each province has a Performing Arts Council, subsidized by the central government, whose productions come from both Western and indigenous repertoires. Johannesburg has several multiracial performing arts centers and an active local community theater. South Africa is highly developed scientifically. Its scientists are well educated, and many have international reputations. The veterinary faculty of the University of Pretoria at Onderstepport is one of the world's finest. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) covers a wide range of scientific research. The medical profession is highly developed, and significant progress has been made in experimental medicine - South Africa was the pioneer in successful heart transplant surgery. The Medical Research Institute can develop and produce sophisticated pharmaceuticals.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:07 AM

South Africa is a key economic partner for the United States. It is the United States' second largest trading partner, after Nigeria, and its largest export market in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is also the site of the largest U.S. foreign direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa, approximately $3.3 billion at 2002 year-end. According to the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa, over 700 U.S. companies have a presence in the country. Eighty-five percent of U.S. companies use South Africa as a regional or continental center. The United States is South Africa's largest export market. Much of the South African formal economy resembles that of the United States or Western Europe more than those of other African countries. There is modern infrastructure for transportation, communication and finance. A large manufacturing sector produces a wide variety of consumer goods. The auto industry exports cars to Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States. Real economic growth in 2004 is expected to reach about 3% following growth of 1.9% in 2003. Exports were valued at about a quarter of GDP in 2003. The government's fiscal and monetary policies are sound. Consumer price inflation was less than one percent at the end of 2003. South Africa's greatest economic challenge is to transform the economy by reducing unemployment through rapid growth and giving previously disadvantaged groups an increasing share of the country's prosperity. A legacy of apartheid is that gross inequities continue to exist along racial lines in wealth, income distribution and education. South Africa's official unemployment rate hovers around 30% and is much higher for blacks than whites. Sixty percent of blacks, but only three percent of whites, live in poverty. The HIV/AIDS pandemic, reaching alarming levels, threatens to constrain economic growth, placing even greater burdens on the household income of those living in poverty.


Automobiles Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:07 AM

Automobiles Traffic moves on the left side of the road in South Africa. The road infrastructure is good, but the accident rate is high and motorists should exercise caution and practice defensive driving at all times. Public transportation is available but not recommended. Taxis should be used with caution as they are expensive and often unreliable. Privately owned motor vehicles are essential in South Africa. [Please see the section on importing vehicles.] Leaded, unleaded, and diesel fuel are available locally and prices fluctuate regularly around R3.50 per liter. However, all Mission personnel qualify for a rebate of excise duty on gas of approximately 18% on a claim back basis. Gas is available 24 hours per day. The South African Department of Foreign Affairs and the United States Department of State both require third-party liability insurance for all vehicles. Third-party liability insurance can only be purchased from a South African company. In addition, most employees carry comprehensive insurance due to their concerns about the local crime and accident rates. Comprehensive insurance can be purchased in either South Africa or the United States. All accredited employees' vehicles are registered with Gauteng Province through the Foreign Ministry for a small charge. Although the wait can be two months, owners will eventually receive diplomatic license plates upon presentation of proof that the required insurance coverage is in place and the employee has a valid drivers license. Driver's licenses are valid in South Africa as long as they remain valid in the country of issue.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:30 AM

Most international flights to South Africa land at Johannesburg International Airport located 16 miles from Johannesburg and 30 miles from Pretoria, but there are some direct flights to Cape Town. International arrivals and departures with direct or connecting flights are scheduled to almost any point in the world. Codeshare flights involving American, Northwest, and United provide daily service to the United States via Europe. South African Airways reliably serves all major cities in South Africa with numerous daily flights to Cape Town, Durban, and other cities. Several smaller airlines including Com Air, Kulula, and Sun Air serve major cities in South Africa, plus neighboring destinations such as Windhoek, Victoria Falls and Gaborone. Railroad transportation within South Africa is available. The Blue Train and Rovos Rail provide luxury services at high cost and reservations must be made well in advance. Non-luxury rail travel is not recommended.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:31 AM

Telephone communications in South Africa are acceptable. International direct-dial connects all major cities and connections to the U.S. are good. All Embassy employees have telephones installed in their homes.


Internet Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:32 AM

Dial-up Internet connections are available but speeds vary depending on the reliability of the local PTT wiring in each neighborhood. High speed Internet (ADSL) is also available but expensive. Local telephone calls (including dial-up Internet connections) are charged by the minute. Cellular phone service is reliable and accessible in most of South Africa.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:33 AM

Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Incoming pouch mail may not exceed the following: Weight: 50 lbs/22.72 kgs. Size: 17 x 18 x 32 inches. Pouch mail takes 2 - 4 weeks to arrive at post. The US Postal Service computers can move mail faster when you and your correspondents address all mail like this: Type or block print in ALL CAPITALS. No punctuation, except the hyphen between the first five and last four zip code digits. Use the two letter state code. First line is your name, second line is the street address and the third is the city, state, and zip code, e.g.: Address OFFICIAL pouch material, e.g. official mail, official parcels and periodicals as follows: MR JOHN DOE 9300 PRETORIA PL (YOUR SECTION) DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC 20521-9300 Please note: All letter items received with the Washington, DC address are irradiated, which will damage/melt plastic items, e.g., credit cards, etc. Address all PERSONAL mail, e.g., personal letters, personal parcels, and personal periodicals as follows, depending upon your post of assignment: MR JOHN DOE 9300 PRETORIA PL DULLES, VA 20189-9300



MR JOHN DOE 2500 JOHANNESBURG PL DULLES, VA 20189-2500 Please note: This address should not include ANY reference to the Department of State, the embassy, or your title/position. Items sent to this address are NOT irradiated. Pretoria is a Category B Post. Outgoing parcels cannot exceed the size of a video tape and may not weigh more than two pounds. Merchandise may be returned through the pouch to a manufacturer or vendor if the appropriate postage is affixed. The INTERNATIONAL addresses and phone numbers for the Embassy and the Consulate Generals are as follows. The access code for South Africa is (27). American Embassy P.O. Box 9536 Pretoria 0001 Republic of South Africa (12) 431-4000

American Consulate General P.O. Box 6773 Roggebaai, Cape Town 8012 Republic of South Africa (21) 421-4280

American Consulate General 101 Old Mutual Building 308 West Street Durban 4000 Republic of South Africa (31) 305-7600

American Consulate General (at Johannesburg) P.O. Box 1762 Houghton 2041 Republic of South Africa (11) 644-8000 The local South African mail system is used for letter mail, but pilferage is possible for packages and periodicals. Additional information on the Pretoria pouch operation can be found at Stamps are not available at post but can be ordered through the US Postal Service at WWW.USPS.COM. For express mail, post uses DHL; however, FedEx and UPS are also available.

Postal Insurance Packages sent from the U.S. through the pouch are insurable to the Dulles facility only, with no insurance coverage from Dulles to post. Any parcels destined for the pouch should therefore be packaged to withstand the rigors of international air freight. The State Department is not liable for any items that are damaged in the pouch.


Radio and TV Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:34 AM

South Africa's state-owned television service (SABC-TV) broadcasts daily on three channels. SABC1 and SABC2 offer entertainment and news programs in all of South Africa's eleven official languages. SABC3 offers news, entertainment and educational programming in English only. All SABC-TV broadcasts use the PAL-I system. American broadcast standard (NTSC) television sets will not work properly in South Africa, but multi-system televisions can be purchased locally for less than in the U.S. Many Embassy personnel subscribe to Direct Satellite TV (MultiChoice - DSTV). These services offer movies, sports, American and international news, and audio programming. DSTV costs about $150 to install with a monthly fee of $50 to $60. The first free-to-air television channel, "," went on air in 1999 in direct competition with the national broadcaster. It offers news, programs on current events, movies and educational programs in English. The Embassy has no video club, but video rental stores are common throughout South Africa. PAL or multi-system VCR's must be used to view locally rented videotapes. Multi-system VCR's and DVD players can be purchased locally at reasonable prices. DVD players purchased in the U.S. may not be able to "read" DVD's that are purchased or rented locally. Radio in South Africa ranges from low-power community stations (broadcasting mostly in FM), to state-owned SABC stations throughout the country, to several new privately owned stations. There is a format for every taste. For local news, many Embassy staff listen to Radio 702 (702 kHz) and SAFM (103 to 107 MHz). VOA reception at 909 kHz is very good in the evenings and early mornings.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:34 AM

English-language newspapers are published daily in South Africa. The Star, This Day, Sowetan, Pretoria News, Business Day, Citizen (in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area); the Cape Times and the Cape Argus (in Cape Town); and the Mercury and Natal Witness (in Durban) are the main English-language dailies. The most important national weekly is the Mail and Guardian. The main English Sunday papers are the Sunday Times, the Sunday Independent and the City Press. The International Herald Tribune [IHT], Time, Newsweek, and Reader's Digest are available at bookstores or by subscription at slightly higher than U.S. prices. The IHT is generally 2-3 days old by the time it reaches South African vendors. Bookstores are well stocked with current books, magazines, and technical journals, but at higher prices than in the U.S. U.S. editions of magazines sent through the pouch arrive several weeks late. Many employees use the Internet to access publications, news and information.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:35 AM

South African medical and dental facilities in the major cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Durban, Cape Town, Nelspruit, Kimberly, Rustenberg, and Port Elizabeth are excellent. Medical evacuations from South Africa to the U.S. are extremely rare as advanced treatment technologies exist in South Africa. Specialists of all types are available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, and Durban. Many excellent private hospitals and clinics can be found and most public university hospitals are well equipped. Nursing care is excellent. Modern and well-equipped laboratory and radiology facilities exist throughout the country, and a highly developed pharmaceutical industry produces or imports a comprehensive list of medications. The Embassy Pretoria Health Unit provides some primary and urgent care services, and maintains first aid equipment and small quantities of medications, but employees typically receive the majority of their care from local physicians and hospitals. The Health Unit functions primarily as a State Department medevac center for a large area of Africa. The Foreign Service staff includes two Medical Officers and a Psychiatrist, who each have regional responsibilities that require them to travel at least 50% of the time, and a Health Practitioner who assists with direct care. Locally hired nurses (RNs) are available to coordinate physician referrals and medical evacuations when the physicians are away from Pretoria. No Health Units exist at the Consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. However, the Regional Medical Officers from Pretoria visit each location periodically.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:35 AM

Standards for community sanitation are high in the better neighborhoods of the major cities, but rapid urban growth is straining the current infrastructure. Tap water is potable and in good supply. Sewage and refuse disposal are adequate in areas where official Americans live. The electricity supply is good but outages occur. Increased fatigue and sleeping difficulties are possible upon arrival due to the altitude, with Pretoria and Johannesburg at about 5000 to 6000 feet above sea level. These symptoms generally clear in a couple of weeks to a month. The climate is dry with increased dust in the highlands. Air pollution in the urban centers, in combination with environmental allergens, can be problematic at times for those with respiratory, allergy, or sinus problems. Solar exposure is increased and sun block, protective clothing, and sunglasses should be used. Restaurants in general prepare food with good sanitary techniques. Meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and fruit can be prepared normally, and milk and milk products are pasteurized.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:36 AM

Malaria is not a problem in the major cities of South Africa, but it does occur in lowland rural areas, especially during the annual rainy season. Travelers to the lowland game parks and to areas along the Zimbabwe and Mozambique borders are advised to take malarial prophylactics. Although rabies is present in South Africa, most domesticated animals are immunized and the risk to personnel is considered low. Wading and swimming in fresh water lakes and rivers should be avoided due to the presence of the schistosomiasis (bilharzia) parasite. Insects and vermin are not major problems, although occasional exposure to poisonous snakes and scorpions occurs. Infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has reached epidemic levels among the indigenous population of South Africa. Personnel are urged to take appropriate precautions at all times against body fluid exposure and unprotected sexual contact. If an unfortunate exposure should occur, it is vital that the victim receive post-exposure prophylaxis within HOURS of the incident. If a blood transfusion becomes necessary, the blood supply in hospitals is screened appropriately and is considered safe. Commensurate with the high prevalence of HIV disease, tuberculosis cases are also increasing. Domestic employees should be screened annually. Yellow fever is not considered a risk in South Africa. However, proof of immunization is required for travelers arriving from tropical countries in which yellow fever is endemic. The State Department recommends that personnel posted to South Africa be immunized against hepatitis A and B and against typhoid. The Embassy Health Unit can provide those vaccinations as well as all the routine childhood immunizations.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:37 AM

Many agencies represented in the U.S. Mission South Africa employ eligible family members in full or part-time FMA or PSA positions. These positions, currently numbering 35, are mainly clerical and para-professional, although a few professional positions occasionally become available. Eligible family members who have completed Consular Officer, GSO, or Budget and Finance Officer training at FSI will be in a more competitive position to secure employment in these fields, should a Post vacancy occur. Currently, South Africa has a de facto Reciprocal Work Arrangement. If a spouse or family member wishes to work in the local economy, the Embassy will assist in securing the necessary work permit. The Embassy has recently employed a local employment advisor (LEA) to assist family members who are interested in this option. The current LEA, Jacqui Fogg, can be reached via e-mail at The Mission has a Temporary Pool of eligible family members that is frequently used for short duration employment (e.g. security escort duties, assisting with VIP visits, substituting for absent employees). We recommend that eligible family members interested in working, whether part-time, full-time, or intermittently, register with this pool upon arrival at post. The Embassy also has a summer hire program to employ dependent students who are 16 and older, depending on funds availability.

American Embassy - Pretoria

Post City Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:38 AM

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa. Greater Pretoria [now called "Tshwane"] has a population of 1,527,023 (Source: Central Statistical Service, 2001 Census). It is located in Gauteng Province, 35 miles northeast of Johannesburg, 30 miles from Johannesburg International Airport, and 437 miles from Durban, the nearest port city in South Africa. Founded in 1855, Pretoria is the seat of executive government for South Africa. It lies in a long valley edged by several ridges. The surrounding rural area consists of undulating veld with low trees scattered over the landscape. Aside from the Iscor Steelworks, automobile assembly plants located outside the city, and a few small industrial establishments, Pretoria is mainly a government town with enough shops and department stores to cater to its population. Schools, hospitals, doctors and dentists are in adequate supply. Pretoria is a quiet, modern city offering current movies, plays, operas, ballets, and concerts. There are two universities, museums, libraries, an excellent zoo, sports grounds, several golf courses, and many beautiful parks. Those seeking a brighter nightlife generally go to Johannesburg, though Pretoria has many good restaurants, some with dancing and live entertainment. Sundays in Pretoria are spent at church, visiting friends, participating in sports, or indulging in the national pastime of the "braaivleis" (barbecue). In the city, flea markets and open-air art and craft markets are often held as well. Aside from the Embassy staff and their families, some 250 other Americans live in Pretoria, including church and missionary representatives and American spouses of South Africans. Most American business representatives live in the Johannesburg suburbs. Diplomats form the nucleus of Pretoria's growing foreign community. Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, and Soshanguve are the historically "Black townships" surrounding Pretoria where the majority of the Black African citizens of the Tshwane Metropolitan area still live. Atteridgeville is 7 miles, Mamelodi is 15 miles, and Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Winterveldt and Temba are about 25 miles from downtown. Many residents work in Pretoria, traveling by bus, train, taxi, or driving personal vehicles. Lenasia, about 10 miles south of Pretoria, is home to many of the area's Asian citizens. Each of these communities form part of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Unemployment is high in the townships and standards of living are, in general, significantly lower than in Pretoria proper. There is also a shortage of housing in South Africa, which has given rise to large informal settlements or "squatter camps" on the periphery of established areas. Some informal settlements have benefited from government services such as water and electricity; most have not.

Security Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:39 AM

Crime is a problem at all South African posts; it affects all races, income groups, and neighborhoods. In response to the high criminal threat, all homes are equipped with alarms and other security enhancements, mobile patrol units make regular checks on all residences at regular intervals throughout the day and night, and a security service provides an armed response within five minutes of an alarm activation. Thanks to these measures, residential burglaries have become rare. Carjacking continues to be a concern, and the RSO recommends the installation of locally available window film that provides some protection against smashed windows. Employees and family members are urged to take common sense precautions, such as not walking before dawn or after dusk. Driving late at night is discouraged. By practicing good security awareness, most official Americans avoid being a victim of crime.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:40 AM

Tradition holds that South Africa has three capitals, the administrative in Pretoria, the legislative in Cape Town, and the judicial in Bloemfontein where the Supreme Court sits. Parliament convenes in Cape Town in February and usually remains in session through November, with constituency periods and recesses in April, July and October. Pretoria is now the center of government activity, and the affairs of the bi-lateral relationship are conducted mostly at Pretoria. In the past, some members of the Embassy would move to Cape Town for the duration of the parliamentary sessions and there were in practice two Chanceries. The Ambassador still maintains formal residences in both Pretoria and Cape Town and travels between the cities on a regular basis, particularly when most of the government ministers are in Cape Town for parliamentary sessions. However, the remainder of the Embassy staff remains in Pretoria and travels to Cape Town only as necessary. The United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa has increased dramatically in size and scope since South Africa's transition to majority rule in 1994 and has become a regional platform for the management of USG activities in much of the southern half of Africa. The Mission expects further growth in the coming years. Sections and Agencies serving under the authority of the Chief of Mission and comprising the Country Team include the heads of the Consular, Economic, Management, Political, Public Diplomacy, and Regional Issues Sections, and the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Defense Attaché's Office (DAO), the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Foreign Broadcasting Information Service (FBIS), the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), the Department of the Treasury, the Peace Corps (PC), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Legal Attaché (FBI), the Trade and Development Agency (TDA), the International Broadcasting Board (IBB), and the United States Secret Service (USSS). The Regional Consular Officer, FCS, TDA, IBB, and part of ICE are located in Johannesburg. All agencies are members of ICASS, with overall administrative support provided by the Embassy Management section. USAID and Peace Corps participate in ICASS but manage the majority of their own administrative support in housing, warehousing, transportation and finance.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:40 AM

Newcomers usually occupy their assigned quarters on arrival. If permanent housing is unavailable, newcomers stay in temporary housing or at one of the nicer hotels in town (Sheraton, Villa Via, Court Classique), which are all close to the Embassy and within the per diem rate.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:41 AM

As of 2004, the Mission housing pool includes 50 owned and 102 leased units, mainly consisting of single-unit detached houses with surrounding gardens of varying sizes. AID and Peace Corps maintain their own housing pools. Swimming pools and outdoor barbecues tend to be common, but are not available at every house. Pretoria housing is noted for its wide diversity in architectural style, and most houses have an attractive appearance, but construction standards are lower than those found in the United States. Heating or air conditioning is uncommon, but the Embassy installs split aircon units. Room layout can be unusual to the American eye, bedrooms are often small, and closet and storage space is sometimes minimal. All residences meet or exceed security standards. Most personnel live within a 30-minute drive of the Embassy. Assignments are made by the post Interagency Housing Board and comply with USG space standards, which take family size and position grade into consideration. Any special need, requirement, or desire should be conveyed to the GSO Housing Officer. A hospitality kit is made available for the use of new arrivals until their personal effects arrive. It includes the basic items of bedding, towels, kitchenware, cookware, dinnerware, cleaning equipment, and small appliances.


Furnishings Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:42 AM

The Ambassador's residence, Hill House, is a U.S. Government-owned residence, located on a ridge overlooking central Pretoria and to the southeast of the Chancery. The House is in the Cape Malay architectural style, was one of the first houses in that part of the city, and was named after the family that built it. It has a pool and extensive gardens. The representational first-floor area includes a large entryway, small library, large living room, large dining room, and kitchen. The second-floor private quarters include 3 bedrooms with their own bathrooms and study areas, one main study, a TV room, and a storage room. Servants quarters include 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a kitchen, and the laundry facility. The DCM's Residence The DCM's home is located ten minutes southeast of the chancery in the older, tree-lined Brooklyn neighborhood. It was originally a farmhouse and is now one of the few remaining homes from the earliest periods of Pretoria's settlement. It is a single-level three-bedroom residence with a traditional English-style thatched roof. The grounds include a tennis court and swimming pool. Other Housing Each agency is responsible for the provision of furnishings and equipment for its employees. The approved inter-agency standard specifies that the following be provided at each home: standard living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture, and appliances including a refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, electric range/oven, vacuum cleaner, microwave, washer and dryer, and area carpets and patio furniture. Draperies are provided for the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. All homes have contact smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Lawnmowers and a basic set of garden tools are provided for each home. Electric overhead fans, additional floor lamps, humidifiers, and space heaters are also available in limited quantities. Bring or plan to purchase locally your own baby furniture, tools, china, linens, glassware, shower curtains, pillows, special office furniture (computer desk or printer stand), small appliances (toasters, coffeepots, irons, etc.), and kitchenware. Small 220-volt electrical appliances are widely available, but prices can be slightly higher than in the U.S.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:42 AM

All quarters have central split-unit A/C and heaters in bedrooms and main living areas. Kitchens, bathrooms, and storage rooms are not climate controlled. Most cooking is by electric range oven, but a few units have gas ranges. Standard electric power is 220v, 50Hz. While electricity is generally reliable, Pretoria residents have experienced outages as the infrastructure has become older and is not equal to increased demand. The Embassy provides three transformers per home; additional transformers can be purchased on the local market. Adapter plugs can be found at most electronics stores in Pretoria. (Employees are advised that some 110v/60Hz items such as record players, clocks, and hair clippers often will not operate correctly even when used with a transformer unless other adjustments are made.) A power-surge regulator is recommended for personal computers. The U.S. Government pays to install a telephone line in each home. The occupant pays the service charges including a basic monthly rental and metering charges for all outgoing calls (local, long distance and international). In addition to the land line, a personal cell phone is highly recommended for security reasons. The U.S. Government pays all other utilities (electricity, water, and garbage removal) for all homes.

Food Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:43 AM

Basic foods, locally produced baby foods and infant formulas are all available. Baby food is widely available; however, most dried cereals contain sugars. Fresh fruit and vegetables of all kinds are available year round. Dairy products, including butter, cheeses, eggs, whole and low-fat milk are all readily available. If employees wish to have their familiar brands on hand they are encouraged to ship American brands in their HHE. However, several good quality South African and British brands are available in the major metropolitan cities. South African and imported coffees and teas are excellent and comparable in price to those sold in the U.S. Soft drinks (e.g. Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta) are widely available. Mexican foods have also become available at most grocery stores. Most spices are available, however, the gourmet chef may wish to bring a supply of familiar brands and varieties. White and brown sugars are both coarse, with the exception of powdered sugar, which is equivalent to that sold in the States. Pancake syrups are limited in variety, and the quality is not as good as that available in the States. A selection of imported cake mixes, bread mixes, pancake mixes, pie crusts, and crumbs are available at certain supermarkets, but again this may be something you want to bring. Graham crackers, solid shortening (Crisco), corn syrup, real vanilla, stick cinnamon, and pumpkin pie filling are not available, but substitutes can be found. Meats (beef, pork, lamb, chicken) are plentiful and reasonably priced. Seafood is widely available in coastal cities and is shipped (fresh or frozen) into inland areas. Turkey products are becoming more popular. Turkeys are available (small fresh or frozen medium or large) during the holidays in November and December. Most stores carry a variety of 10-20 breakfast cereals, including some familiar Kellogg's and Post products. Many families supplement local purchases with periodic shipments from the States. Liquor, beer, and wine (both domestic and international) are widely available and reasonably priced. South Africa has achieved international recognition for the high quality of its wines. To satisfy cravings for U.S. products, several on-line shopping services will ship most items via diplomatic pouch; unfortunately, liquids are prohibited.

Clothing Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:43 AM

South African men and women dress similarly to Americans and Europeans, but shoe and clothing sizes differ. Imported stylish European shoes are available, although at a much higher cost. American shoe widths, especially narrow, are limited. Persons with small or very large feet may have difficulty finding shoes that fit. The quality of South African shoes, including children's shoes, is poorer than that found in the States. Although a heavy winter coat is not necessary, nighttime temperatures in the winter can fall to freezing in Pretoria and Johannesburg and below freezing in the mountains. All-weather coats or wraps are a good investment. Men's styles follow current trends. Wool and lightweight business suits are common. Winter wear is needed for three to four months of the year. Businessmen typically wear suits or sports jackets and slacks. Dress shirts are available, however short-sleeved shirts are often of lesser quality. Tuxedos and dinner jackets are rarely used but can be rented if needed. Generally, women's clothing is similar to that worn in Western U.S. cities. Hosiery is of a lesser quality than that available in the States, sizes are different, and prices are high. Ladies should therefore bring an ample supply with them or order on-line. There are few occasions when evening gowns are needed; cocktail dresses and/or pantsuits are more commonly worn. Accessories and undergarments are available, but sizes may vary and the quality may not compare to that found in the States. Children's clothing is available, but it is expensive and the quality is questionable. Many employees bring needed clothing items with them or purchase them through the many U.S. catalogues available in the CLO Office.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:47 AM

Toiletries, household supplies, medicines, and prescription drugs are in good supply, however some familiar U.S. brands may not be available. Cosmetics and perfumes (mostly imported) are expensive unless purchased in a duty-free shop. Paper and plastic products (tissue, napkins, foil, freezer bags, etc.) are of variable quality. Many brands of disposable diapers are available, with quality comparable to those sold in the U.S. Disposable baby bottle liners are not available. Locally made toys, such as those found at Toys R Us, are expensive. Because of that, many Americans shop through catalogues.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:45 AM

Many domestics are experienced and proficient while others speak limited English and require highly specific instructions. Well-trained cooks command good wages and are rarely available. Less experienced cooks require considerable instruction in preparing and serving food. Some domestics are accustomed to performing only the tasks for which they are hired. A good cook, for example, would not be expected to perform cleaning and laundry tasks. Most people employ domestics who are not specialists but who perform a variety of tasks. Depending upon representational responsibilities, family size and individual preferences, some personnel hire full-time, live-in domestics, while others prefer to hire part-time help. Extra pay is common for special occasions such as receptions. In addition to a full-time domestic, most families employ a gardener or contract with a gardening service. Increasingly, houses do not have live-in servant's quarters. The Embassy expects all of its employees to pay their domestics, gardeners, nannies, or other help an adequate living wage. See the CLO upon arrival for current recommended salaries and benefits and for information on laws applicable to domestics. Besides wages, employers provide live-in domestics with room and board, basic furniture, linens, and an electric heater. Some homes have separate servant quarters. The new labor laws address unemployment, vacation, and sick/disability benefits that are due domestic workers. The public health system generally is adequate for taking care of domestic employee needs.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:48 AM

The immense variety apparent in South Africa's people and culture is also reflected in the number of religious denominations. The following congregations can all be found within the vicinity of Pretoria: Anglican, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Charismatic, Christian Scientist, Church of Christ, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Church of Scientology, Congregational, Dutch Reformed (Afrikaans), Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Lutheran (German), Methodist, Muslim, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist, Wesleyan, Unitarian. Most conduct services in English.

Education Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:49 AM

For more information on schools, please contact the CLO office.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 10/29/2003 6:14 AM

Education October 2003

The American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ), which many mission children attend, is located midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is situated on 67 acres of rolling hills. The school was established in 1982 and is a non-profit institution. AISJ is one of two schools in the area that offers a U.S. curriculum and school calendar (school year from August to June) for kindergarten through 12th grade. AISJ has an outstanding student-teacher ratio of one teacher to ten students. A limited program of physical education and sports activities is offered. If you have a child with special needs, please contact the school as soon as possible for information regarding the availability of programs for your child. The website for the school is: Contact the school directly by telephone, 27-11-464-1505, or by fax, 27-11-464-1327. Enrollment for the 2003/2004 school year is approximately 460 students.The American International School of Johannesburg at Pretoria opened a satellite school in Pretoria in 2001. This campus offers kindergarten through the fifth grade and is located on Schoemann Street across the street from the Embassy. Enrollment for the 2003/2004 school year is 38. The telephone number of the school is (012) 344-6242. Site Coordinator: Ben Weinberg (e-mail: North American International School (NAIS) in Pretoria was established in 2001 and offers pre-school through the seventh grade. The school plans to add a grade each year. NAIS is located a few blocks from the Embassy and offers the North Carolina curriculum. If you have a child with special needs, please contact the school as soon as possible for information regarding the availability of programs for your child. They can be reached on (012) 430-5466 for help with enquires and admissions. Website: Director: Ken Baucom (e-mail: a few Mission dependent children attend private South African schools in the area. The South African school system follows the United Kingdom Standard form of schooling. Some are coeducational, most are single sex. The South African school year begins in mid-January and ends in early December. Students transferring from a U.S. curriculum based school need to be cognizant of the difference in school year start times. The away-from-post education allowance is the same as the at-post-allowance for those considering boarding schools. Please refer to the standardized regulations for the latest information on the use of the post allowance for schools away from post. The American schools run on a mid-August to early June American calendar while the South African schools begin their new school year in January and end in late November. South African Schools:In addition to the American schools, Embassy personnel have used the following private South African schools:· Crawford offers classes from Grades 0-12 and high school culminates with the South African Matric and the International Higher Equivalent Certificate. Their telephone number is (012) 344-1886. Website: · Hatfield Christian School: (012) 361-1182· St. Mary’s DSG is an all-girls Anglican school and offers classes to 800 girls from grades 0-12. DSG has maintained an excellent academic standard in the IEB examinations. The phone number is (012) 362-1352. ( · St. Alban’s College is the all-boy equivalent of St. Mary’s. Their telephone number is (012) 348-1221.Other Local Schools:· Pretoria High School for Girls, Park Street, Arcadia. Pretoria High School is an academic school with the majority of pupils following the South African Matriculation Exemption course. It caters for a maximum of 1350 girls from Grades 8 – 12. The telephone number is (012) 430-7341; Fax: (012) 342-1955 (· Pretoria Boys’ High School, Roper Street, Brooklyn. This is the all-boy equivalent of Pretoria High School for Girls. Grades 8-12 (13-18 years old) (012) 460-2246 ( Universities· The University of Pretoria, Lynnwood Rd, Hatfield. (012) 420-2720 Web page is the largest residential university in South Africa with 12 faculties 550 academic programs and more than 23,000 students. As an internationally recognized academic institution the University of Pretoria provides teaching, research and community service of the highest standard. The University offers students an academic home where they receive education in both English and Afrikaans.· University of South Africa (UNISA), Muckleneuk Ridge. Box 392 TA UNISA (012) 429-3657 Web page is one of the largest distance- education universities in the world, with more than 20,000 students throughout the world and six faculties. President Mandela completed a degree from UNISA while on Robben Island. It is possible to register for individual courses, or pursue a graduate or undergraduate degree upon the presentation of the required credentials. · University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Spread over more than 100 hectares in Johannesburg, Wits University is an urban, comprehensive university which has a distinctive capacity to contribute to the reconstruction and development of South Africa through research and the production of skilled, critical and adaptable graduates. With more than 100,000 graduates in its 80-year history, Wits has made and will continue to make its mark nationally and internationally. For more information, please contact the CLO office.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:50 AM For more information on schools, please contact the CLO office.

International Elementary and Secondary Schools In the Pretoria/Johannesburg area, there are three elementary schools and one high school that offer an American curriculum and school year (August to June). Employees who have a child with special needs should contact the schools for specific information. The American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ) is a fully accredited school offering instruction in grades pre-K through 12. It is situated on 67 acres of rolling hills midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and was established in 1982 as a non-profit institution. AISJ maintains a student-teacher ratio of ten to one, and had an enrollment of 460 students during the 2003-04 school year. AISJ provides a standard American high school curriculum, the International Baccalaureate Diploma, and the I.B. certificate program. It offers a limited program of physical education. The school can be contacted by phone at 27-11-464-1505, or by fax at 27-11-464-1327. The website is The American International School of Johannesburg at Pretoria, which opened in 2001, is a satellite campus of AISJ. The school offers grades pre-K through 5 and is located close to the Embassy. Enrollment for the 2003-04 school year was 50; some 30% of the students were American, with Israelis, Indians, Dutch, and British well represented. The student-teacher ratio is eight to one, with no class exceeding 17 students. The school uses flexible student groups, meaning that grades for some subjects are combined. The curriculum used is American but geared toward an international student body. Employees may contact Site Coordinator Ben Weinberg by phone at 27-12-344-6242 or by e-mail at The North American International School (NAIS) was established in 2001. It now teaches grades Pre-K through 8. Located a few blocks from the Embassy, the school uses the State of North Carolina curriculum and maintains a student-teacher ratio of ten to one. Enrollment for the 2003-04 school year was 52 students, of whom 80% were American. Employees can contact the school by phone at 27-12-430-5466. The website is The Director, Dr. Ken Baucom, can be reached via e-mail at South African Education A number of Mission children attend private South African schools, most of which are single-sex schools. The South African school year begins in early January and ends in late November, and students transferring from a U.S. curriculum-based school need to be aware of the difference in school years. Please note that college in South Africa usually refers to high school while university refers to higher education. For those considering South African secondary schools, a full exploration and understanding of the South African matriculation system is necessary. The manner in which subject material is arranged and taught is significantly different from the U.S. system. This can cause learning problems for some students, and it poses problems when applying to American universities, as it is difficult to competitively compare a student's accomplishments in the South African system with those in the American system. The current South African curriculum contains elements of the traditional British system. American students would enter the two-year matriculation process in January at Standard 9, which corresponds to the British Form IV, or to grade 11 in the U.S. system. Standard 10 is the matriculation year that is in preparation for and followed by entry into a local university. The regular matriculation course of study includes English, a physical science, a foreign language, a social science, mathematics, and minor courses such as art and physical education. The manner in which subjects are presented requires an adaptation by American students. Rather than studying algebra, geometry, and trigonometry in separate courses, they are studied as one integrated unit with advancing stages of difficulty each year. A particular school might require the study of a specific foreign language or social science because it is the one offered. World history, focusing on South African and European history, is a course that extends through the 2-year matriculation period. Local schools do not teach American history, which is required for high school graduation in the U.S. Matriculation courses are generally taught through lecture, rather than through seminars or projects. Students take extensive notes and are given frequent examinations that weigh heavily in determining final grades. The percentage grading system used in the schools must be explained to U.S. universities. In some high school courses, for example, 40% can be a passing grade and 75%-80% is frequently considered meritorious.

South African Schools Those interested in South African schools might consult the following websites. The Pretoria branch of Crawford College, located near the USAID annex, has over 500 students. Classes, ranging from K-12, are divided into pre-preparatory, preparatory and college. High school culminates with the South African Matriculation and the International Higher Equivalent Certificate. The website is Hatfield Christian School operates under the auspices of Hatfield Christian Church. The school's policy statement says, "...all policy decisions are embarked upon from a biblical perspective". The website is St. Mary's Diocesan School for Girls is an all-girls, Anglican school offering classes to 800 students in grades K-12. The website is St. Alban's College is an all-boys, Anglican secondary school offering classes to 500 students. The website is Pretoria High School for Girls, established in 1902, has 1350 girls are enrolled in grades 8 -12. The website is Pretoria Boys' High School, established in 1910, has 1525 boys enrolled in grades 8 -12. The website is


Dependent Education

Away From Post Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:51 AM For those considering boarding schools, the away-from-post education allowance is the same as the at-post-allowance. Please refer to the Standardized Regulations for the maximum amount covered.


Special Needs Education Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:51 AM

The Pretoria Preparatory School for children (ages 5-13), UNICA, Prinshof School for the Blind, Sonitus, and the New Hope School are among the schools available for children with special needs in Pretoria. Bellavista, Casa Do Sol, Cedarwood, Crosswoods, and Delta Park serve children with special needs in Johannesburg. In Cape Town, Bel Porto, the Glendale School and Tafelberg are schools available to serve special needs students. The Browne, Golden Hours and Kenmont Schools serve special needs children in Durban. Post completed a survey of South African schools catering to special needs students in 2003. The survey is available from the State Department's Office of Overseas Schools, or Embassy Pretoria's Community Liaison Office.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:52 AM

South African Universities Admission to South African universities is based on stringent matriculation examinations. The universities do not have programs of general studies during the first 2 years as in American universities, but require specialization for the entire 3-year course, after which the bachelor degree is awarded. "Honors," the completed fourth year of university instruction, provides the equivalent of a 4-year U.S. bachelor's degree. A number of Mission dependents have attended South African Universities. The University of Pretoria is the largest residential university in South Africa. It is an internationally recognized academic institution offering courses in either English or Afrikaans. The website is University of South Africa (UNISA) is one of the largest correspondence universities in the world. Former President Mandela completed a degree from UNISA while imprisoned on Robben Island. It is possible to register for individual courses or pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree upon presentation of the required credentials. The website is University of the Witwatersrand is located in Johannesburg. Known informally as Wits, the school is an urban, comprehensive university with a strong emphasis on research. The website is

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:52 AM

South Africa is one of the finest areas of the world for participant sports. There are good golf courses throughout the country. Top quality equipment is readily available but somewhat more expensive than in the U.S. Employees who enjoy golf should plan to dress conservatively on the greens and include an ample supply of golf balls in their shipment as the local cost is triple the U.S. price. Golf clubs can be purchased locally at competitive prices. Many Embassy houses have outdoor pools that can be used about eight months of the year. Some families purchase special water-heating equipment that can prolong the swimming season another two months. Weekend hunting, fishing, mountain climbing and water-rafting trips are available seasonally. Along the coastal areas, surfing, scuba diving, and sailing are popular. Many mineral baths are located in the surrounding areas, offering families a nice retreat. Fresh water swimming is not recommended because of the danger of contracting schistosomiasis. A popular participant sport among senior members of the local community is lawn bowling. Ten-pin bowling is available in the larger metropolitan areas. The most popular spectator sports are soccer, cricket, rugby and horseracing. Squash facilities are available at several country and health clubs. The latter offer memberships for approximately $39 per month per adult, with off-peak memberships costing $23. Tennis courts, both private and public, are available in and around metropolitan cities, with many having minimal membership or court fees. Colored attire is acceptable. Tennis rackets and balls cost more than in the U.S.; re-stringing services are at reasonable prices. Many family members sign up for private lessons, as the cost is modest. A diplomatic tennis tournament takes place each year in Pretoria. Several horseback riding facilities are located in the area. Lessons are available for all ages with costs somewhat lower than in the U.S. In Pretoria, there is a Community Center adjacent to the Ambassador's residence for use by Mission personnel. The facilities include a swimming pool, tennis court, children's play equipment, kitchen, barbecue areas, picnic tables, lavatories, and showers.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:52 AM

South Africa has many national parks, including the famous Kruger National Park located along the Mozambican border in the northeastern corner of the country. Several game reserves, including Pilanesberg National Park, are closer to Pretoria and can be visited on a one-day excursion. And, Pretoria and Johannesburg both have good zoos. Although hunting in the national parks is forbidden, a wide variety of game can be hunted on private hunting farms. Hunting migratory waterfowl is prohibited. The required hunting permit can usually be obtained through the organization arranging the hunting safari. Rifle and shotgun ammunition is available at U.S. prices. Camping (caravanning, as it is known in South Africa) is a popular activity with many South Africans; equipment is readily available everywhere. Excellent terrain for hiking and mountain climbing is found in parks throughout the country. Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have excellent freshwater fishing in the streams and reservoirs scattered throughout the area. Trout fishing farms abound. Saltwater fishing is a favorite pastime along South Africa's eastern and southern coasts. Many locations allow for surf or rock fishing, and charter trips may be arranged for big game fishing. Fishing equipment is available locally and is priced comparably to similar equipment in the U.S. Scuba diving is also very popular in South Africa and lessons are reasonably priced. The coastline offers a wide variety of diving sites, including the possibility of viewing sharks from inside the protection of a steel diving cage. Snow skiing is possible at the Tiffendell resort in the southern Drakensberg Mountains, a resort that opened in 1993. Visiting Tiffendell requires a long 6-hour drive west from Durban or an 8-hour journey south of Johannesburg. The slopes are not challenging for those beyond the beginner or low intermediate stages, and the resort uses a rope tow and poma lift. The final ascent to the resort can only be traversed with a 4-wheel drive vehicle, although a shuttle service is available from the valley floor to the ski resort. With overnight accommodations available for only 130 guests, Tiffendell is usually fully booked during July and August, though it has capacity for another 250 day visitors. More information is available at the resort's website ( Accommodations, restaurants, and shops cater to tourists in all price brackets. During peak periods, reservations should be made months in advance. Since standards vary, travelers should inquire about the availability of heating or air conditioning before booking.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:53 AM

Professional theater, ballet, concerts and opera are all available at prices cheaper than in the U.S. Art exhibits and craft shows are held almost each weekend in various venues throughout the major metropolitan areas. Movie theaters and several drive-ins show first-run American movies.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 11/30/1999 6:00 PM

All staff members are expected to assist the Chief of Mission and senior officers as needed in entertaining foreign guests and official visitors. Along with the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission, senior officers (Counselors and Agency Heads) have the most representational responsibility. All officers are expected to do their share in representing the Mission in South Africa. Funding is made available to all State Department sections to carry out representational responsibilities.

Only senior officers are expected to make formal calls on members of the Government and diplomatic or consular corps, but all diplomatic and senior personnel should bring 100 calling cards or have them printed at post (easily available).

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:54 AM Social activities are primarily family-oriented with outings, braais (barbecues), and informal dinner parties preferred. Children's birthday parties are festive occasions, with swimming parties, jumping castles, and visits to children's playlands as favorite forms of celebration. Adults usually enjoy casual at-home entertainment or dining out with friends. There are some fine restaurants in Pretoria and Durban, but Johannesburg and Cape Town offer the widest culinary selection. Social Clubs There are three active, American-oriented social clubs in the area: the International Women's Club of Pretoria, the American International Women's Club of Johannesburg, and the American Society of South Africa. The latter is open to both men and women. A wide variety of South African clubs and social groups are open to Americans. Some examples include quilting, sailing, biking, doll making, running, playing bridge, and motorcycling. There is a clubhouse where duplicate bridge is played six days a week.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:55 AM Senior members of the Mission staff entertain host country and foreign nationals and often receive reciprocal invitations. Other personnel extend hospitality to non-Americans based on their own wishes. Many opportunities exist for social interaction with South Africans and other foreign nationals.

Official Functions Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:56 AM

All staff members are expected to assist the Chief of Mission and senior officers as needed in entertaining foreign guests and official visitors. Along with the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission, senior officers (Counselors and Agency Heads) have the most representational responsibilities. All officers are expected to do their share in representing the Mission in South Africa. Funding is made available to all State Department sections to carry out representational responsibilities. Unless dress is specified, a dark business suit for men or a dress for women is appropriate for most occasions. Clothes for black-tie functions are seldom required, and can be rented locally. Informal (or smart casual) dress includes a sport jacket for men and either pants or a dress for women. Most entertaining is done on a casual basis either at home or at a local restaurant.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 11/30/1999 6:00 PM

All staff members are expected to assist the Chief of Mission and senior officers as needed in entertaining foreign guests and official visitors. Along with the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission, senior officers (Counselors and Agency Heads) have the most representational responsibility. All officers are expected to do their share in representing the Mission in South Africa. Funding is made available to all State Department sections to carry out representational responsibilities.

Only senior officers are expected to make formal calls on members of the Government and diplomatic or consular corps, but all diplomatic and senior personnel should bring 100 calling cards or have them printed at post (easily available).

Special Information Last Updated: 11/30/1999 6:00 PM

Post Orientation Program

New arrivals receive a Welcome Packet with information on housing, schools, area tourism as well as administrative notices of interest to new employees and their families. The Community Liaison Office has prepared an information booklet that serves as an invaluable guide to life in Pretoria and surrounding areas. An Orientation Program familiarizes newcomers to the operation of the Embassy. Embassy officers are invited to participate in the orientation and brief the newcomer and family members on Mission functions. While English is only one of the eleven official languages of the country, it is the most broadly useful and will serve in the vast majority of settings. A knowledge of Afrikaans is not required to carry on daily business or social contacts, although it can be useful. Being able to speak a few courtesy phrases in Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Afrikaans or Tswana will warm hearts and open social doors. While the Embassy has no at-post language program, there are limited language tapes available.

Consulate General - Cape Town

Post City Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:39 AM

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The sea and mountains come together to create "The Fairest Cape in the Whole Circumference of the Earth," as Sir Francis Drake described it in the 16th century. Today Cape Town is a busy city with many of the advantages of a first-world economy and infrastructure, while its outskirts exhibit many aspects typical of a large developing city. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers (November through February) and cool, wet winters (June through August). Except for frequent strong winds, the weather is seldom extreme. Sweaters, rain gear and jackets are needed in the winter; temperatures can fall to 40°F. The lack of central heating in most homes intensifies the effects of the damp winters, when snow occasionally falls in the mountains north of the city. Spring brings a riot of wild flowers to the area, while in autumn the numerous orchards and vineyards in the region turn red-orange. The Khoi-Khoi and San peoples ("Hottentots" and Bushmen in colonial-era parlance) lived in the Cape Town area for millennia prior to the arrival of Dutch settlers in 1652. The Dutch East Indies Company developed Cape Town as a "seaward-looking caravansary on the periphery of the global spice trade." Many old buildings and farmhouses, built in the Cape Dutch style of architecture, link modern Cape Town with its historic past. The British controlled the Cape off and on from 1795 until 1910, when Cape Town became the seat of parliament for the Union of South Africa. From colonial times through the 1948-94 apartheid era, Robben Island, located in Cape Town's Table Bay, was an infamous penal colony housing many political prisoners, including former President Nelson Mandela. According to the 2001 census, some 2.9 million people live in Cape Town, which serves as South Africa's parliamentary capital as well as the capital of the Western Cape Province. About half (48%) of the city's population is "colored" (mixed race), 32% is "black", and 19% is "white". English predominates, but Afrikaans and Xhosa are also widely spoken. Approximately 5,000 Americans live in the consular district, with some 1,000 in the greater Cape Town area. Cape Town's economy is based on financial services (banking and insurance), light industry (textiles, food processing), shipping, fishing, and tourism. Cape Town has become a major international tourist destination. Opportunities for active visitors include mountain climbing, hiking, road running, fishing, golf, bird and whale watching, horseback riding, cycling, surfing, diving, and swimming (although the ocean is quite cold). Cape Town offers a wide variety of cultural events, including theater, concerts, art exhibitions, and first-run movies. World-class botanical gardens and national parks complement the scenic wine country near the city. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, somewhat akin to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, boasts more than 200 upscale retail outlets, restaurants and clubs.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:40 AM

Consulate General Cape Town serves a consular district made up of the Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape Provinces - a region comprising more than half the total area of South Africa. The Ambassador maintains a residence in Cape Town as well as in Pretoria. The Consulate General, including offices of the Foreign Commercial Service and USDA/APHIS, is located on the 4th and 7th floors of the Broadway Industries Center, Heerengracht, Foreshore, Cape Town. In addition, the Office of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) maintains a presence on the construction site of the new Consulate building. The local mailing address is P.O. Box 6773, Roggebaai 8012, Cape Town. Office hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday; telephone number is (27)(21) 421-4280, fax (27)(21) 418-1989. The Consulate is currently located in the downtown business district and is within walking distance of the main train station, bus stops, the waterfront, and Parliament buildings. In 2005, the Consulate is expected to relocate to the suburban area of Westlake, about 25 minutes south of the city center. Taxi service is available within the city and from Cape Town International Airport, located 30 minutes east of downtown. Travelers should advise the Consulate General of their travel plans in advance so that transportation from the airport can be arranged.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:41 AM

Every effort is made to ensure that new arrivals move directly into permanent housing. Should it be necessary, temporary housing will be provided in government-leased quarters or a good quality hotel.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:41 AM

The housing pool consists of a mixture of U.S. Government-owned and leased houses and apartments. The U.S. Government owns residences for the Ambassador, Consul General and Marine Security Guard Detachment plus 3 other residences for staff. The Office of Overseas Buildings Operations in Rosslyn, Virginia has pictures of and descriptions of furnishings for these residences. Residences of the Ambassador and Consul General are equipped with china, crystal, silverware, major kitchen appliances and utensils. Other residences are fully furnished and equipped with ranges, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, vacuum cleaner, washers and dryers. Post does not provide linens, china, glassware, kitchen utensils, pots, pans, irons, TVs or radios. Two space heaters are provided where needed; most houses do not have air-conditioning.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:41 AM

Electrical current in Cape Town is 220v, 2-wire, 50hz-cycle, AC, with each unit protected by a third or earth-ground wire. Post provides 2 step-up transformers per household. It is recommended that home computer users bring an Uninterrupted Power Supply unit. Home internet service providers and direct satellite television (DSTV) services are available. As local VCR's and DVD's utilize the European PAL system, it is advisable to bring a multi-system TV and players/recorders or purchase locally, where they are available at lower prices than in the U.S.

Food Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:42 AM

Good quality meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, vegetables, seasonal fruit and breads are readily available. The larger Cape Town supermarkets are akin to Safeways in U.S., though with more limited choices. Paper and plastic products, toiletries, pet food, and children's products are available. There are several small supermarkets specializing in Asian, Italian, German, Indian, and other ethnic food products. While almost everything can be found locally, U.S. brand names are limited and often more expensive; for that reason, it is advisable to bring favorite cosmetics and medicines. Clothing and shoe stores follow European sizes, with fashions trailing the U.S. and Europe by a season.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:42 AM

The Consulate has no medical unit. Local dental, eye-care, and medical services including hospitals, specialists, nursing care and emergency rooms are excellent and easy to access. There are several U.S.-style indoor malls where one can find clothing, shoes, gifts, cinemas, post offices, photo developers, dry cleaners, beauty salons, household items and furniture. Books, music and toys are more expensive than in the U.S. Internet service and mobile phones for personal use are available on a contract basis. Some personnel order goods via the internet; however, it should be noted that diplomatic pouch restrictions apply. Post has no APO; local mail service is efficient but not always secure. Bring a supply of US stamps in a variety of denominations. Most personnel do not maintain a local bank account, as transaction fees can be costly. While major US credit cards are accepted locally and there are automatic teller machines, they must be used with a mind towards security.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:43 AM

Most personnel employ a full- or part-time, live-in or -out maid depending on family size and living quarters. Au pairs, nannies, cooks and babysitting services are available. Families occupying a house may require a part-time gardener and a pool service. Personnel who hire household staff are expected to comply with all aspects of South African labor law pertaining to domestic staff.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:43 AM

Services of most of the major religions can be found in Cape Town. There are numerous Christian churches and bible societies, Jewish synagogues, Hindu temples, and mosques and madrassas serving the largest concentration of Muslims in South Africa. Roman Catholic, Anglican, non-denominational Christian, African Methodist Episcopal, evangelical/Pentecostal/charismatic, Church of the Latter Day Saints, and Orthodox Christian are among the Christian churches found in Cape Town. There are Jewish, Christian and Muslim bookstores carrying religious books, music and gifts. Religious services are broadcasts by radio and television. Both halaal and kosher food are available.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:44 AM Quality education is available in both public and private school settings, covering nursery to tertiary level instruction; limited boarding facilities are also available. Unless otherwise stated, instruction is in English and the education system approximates that of Great Britain. Schools operate from mid-January through mid-December, except for the American International School of Cape Town, which runs on the northern hemisphere school calendar and utilizes a U.S.-based curriculum. The South African school year consists of 4 terms, each lasting about 10 weeks; the main summer break is from mid-December through mid-January. There may be difficulties securing openings during the northern summer transfer season and an assessment may be required to determine appropriate grade placement. Families with school-aged children assigned to Cape Town should contact the administrative section at post as soon as possible. Afrikaans language study, beginning in grade 5, is required in all public and most private schools in the Western Cape; exceptions are given to temporary residents in most private schools. The most commonly offered second languages are French, German, and Xhosa. Most schools do not offer American History or Spanish. Some schools cater to gifted children and those with mild to moderate learning disabilities; however, most schools rely on external, privately funded resources, depending on the needs of the child. Limited services exist for the mentally retarded and the physically disabled, including cerebral palsied, deaf and blind children. Very few options exist for older youth presenting with behavioral difficulties or autism. Except for nursery schools, the majority of schools require winter and summer uniforms, which are purchased locally. Most schools do not offer transportation.


Dependent Education

Away From Post Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:44 AM Those who send their children away from post usually send them to the U.S. or Europe.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:44 AM

Many adult classes at institutions such as the University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Stellenbosch offer instruction in the typical range of university studies, including various degree courses. Compared with American universities, the full-time annual tuition is inexpensive for a university of fairly high academic standards. The Cape Technikon (Technical College) offers a wide selection of courses in the fields of commerce/management, information technology, marketing, engineering, design, science, and hotel management/tourism. Personnel can usually arrange enrollment without difficulty. A nominal fee is charged and English is the language of instruction. Non-degreed courses are available in smaller institutions offering specialized instruction, such as cooking, art and photography.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:45 AM

Cape Town offers excellent facilities for outdoor activities and sports, such as road running, triathlon, hiking, mountain climbing, skydiving, surf sailing, camping, bird and whale watching, tennis, golf, running, horseback riding, cycling, scuba diving, surfing, canoeing, and kayaking. Hunting is available in the Eastern Cape Province. Cape Town is host to several international-level sporting events including the Cape Argus Cycle Tour and the Two Oceans Marathon. Local sports gyms and recreational clubs have modern equipment and classes and are easy to join. There are several country clubs featuring golf and tennis, where personnel can obtain membership; however, initial fees for these clubs are substantial. There are also sports clubs featuring youth baseball, soccer, women's softball, swimming, rugby, cricket, netball, and lawn bowls. There is a local basketball league. Cape Town has two yacht clubs, dragon boat racing clubs, and hundreds of small boat enthusiasts. One yacht club is headquartered in the port basin; the other is located 13 miles from Cape Town on a 600-acre freshwater lake. The Cape is unique in providing opportunities for both cold and warm water fishing. The wide range of fish around the reefs and beaches of the peninsula coastline provides excellent sport for anglers. Reasonably good freshwater fishing is also available. Sports equipment is available for rent and purchase although at prices higher than in the U.S.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:45 AM

Cape Town boasts some of the finest restaurants and hotels on the continent. In contrast to the northern reaches of the country, which offers more variety with respect to game viewing, the Western Cape offers pristine beaches, mountains and winelands, all within easy reach of the city. Especially during the warmer months of November to March, the region is a popular tourist destination. There are outdoor concerts and theater performances, craft, flea, and antique markets, wineries, jazz and arts festivals and many opportunities for recreation. Off the beaten track, camping, fishing and hiking are popular, and there are "self-catering" facilities for lower budget trips. For children, Cape Town has an amusement park, aquarium, penguin colony and many play parks. Families touring with small children should check beforehand whether a particular hotel caters to children.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:45 AM

The people of Cape Town are friendly and hospitable. This may create extra social obligations for consular officers, but these do not become arduous. The Consul General and Deputy Principal Officer lead an active social life that will often include their spouses. All employees will find a welcome from Capetonians, and events vary from informal barbeques at home (known as a "braai" in South Africa) to cocktail receptions and dinner parties. Dress is typically either business attire or smart casual. The active International Women's Club provides an avenue for spouses to participate further in social and charitable activities. The growing reputation of Cape Town's film industry provides unique opportunities to become involved as extras in movies and advertisements.

Official Functions Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:46 AM

Cape Town's infrastructure, services, climate and scenery make it an attractive destination for official visitors and conferences. While this adds to the normal workload of a medium-sized post, all levels of personnel work together to support the many Congressional delegations, trade missions, visits by senior administration officials, and regional conferences. The Consulate also supports the frequent visits of official Embassy Pretoria staff.

Special Information Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:46 AM

Spousal Employment: Most spouses who want to work do so within the Consulate where there are a handful of full- and part-time jobs. Along with the aid of the Local Employment Advisor (LEA) from Embassy Pretoria, Cape Town participates in the Strategic Networking Assistance Program (SNAP), which aims to find employment on the local economy. Local wages are significantly less than those offered for comparable work in the U.S.

Consulate General - Durban

Post City Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:16 AM

Durban, once famed as the "last outpost of the British Empire," today is the commercial, transport and vacation center of southeastern South Africa. The city lies at the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the largest population at 9.4 million. The metropolitan area, now called the eThekwini Municipality, has a population of 3.1 million. Durban is located 437 miles southeast of Pretoria (7 hours by road or 1 hour by air) and 1,108 miles northeast of Cape Town. It is the second largest city after Johannesburg and the fastest growing in South Africa, with a population growth rate similar to that of Mexico City or Lima. Renowned as a tourist resort center, Durban is equally important as the largest international port in all of Africa, as an industrial commercial center, and as a center of a thriving agricultural area. Although sometimes hot and humid, the year round subtropical climate and long stretch of beaches combine to make the coast of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) a popular resort area. Numerous cultures and subcultures co-exist within the city. The major ethnic/racial groupings include "blacks", comprising 68.3% of the population, "Asians" (19.9%), "whites" (8.9%), and "coloreds" (2.8%). The Zulus are the predominant cultural group. Many people of British origin live in Durban, though in recent years more Afrikaans speakers have settled there, attracted by warmer weather and lower prices. As with major South African cities, former racial barriers remain evident in housing and schooling, but access to public facilities is fully open. Americans in the Durban Consular district (comprising all of KZN) number approximately 2,000 persons, of whom one-third live in Durban. These Americans are primarily retired or American children of South African citizens, academics, and businessmen. Americans residing elsewhere in KZN are largely engaged in missionary work.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:16 AM

The U.S. Government offices in Durban include the Consulate General and Foreign Commercial Services. Both are located on the 30th and 31st floors in Old Mutual Centre on West Street in the central business district. The office phone number is [27]-(31)-305-7600 and the fax number is [27]-(31)-305-7650 for international calls. The Information Resource Center (IRC) is located on the 30th floor of Old Mutual Centre. The staff consists of the Consul General, five officers and local employees. Office hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday. The Durban International Airport is located 20 minutes southwest of the office. Most major cities in the region are served from Durban via direct airline connections, including hourly flights to Johannesburg and several flights daily to Cape Town. Durban administers the shipping operation for most goods arriving by sea for U.S. Government addresses in southern Africa. Housing Temporary Quarters The Consulate General does not maintain temporary quarters. Employees stay at one of Durban's many excellent hotels or holiday apartments until permanent housing is available.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:17 AM

Post maintains a housing pool in the suburbs of Durban along the North Coast. These are quiet residential neighborhoods 15-30 minutes away from the Consulate. In addition to beachfront attractions, there are several nearby shopping districts, including one of South Africa's largest retail malls. The residences are principally single-family homes, many with views of the Indian Ocean. These typically have yards that are average-to-large, swimming pools, and two-car garages. Post also maintains a small number of apartments in gated communities with community pools. The U.S. Government owns homes for the Consul General and one officer. The Consul General's home, Lincoln House, sits atop a high hill overlooking the Indian Ocean. The grounds are over 2.5 acres and include a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, a large flagstone terrace and a braai (barbecue) area for entertaining. Floor plans and descriptions of furnishings are on file with the Office of Foreign Buildings in Washington, D.C. Other personnel occupy government-leased and furnished housing.


Furnishings Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:28 AM

See Pretoria


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:28 AM

Electric current is 220 volts, 2 wire, 50 cycle, single phase, AC. For other information on Utilities and Equipment see Pretoria.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:29 AM The division of schooling into standards parallels the British system. South African education is different from American education because of the former's rigid curriculum requirements and strict policies governing behavior and appearance. Adjustments, particularly in the upper grades, may be difficult for American students. South Africa's school year starts in January and ends the first week of December, but children are accepted at any time. School uniforms are compulsory for boys and girls. There are many excellent private schools for girls or boys (ages 8-18) and a few coed options. Several outstanding English-model boarding schools are located inland within an hour of Durban. The private schools are expensive but standards are high. Semi-public and some public schools offer good alternatives to private institutions and are considerably less expensive. Primary schools up to and including Standard V or grade 7 charge minimal fees. At the high school level, some nominal fees are charged in government schools. High schools offer a five-year course culminating in the matriculation examination. Passing this examination qualifies a student for admission to a university. Students are required to take Afrikaans or Zulu in many schools. Athletics, including cricket, rugby, swimming and track, are usually included as part of the curriculum for boys. Girls also participate in sports, including, tennis, swimming, hockey and basketball. Sports activities constitute a major interest for students and adults as well. In Durban North, three government high schools (one for boys and two for girls) are within easy reach of the officers' homes. Other high schools, private and government-owned, are located in the city and may be reached by bus. Primary schools including grades K-7 are distributed throughout the residential area and are usually coeducational. Some private nursery schools, including those offering Montessori programs cater to 3 to 6-year-old children.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:29 AM

The University of Natal, which is scheduled to merge with the University of Durban-Westville in 2005, currently has branches in both Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It offers a wide variety of courses leading to degrees in liberal arts, science, engineering and law. The University of Durban-Westville also offers courses in these areas. In addition, many technical schools, called "technikons," offer a range of courses in arts, design, dressmaking, commercial cookery, engineering, etc. The Universities of Natal and Durban-Westville and all the technikons offer adult part-time courses for academic credit. Actual degree programs are not offered part-time. UNISA, the distance-learning university system, has offices in Durban that offer coursework (including master's and doctoral) in various fields.

Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:30 AM

Private tutoring in music, ballet and art is available to adults and children. Business courses and instruction in driving, flying, popular dance, fishing, diving, golf, tennis, swimming, riding, and ice-skating are available.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:30 AM

Durban offers recreational facilities of all types, with emphasis on outdoor sports for both spectators and participants. The many parks and playgrounds for children and the beaches are among the finest in South Africa. Sports, including yachting, fishing, golf, tennis, swimming and bowling may be enjoyed throughout the year, but access to some sports requires membership in a private club. Durban also has an ice dome for skating. Other popular sports include rugby, cricket, tennis, horseracing, baseball and squash. Four first-class, 18-hole golf courses are within easy of Durban proper and another four are within a radius of 15 miles. Local courses are not designed to accommodate golf carts. At most courses, non-members can play for a nominal green fee. Accessible to the Consulate are the Durban Country Club, which provides golf, tennis and swimming, and Virgin Active Sports Club, which provides indoor sporting activities. Excellent asphalt and concrete all-weather tennis courts, most of which are operated by private clubs, are available but admission depends on availability. Lincoln House, the Consul General's home, has a tennis court available to all staff. Inexpensive swimming classes and well-equipped health studios that provide aerobics and individual training programs are close to homes in Durban North and in the central business district. All types of sporting equipment are available locally.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:31 AM

Durban is blessed with a wide range of outdoor recreational facilities. KZN offers hunting, fishing, camping, boating, mountain climbing, hiking, lake swimming and sightseeing. Ocean swimming and surfing are major attractions, but Durban must contend with shark dangers. The city has instituted a system of shark netting to protect most of its public beaches. The city maintains several museums, a botanical garden, library, aquarium and an aviary. Game reserves are within a few hours' drive of Durban, as are extensive parks and nature reserves.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:31 AM

American, English and other films are shown at reasonable prices. Visiting repertory companies present plays and musicals, and several university and amateur companies perform regularly at many venues. The city boasts many excellent restaurants and nightclubs. Photography is popular in Durban; all equipment, including developing and printing, is available but at higher than U.S. prices. The many colorful and interesting local festivals include fire-walking ceremonies in the Indian community and Zulu dancing; the Zulu King's Reed Dance is especially popular. There are many craft markets offering a variety of craft and other items on weekends in various neighborhoods of the city.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:31 AM

Important social clubs include the Durban Manor and the Hullets Country Club. The Royal and Port Natal Yacht Clubs offer memberships to all Consulate General staff. Honorary membership in the Durban Club is extended to the principal officer and honorary or temporary service membership in most other clubs is available to commissioned officers. Numerous sport clubs cater to a wide variety of interests and tastes.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:32 AM There are no formalized American social activities. Officers are expected to participate in the activities organized by the Consulate, such as the Independence Day Celebration and Thanksgiving.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:32 AM The Durban Consular Corps serves as one way of interacting with other diplomats and honorary representatives of countries in Durban. The Corps assembles bi-monthly for luncheons and occasionally interacts at other social events.

Official Functions Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:33 AM

The Consul General has many social obligations as the senior U.S. representative. Although some functions are black-tie affairs, business suits for men and short dresses for women are appropriate for most functions. Social conduct, correspondence, and protocol at this post are similar to British practice. Social obligations for staff other than the Consul General vary depending on the individual.

Special Information Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:34 AM

Post Orientation Program: Because the consular establishment at Durban is small, no formal orientation program exists. All officers and staff spend time assisting newcomers, acquainting them with their official functions and after-hours activities. A small library is maintained at the Consulate General to help newcomers understand the unique history and political composition of KZN. Consultations may be arranged at the Embassy in Pretoria and the Consulate General in Johannesburg on occasion. Officers generally spend several days' consultation at Embassy Pretoria en route to post or soon after arrival.

Consulate General - Johannesburg

Post City Last Updated: 4/1/2004 5:47 AM

Johannesburg is a metropolitan center of skyscrapers, sprawling middle-to-upper class suburbs, ethnic neighborhoods, and informal townships. Often called the Golden City for the nearby gold mines that fueled Johannesburg's growth, the city is now the industrial, commercial, financial and cultural engine of Southern Africa. Located 35 miles south of Pretoria, the municipality of Johannesburg has an official population of 3.2 million. According to the 2001 census, the larger metropolitan area of Johannesburg [which includes Pretoria, the township of Soweto, and other surrounding areas] has a population of over 8 million. Unofficial estimates put the true population at over 10 million. The American community numbers about 3,000.Hotels, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, shops, homes and apartment buildings are similar to those in modern European and American cities. Streets and highways are built and maintained to a very high standard, and driving is the most common means of transportation used by Americans in Johannesburg.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 4/1/2004 6:24 AM

The Consulate General, including the offices of the Consul General and Regional Labor Officer, Regional Consular Section, Management Section, and the Department of Homeland Security, is located at 1 River Street, Killarney, 5 kilometers north of the central business district. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The international mailing address is P.O. Box 1762, Houghton 2041, South Africa. The pouch address is Department of State - Johannesburg, Washington, D.C. 20521-2500. The switchboard can be reached by dialing (27)(11) 646-6900; fax, (27)(11) 646-6913.The Consulate's Public Affairs Section and library are located at 1066 Pritchard Street, 3rd floor, in the city center. The Public Affairs telephone number is (27)(11) 838-2231; fax, (27)(11) 838-3920. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Public Affairs Library in Soweto occupies space within the Ipelegeng Center, 1283 Phera Street (at Dlamini Street), Soweto 1868. The telephone number is (27)(11) 982-5580; fax, (27)(11)982-5844.The Foreign Commercial Service, Trade and Development Agency, and International Broadcasting Bureau have offices at 15 Chaplin Road, Illovo 2196. The FCS telephone number is (27)(11) 442-3571; fax, (27)(11) 268-6101. The IBB telephone number is (27)(11) 778-4812; fax, (27)(11) 268-6101. The TDA telephone number is (27)(11)7784804; fax, (27)(11) 442-3761. A Voice of America correspondent maintains an office at Mentone Centre, 2nd floor, 1 Park Road, Richmond, Johannesburg. The telephone number there is (27)(11) 726-4224.A new consulate compound project is in the site acquisition phase as of January 2004. All facilities with the exception of the Soweto Library will eventually be combined into one location. All newcomers are met on arrival. Employees who arrive unexpectedly or after office hours should call the Consulate duty officer at 082-858-2361.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 4/1/2004 6:26 AM

Newcomers are housed in one of Johannesburg's suite hotels until assigned permanent quarters are available.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/1/2004 6:27 AM

The U.S. Government-owned homes in Johannesburg include the Consul General's residence and two others that are assigned to staff of the Consulate in accordance with their rank and family size. The Consul General's home and one other government-owned house have a swimming pool and a tennis court. The other government-owned house has a pool. Floor plans and descriptions of furnishings may be obtained from the Office of Foreign Buildings in Washington, D.C. All other housing is government-leased and fully furnished. The leased houses are generally modern in design and of solid construction. Most leased single-family homes and townhouses have generous outdoor space and swimming pools. Apartments are modern and spacious. All of the leased residential units are located in the nearby neighborhoods north of the Consulate, from Killarney and Houghton to Melrose, Dunkeld, Craighall and Sandton.


Furnishings Last Updated: 4/1/2004 6:27 AM

All residential units are fully furnished. See Pretoria information for details.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/1/2004 6:27 AM

Electric power is 220v, 50-cycle, AC, single and triple-phase, reliable with little or no fluctuation. All 110v equipment, except clocks, can be used with transformers. Stereo equipment must be adapted for the difference in cycles. Two 1,000-watt transformers are furnished to each household but some employees bring extra transformers to post. Tap water is potable in Johannesburg. See also Utilities and Equipment - Pretoria.

Food Last Updated: 4/1/2004 7:40 AM

Food, Clothing, Supplies and Services, Religious Activities: Similar to Pretoria but with a wider range of choice.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 4/1/2004 7:40 AM Many school-age dependents of Consulate staff attend the American International School of Johannesburg; others attend local schools. Popular schools for boys include: Marist Brothers St. David's College (private, Catholic); King Edward (public); St. John's (private, Anglican); St. Stithian's (private, Methodist); Woodmead (private); and King David (private, Jewish). Girls' schools include: Roedean (private); Kingsmead (private); Parktown Convent School (private, Catholic); St. Andrews (private, Anglican); and St. Mary's School for Girls (private, Anglican). Most private schools are oversubscribed and have long waiting lists for admission. Bus service is provided to the American International School of Johannesburg. Parents are responsible for transportation to private schools but may be able to claim reimbursement of expenses if a commercial service is used. Johannesburg has a large number of good quality private preschools (including Montessori) in the suburban areas. See Pretoria for a listing of schools in Johannesburg offering education for children with special needs.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/1/2004 7:41 AM

The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg is one of South Africa's largest English-language universities. Its eight faculties include arts, science, medicine, engineering, commerce, law, dentistry, and architecture. The university confers degrees in arts (including education, fine arts, music, public administration, and social work); science, medicine, physiotherapy, engineering (chemical, civil, electrical, land surveying, mechanical, mining, and mining geology); commerce, law, dentistry, architecture, town and regional planning and quantity surveying. It also grants post-graduate and undergraduate diplomas and certificates. Classes are during the day only. UNISA offers course by correspondence - see Pretoria. Other educational opportunities are provided by several vocational schools, technical colleges, and colleges of education.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 4/1/2004 7:41 AM

Facilities for all sports are available and enjoyed throughout the year. Many members of the official community have joined gyms and golf and sports clubs; some participate on amateur teams. See also Sports - Pretoria.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 4/1/2004 7:42 AM

Johannesburg is a large, cosmopolitan city that offers a wide range of restaurants, theaters, museums, art galleries, and nightlife. For general information, see also Entertainment - Pretoria.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 4/1/2004 7:42 AM The American Society of South Africa holds several large annual dinners, dances, and outings. The American International Women's Club has numerous activities, including talks and outings. Many opportunities for volunteer work are available and can be identified with the help of the CLO or post's Self-Help Coordinator.

Official Functions Last Updated: 11/30/1999 6:00 PM

See Pretoria.

Special Information Last Updated: 4/1/2004 7:43 AM

Post Orientation Program: A post orientation program is conducted by the CLO. American staff members and their dependents are invited to take part in the periodic orientation programs presented at the Embassy.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 4/1/2004 3:58 AM

All United States Government employees and official dependents transferring to South Africa must be in possession of a valid South African visa, must have two blank pages in their passport for the placing of South African entry stamps, and must travel on an American carrier or an American code-share carrier if they are departing the United States.

There are numerous ways to travel to post. Options include traveling via Frankfurt on the United Airlines/Lufthansa codeshare, via Amsterdam on the Northwest/ KLM Royal Dutch Airlines codeshare, or via London on the American/British Airways codeshare. It is also possible to travel via Zurich, Paris or Sao Paulo.

Stopovers or authorizations for business class travel must be explicitly stated on transfer orders. Otherwise, the traveler becomes responsible for any added costs incurred. The sole exception would be for a 24-hour rest stop en route to post, which is automatically authorized for travelers flying in economy class if the total flying time is 14 hours or longer. Generally, agencies will authorize business class travel, in accordance with GSA regulations, if the travel time from the departing city to South Africa is in excess of 14 hours. The travel time between Washington and South Africa exceeds 14 hours. Visas are not issued at the airport on arrival, and must be obtained before traveling to South Africa. Visas are required of anyone coming to work or live in South Africa, which applies to all USG employees and their family members. If you are transferring to the Embassy or any of the Consulates in South Africa, the Embassy must first obtain permission from the South African Government authorizing your transfer, and then the South African Embassy in Washington must obtain authority from the South African Foreign Ministry before issuing the visa. This process can take two weeks and travelers are urged to plan ahead, and to contact the Embassy Human Resources Officer if they encounter any difficulties or unreasonable delays in obtaining visas for travel to South Africa. In addition, if a position is new to the Mission staffing complement, the Embassy must first obtain permission from the South African government to establish the position, and then obtain authorization for the issuance of a visa to the new employee.

When packing, employees are reminded that seasons are the reverse of those in the States.

No vaccinations are required for persons traveling from the USA to South Africa. The State Department does however recommend immunization against hepatitis A and B and against typhoid for persons on assigned tours. Although the risk of contracting rabies is low in urban areas, pre-exposure rabies vaccination is also recommended. Malaria is not a risk except for travel to the northeastern section of South Africa (Krueger National Park); for travel there, malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended. South African authorities require a Yellow Card and evidence of a yellow fever inoculation for all people arriving from areas where yellow fever is endemic, unless the traveler is in direct transit through the area. Personnel assigned to South Africa who will be performing regional travel to other African nations should check whether additional immunization recommendations exist for those countries.

Customs, Duties, and Passage Last Updated: 3/14/2005 5:20 AM

Privately Owned Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles Privately owned motor vehicles are essential in South Africa. Buses are available but do not serve all areas. Taxis must be called by phone and are expensive and unreliable. In South Africa, traffic moves on the left. Since this is the opposite of traffic movement in the United States, an American driver must pay careful attention until this becomes routine and comfortable. There are stringent restrictions on the importation of vehicles into South Africa. Motor vehicles can be imported into the Republic of South Africa only if either of the following two conditions is met. a) The vehicle is a right-hand drive vehicle which conforms to South African standards. European Union standards for right-hand drive vehicles meet the South African standard. In all cases, the vehicle must have been registered in the diplomat's name for at least six months prior to the application for importation, and a Proof of Conformance Certificate from the manufacturer must be supplied. Non-conforming right-hand drive vehicles may NOT be imported into South Africa, which includes vehicles purchased from Japan. b) The vehicle is a left-hand drive vehicle first registered somewhere in the world before January 01, 2000. These vehicles may not be sold in South Africa, not even to other diplomats, but must be exported upon completion of the diplomat’s tour of duty. Motorcycles are considered vehicles by the South African Government. Owners must file the same paperwork to obtain permission to import before the vehicle is shipped. There are no standardization restrictions on motorcycles and they may be sold in South Africa after two years, provided the requisite permissions were obtained before importation.

No vehicles may be imported unless the Embassy obtains written permission from the South African government prior to the vehicle being shipped. In order to obtain that permission the Embassy must file forms with the South African Government that contain detailed information about the vehicle. These forms must be completed and signed by the vehicle owner. As attachments to the form, we must include a copy of the front page of the applicant's passport, a copy of the current vehicle registration, and a copy of the manufacturer's compliance certificate. Faxed copies or e-mail scanned copies are accepted. Employees wishing to import their vehicle into South Africa must contact the Embassy shipping office for the necessary forms and begin this process three months before the vehicle’s shipping date. Contact the Embassy shipping office at or FAX number 27-12-431-4602.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:00 AM

The following entitlements apply to USG employees on transfer to South Africa. Employees on the diplomatic and consular list are entitled to duty free importation for the duration of their tour. Employees on the administrative/technical list have duty free privileges for six months from their date of arrival at post. Married employees are entitled to two duty-free or tax-free vehicles. Singles employees are entitled to one duty-free or tax-free vehicle. Motorcycles are considered vehicles for the purposes of these regulations. Privileged vehicles written off in accidents within two years of importation are subject to a pro-rata duty/tax, based on the value of the vehicle at the date of importation.

Carefully read the section on Privately Owned Motor Vehicles on a following page.

Household Effects

All consignments shipped via surface must be packed into lift vans and placed inside steel shipping containers. Household effects can be received, cleared and stored prior to an employee's arrival. However, advance notification of a shipment en route to South Africa must be provided in order to pre-clear a shipment and to avoid demurrage charges. There are import restrictions on the following: honey, alcoholic beverages, cigars/cigarettes, and hazardous cargo including fireworks, matches, certain batteries, items containing flammable gas, flammable liquids and oxidizing substances. Post must be notified in advance in order to obtain import permits for any of these items.

Privately Owned Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles Privately owned motor vehicles are essential in South Africa. Buses are available but do not serve all areas. Taxis must be called by phone and are expensive and unreliable. In South Africa, traffic moves on the left. Since this is the opposite of traffic movement in the United States, an American driver must pay careful attention until this becomes routine and comfortable. There are stringent restrictions on the importation of vehicles into South Africa. Prior to a vehicle leaving the United States, the South African Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) must grant permission for the importation of the vehicle. Employees who would like to ship a vehicle to South Africa should contact the shipping section at the Embassy to determine whether or not the vehicle can be imported. Appropriate contact information can be found on the Embassy's intranet webpage. The shipping section will need the make, model, year of manufacture, and left-hand/right-hand drive information. South African authorities may grant permission to import a vehicle if it meets one of three criteria: The vehicle is manufactured according to South African specifications. Vehicles that conform to EU specifications can be expected to conform to South African specifications if, in addition, it is a right-hand drive vehicle. The vehicle is a right-hand drive vehicle first registered somewhere in the world before January 01, 1997. Non-conforming right-hand drive vehicles must be exported upon completion of the employee's tour of duty. They may not be sold to other diplomats. This category includes reconditioned vehicles purchased from Japan. The vehicle is a left-hand drive vehicle first registered somewhere in the world before January 01, 2000. These vehicles are not eligible for sale on the local market and must be exported upon completion of the employee's tour of duty. They may not be sold to other diplomats. Right-hand drive vehicles that conform to South African road traffic standards may not be sold duty/tax free within two years of importation/purchase. Left-hand drive and non-conforming right-hand drive vehicles may not be sold but must be exported. There are a great variety of vehicles conforming to South African specifications that can be purchased through local dealerships. Nissan, Hyundai, VW, and Land Rover are manufactured locally. Toyota, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Honda, Volvo, and Ford sell both locally manufactured and imported vehicles. Chrysler, Saab, Renault, Subaru, and Chevrolet dealerships import vehicles that meet South African specifications. Please note however that a vehicle purchased and registered in South Africa will not meet U.S. specifications, and cannot be exported to the United States at the end of your tour. Employees must request permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the shipping section of the Embassy, before buying or selling a vehicle locally. Without that permission, it will be generally impossible to register the vehicle. All Mission personnel are entitled to claim a refund of the gasoline tax, provided they are registered under the South African gas rebate scheme and can present receipts. Only one gas station in Pretoria sells fuel tax-free to diplomats. Vehicle windshields may not be tinted more that 70 percent and other vehicle windows may not be tinted more that 35 percent. Employees will be required to replace the glass or remove the film from imported vehicles that are not in compliance. In South Africa, motorcycles are considered motor vehicles, subject to import permission requirements. They must be declared to customs, and must be clearly identified on the Bill of Lading and inventory by make, model, engine and chassis/VIN number. Motorcycles cannot be registered if a Bill of Entry has not been issued. To avoid pilferage and damage en route, cars must be containerized. Immobilizers and alarms should not be activated before shipment. Employees should be aware that regulations governing the importation of vehicles change frequently. For the most current information, employees should contact the GSO Shipping and Customs Unit in Pretoria prior to making any decisions regarding the importation of a vehicle. Tax-free vehicles may not be sold tax-free within two years of purchase. There are no exceptions to this regulation. Routing of surface shipments: Consignments shipped in FCL (full container load) containers bound for Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria must be shipped to the port of Durban. FCL containers bound for Cape Town must be shipped directly to the port of Cape Town. Consolidated shipments for all South African posts must be shipped to Durban. All surface FCL and LCL (less than full container load) shipments via Durban must be consigned as follows: American Embassy 877 Pretorius Street Arcadia 0083 Pretoria, South Africa Shipments should be marked as follows - for Pretoria: American Embassy Pretoria, South Africa For (Name of employee) Via Durban For Johannesburg: American Consulate General Johannesburg, South Africa For (Name of employee) Via Durban

For Durban:

American Consulate General Durban, South Africa For (Name of employee) Surface shipments bound for Cape Town should be marked and consigned as follows: Consign: American Consulate General 4th Floor, Monte Carlo Building Heerengracht Foreshore, Cape Town Mark: American Consulate General Cape Town, South Africa For (Name of employee) Unaccompanied Air Baggage It takes two to four weeks to receive airfreight shipments from the United States. Post can pre-clear a shipment if advised that it is en route. Shipments are not normally inspected by customs authorities provided they are marked and consigned correctly. Airfreight is shipped to the Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg International Airports, depending on the employee's post of assignment. Consign the shipment to the Embassy or the appropriate Consulate General, and mark the shipment as stated below. Mark airfreight shipments bound for Pretoria as follows: American Embassy Pretoria, South Africa For (name of employee) Ship to Johannesburg International Airport. Mark airfreight shipments bound for Johannesburg as follows: American Consulate General Johannesburg, South Africa For (name of employee) Ship to Johannesburg International Airport Mark airfreight shipments bound for Durban as follows: American Consulate General Durban, South Africa For (name of employee) Ship to Durban International Airport Mark airfreight shipments to Cape Town as follows: American Consulate General Cape Town, South Africa For (name of employee) Ship to Cape Town International Airport

Shipping Documentation: Original Bills of Lading must be sent via courier service to post as soon as possible after departure of the shipment. For consignments shipped to the port of Durban, documents must be sent to the American Embassy, 877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0083, For Attention: GSO Shipping Unit, telephone (27)(12) 431-4048, fax (27)(12) 431-4642. For consignments shipped to the port of Cape Town, documents must be sent to the American Consulate General, Administrative Section, 4th Floor, Monte Carlo Building, Heerengracht, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8000, Telephone (27)(21) 421-4290, fax (27)(21) 418-1989.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 6/8/2004 5:08 AM

Pets shipped from the U.S. must have a rabies certificate, a health certificate, and a South African import permit. Quarantine is not imposed for pets being imported from the USA. Employees should check with GSO Shipping and Customs on current quarantine restrictions for pets coming from other countries. Application to post for an import permit must be made as soon as possible. A rabies vaccination must be older than 30 days and not older than one year. The health certificate should be obtained from a private veterinarian, and it must be endorsed by the United States Department of Agriculture within 10 days of the animal's departure for South Africa. Otherwise employees risk the animal being denied entry. The US Government office in the Washington area that endorses veterinary health certificates is: USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services Unit 38 1598 Whitehall Road, Suite #A

Annapolis, MD 21401

Telephone (410) 349-9643 (

Employees who wish to deliver the certificate in person should call 24 to 48 hours in advance for an appointment, but still should allow sufficient time for the certificate to be returned. If the certificate is mailed, travelers should include their pet's health record with a self-addressed stamped envelope and the endorsement fee, along with the vet's name (clearly written) and a contact person's name and daytime telephone number. Those who are short on time may use Federal Express each way (including a pre-paid Federal Express return envelope). For pets being shipped from non-quarantine areas, the following information must be furnished to enable post to obtain an import permit: Number and/or species and/or class of animal Country and city of origin Airport from which the animal will be loaded Date of embarkation for South Africa Address and telephone number to which the permit must be sent. Permits are sent via courier service at a cost to the employee of approximately $20. The South African import certificate along with the valid health certificate must accompany the animal to South Africa. Some travelers prefer to use one of the animal travel services to make the arrangements for them. For a fee, these services can assist with the importation of pets into South Africa. If required, they will collect pets from the airport and transport them to the employee's residence. Pets must travel as manifested cargo and may not be brought as excess baggage or in the cabin. Should the employee not comply with this regulation and/or provide the required documentation, the pet will be returned to the country of origin. For pets being shipped from quarantine areas, detailed information will be provided. Employees should contact one of the following companies to obtain the required import permits, reserve space at the quarantine station, arrange for kenneling and make all other arrangements. Durban: Pets in Transit - telephone (27)(31) 709-3917, fax (27)(31) 709-3916. Cape Town: Animal Travel Agency - telephone (27)(21) 557-6700, fax (27)(21) 557-6661. Pretoria and Johannesburg: Animal Travel Agency - telephone (27)(11) 460-1121, fax (27)(11) 460-1436, Menlyn Kennels & Cattery - telephone (27) (12) 480-2031, fax (27)(12)480-2024, email, or Pets Travel Services - telephone (27)(11) 708-1250, fax (27)(11) 708-3074.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:02 AM

Mission personnel are prohibited from importing all firearms. Personnel and dependents aged 16 or older may, however, purchase one rifle and one approved shotgun from a reputable and licensed South African weapons dealer for personal recreational use, provided they comply with South African laws pertaining to the use and storage of such weapons. Under no circumstances is the purchase, possession or use of handguns and semi-automatic weapons permitted. For those personnel who decide to purchase approved firearms after arrival in South Africa, the RSO will provide guidance concerning their purchase, registration, and proper storage.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:03 AM

South Africa's currency is the Rand (R). The rate of exchange in December 2003 was approximately $1 = 6.5 Rand; the rate is subject to frequent fluctuation. Banking facilities are adequate and many Mission personnel maintain a Rand checking account despite the banking fees imposed on many transactions. With good internet service available, online banking for paying bills and transferring money in the U.S. is also possible. Local banks issue their own Visa and MasterCard, although the interest rates are high. Stateside credit cards can be used at supermarkets, theaters, travel agencies, numerous retail outlets, and ATM's, although credit card fraud is rampant. Local banks can also provide U.S. dollars, traveler's checks, and cashier's checks but may require 48 hours' notice. Accommodation Exchange is provided by Citibank at Pretoria and by cashiers at the Consulates. Reverse accommodation exchange is available only at the end of one's tour and must be processed through one of post's cashiers. Such exchanges are strictly controlled. Checks and payments via electronic funds transfer [EFT] for official payments in both dollars and rands are issued by the Financial Services Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Turnaround times may vary depending on international mail and pouch delivery times. Travel and representation vouchers involving payment of more than US $500.00 are paid by EFT only, in accordance with Department of State policy. FSC Charleston is also capable of processing EFT payments to South African bank accounts. The system of measurement in South Africa is primarily metric.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:04 AM

Value Added Tax (VAT) The South African government does not rebate the 14% VAT charged on personal purchases, but there are a few exceptions. The VAT on automobiles is refundable, although it must be paid initially and is only refunded several months later. Personally owned vehicles (POV) registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs in the petrol rebate scheme are eligible for a tax rebate on fuel. The GSO shipping unit can provide more details. Sale of Personal Property The sale of personal property is in accordance with the appropriate regulations. Items greater than the value established by local administrative notice must be approved by the Management Counselor on the 'Sale of Personal Property Form' before they can be listed for sale in the unofficial Mission publication, the Jacaranda Journal. Normally items will not be approved for sale until the final year of an employee's tour. Items that are excess to an employee's needs may be approved for sale earlier on a case-by-case basis. Any questions regarding the sale of personal property should be addressed to the Management Counselor at the Embassy or the Executive Officer at USAID. .

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:08 AM

A compilation of non-fiction and fiction, mostly recent publications, but including a number of classic works, selected to provide a deeper understanding of South Africa.

Many of the books are available from the Embassy's Information Resource Center or the State Department's Ralph Bunche Library. Both libraries have good collections of recently published material on South Africa.

General and Comprehensive Works

State of the Nation: South Africa 2003-2004. edited by J. Daniel, Habib, A and Southall, R. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council, 2003. Note: Reflects on the apartheid legacy, reviews current policy and projects and interprets future trends. As such, it is an excellent resource for civil organizations, policy makers and anyone wanting to be at the cutting edge of current debates and key developments in South Africa South Africa Yearbook 2002/3. 9th Ed. Pretoria: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), 2002. Note: The official South African government reference work on the Republic of South Africa covering subjects such as tourism, government systems, agriculture, sport, etc. [] South Africa: A Country Study. Rita M. Byrnes (Ed) Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1996 Note: The authors seek to provide a basic understanding of the society. Particular attention is devoted to the people who make up the society, their origins, dominant beliefs and values, their common interests and the issues on which they are divided, the nature and extent of their involvement with national institutions, and their attitudes toward each other and toward their social system and political order. []

South Africa Survey 2002/2003. Kane-Berman, John (ed). Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, 2003

South African Yearbook of International Affairs 2002/3. South African Institute of International Affairs. Johannesburg: SAIIA, 2003


Roux, Andre. Everyone's Guide to the South African Economy. 7th ed. Cape Town: Zebra, 2002

The South African Financial System. 2nd ed. Fourie, L.J. ed. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1999

Politics and government

Democracy and Governance Review: Mandela's Legacy 1994-1999. Muthien, Y.G et al. (eds). Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council: Pretoria, 2000 Leon, Tony. Hope and Fear: Reflections of a Democrat. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, c1999 Lodge, T. Politics in South Africa: From Mandela to Mbeki. Cape Town: David Philip, 2002

Lyman, Princeton N. Partner to History: the U.S. Role in South Africa's Transition to Democracy. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2002

Mbeki, Thabo. Africa Define Yourself. Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2002

Adam, H.; Van Zyl Slabbert, F; Moodley, K. Comrades in Business: Post Liberation Politics in South Africa. Cape Town: Tafelberg, c1997

Thabo Mbeki's World: The Politics and Ideology of the South African President. Jacobs, S. and Calland, R. (eds.). Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 2002

Regional Integration in Southern Africa: Comparative International Perspectives. Johannesburg: South African Institute of International Affairs, 2001

Sparks, Allister. Tomorrow is Another Country. London: Arrow, c1995

Sparks, Allister. Beyond the Miracle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003

Waldmeir, Patti. Anatomy of a Miracle: The End of Apartheid and the Birth of a New South Africa. London: Viking, 1997


Davenport, T.R.H. South Africa: A Modern History. 4th ed. London: Macmillan, 1991 Dubow, S. The ANC Pocket History. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2000 Guy, Jeff. The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1994 Laband, J. Anglo-Zulu War Correspondents. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, c1997 O'Meara, Dan. Forty Lost Years: the Apartheid State and the Politics of the National Party, 1948-1994. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1996

Pakenham, Thomas. The Boer War. New York: Harper Collins, 1992 Note: The definitive account of this extraordinary conflict -- a war precipitated by greed and marked by almost inconceivable blundering and brutalities . . . and whose shattering repercussions can be felt to this day.

Ross, Robert. A Concise history of South Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999 Stapleton, T. Maqoma: Xhosa Resistance to Colonial Advance, 1789 -1873. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, c1994

People: their culture, their institutions and history

Bell, Terry. Unfinished business: South Africa, Apartheid and Truth. Cape Town: Red Works, 2001

A Crime Against Humanity: Analysing the Repression of the Apartheid State. Coleman, Max, ed. Cape Town: David Philip, 1999

Crimewave : The South African Underworld and Its Foes. Steinberg, Jonny (ed). Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 2001

Edelstein, Jillian. Truth and Lies: Stories From the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. London: Granta Books, 2001.

Giliomee, H. The Afrikaners: Biography of a People. Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2003.

Hilton-Barber, Brett. The Official Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and Environs World Heritage Site. Cape Town: Struik, 2002 Impact and Interventions: the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and the Children of South Africa. Edited by Jeff Gouws and Chris Desmond. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 2003

Lowry, Stephen. Know Your National Holidays: A Guide to South Africa's New National Holidays. Manzini, Swaziland: Macmillan Boleswa, 1996

MacLeod. Guy. Cultural Considerations in South African Business: A Guide to Understanding Culture, Courtesy and Etiquette in South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip, 2002

SA Tribes: Who are We, How We Live and What we Want from Life in the New South Africa. Steven Burgess (ed). Cape Town: David Philip, 2002

Shaw, Mark. Crime and Policing in Post-apartheid South Africa: Transforming Under Fire. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2002

Sparks, Alistair. The Mind of South Africa. New York: Ballantine, 1991

Steinberg, Jonny. Midlands. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball. c2003 Note: An account of the politics surrounding the murder of a young white farmer in KwaZulu-Natal.

Stories That Float From Afar: Ancestral Folklore of the San of Southern Africa. Lewis-Williams, J.D. ed. Cape Town: David Philip, 2000 Weinberg, Paul. Once We Were Hunters: A Journey with Africa's Indigenous People. David Philip Publishers: Cape Town, c2000 Waiting to Happen: HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Edited by Liz Walker and others. Cape Town. Double Story, 2004.

Biographical works and memoirs

Biko, S. 1996. I Write What I Like: A Selection of Writings. Cape Town: Ravan Press, 1996.

Carter, Jason. Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa's Borders. Washington: National Geographic, 2002 Note: The grandson of former president Jimmy Carter writes of a South Africa few people ever see in this work of cultural inquiry and investigation. As a Peace Corps volunteer he traveled the countryside, immersing himself in the lives of blacks and whites alike.

Clingman, S. 1998. Bram Fisher: Afrikaner Revolutionary. Cape Town: David Philip, 1998. Note: The story of pioneering anti-apartheid leader Bram Fischer. Born into a prominent Afrikaner nationalist family, Fischer led the defense of Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial. Fischer was then sentenced to life imprisonment for his own political activities against apartheid.

Corrigan, Terence. Mbeki His Time Has Come: an Introduction to South Africa's New President. Johannesburg: S.A. Institute of Race Relations, 1999

De Klerk, F.W. The Last Trek: a New Beginning. London: MacMillan, 1998

Hadland, Adrian. The Life and Times of Thabo Mbeki. Johannesburg: Zebra, 1999

Kastrils, Ronnie. Armed and Dangerous: From Undercover Struggle to Freedom. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 1998

Krog, Antjie. South Africa: Country of My Skull. Jonathan Cape, c1999 Note: A meditation by the Afrikaner poet and broadcaster on her experience of reporting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This is a searing account of the atrocity that was apartheid, full of grief and sorrow.

Malan, R. The Essential Steve Biko: His Life and Thoughts. Cape Town: David Philip, 1998.

Mandela, Nelson Rolihlahla. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. London: Abacus, 1994 Note: This is Nelson Mandela's own account of his life. It is essential reading for anyone who has any interest in not just the politics of South Africa, but of the world.

Ramphele, Mamphele. Across Boundaries: The Journey of a South African Woman Leader. New York: Feminist Press, 1999

Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998 Note: An extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid.

Mathabane, Mark. Miriam's Song: A Memoir. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000 Note: The memoir of a young black woman coming of age in South Africa amid the violence of apartheid, written by her brother.

Mphahlele, Es'kia. Down Second Avenue. Faber and Faber Note: A classic autobiographical novel set in the apartheid of the 1940s in the impoverished township of Alexandra.

Orr, Wendy. From Biko to Basson: Wendy Orr's Search for the Soul of South Africa as a Commissioner of the TRC. Contra Press: Johannesburg, 2000

Pauw, J. Into the Heart of Darkness: Confessions of Apartheid Assassins. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 1997.

Sampson, Anthony. Mandela the Authorised Biography. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 1999 Note: A biography of Nelson Mandela by the editor of "Drum" magazine, a respected anti-apartheid campaigner, journalist and historian. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the freedom struggle in South Africa, and the pivotal role played by Nelson Mandela.

Sachs, Albie. The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter. Cape Town. David Philip, 2000

Sisulu, Elinor. Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In our lifetime. Cape Town: David Philip, 2003. Note: For more than five decades Walter and Albertina Sisulu were at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid. Walter was sentenced to life imprisonment with Nelson Mandela in 1964. Albertina played a crucial role in keeping the ANC alive underground. Their story has been one of persecution, bitter struggle and painful separation. But it is also one of patience, hope and enduring love.

Tutu, Desmond. No Future Without Forgiveness: A Personal Overview of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. London: Rider, 1999 Note: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission as described by its chairman. There are better accounts of the hearings, but the book offers an essential insight into a South African leader.

Van Onselen, Charles. The Seed Is Mine: The Life of Kas Maine, a South African Sharecropper, 1894-1985. Cape Town: David Philip, c1996 Note: An extraordinary biography of a sharecropper, throwing light on the social history of South Africa, from 1894 to 1985. Art and literature: critical works Perspectives on S.A. English Literature. Chapman, M. (Ed.) Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, c1996 Note: This is the most comprehensive volume of essays yet to appear on South African literature. Written by leading academics and literary critics, the essays cover the range of writing in English from Thomas Pringle to Soweto poetry, while parallel insights are provided on African-language literature. Chapman, M. Southern African Literatures. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 2003 Southern African Literatures is a major study of the work of writers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Mozambique and Namibia, written at a time of crucial change in the subcontinent. It covers a wide range of work from the storytelling of stone-age Bushmen to modern writing by renowned figures such as Es'kia Mphahlele, Nadine Gordimer and André Brink, encompassing traditional, popular and elite writing; literature in translation; and case studies based on topical issues. Writing South Africa: Literature, Apartheid and Democracy, 1970-1995. Attridge, D, Jolly, R. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999

Williamson, Sue. Art in South Africa: The Future Present. Cape Town: D. Philip, 1996 Williamson, Sue. Resistance Art in South Africa. Cape Town: D. Philip Note: Taken together, these two volumes map the course of South African art from the early 1980s to the present day, with a thoughtful text that's minimal enough to let the artists' works speak for themselves.


Anthologies of short stories

Modern South African Stories. Gray, S (ed.) Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, c2000 Note: This selection of some of the finest work by South African writers, old and new, will continue to entertain and inspire lovers of the short story form.

Glass Jars Among Trees. Finaly, A and Salafanca, A (Eds.) Johannesburg: Jacana, 2003 Note: The editors sought out writing that veers away from the path of mainstream literature. Post Traumatic: New South African Short Stories. Chris van Wyk (Ed.). Johannesburg: Botsotso, 2003 Note: An anthology of short stories expressing a diverse South Africa of rural and urban life, white suburbia, black township, childhood, love, hate, reconciliation, the grim as well as the comic that make up the tapestry of a country as it used to be and as it is today. Novels, short stories and plays Bosman, Herman Charles. Unto Dust. Cape Town: Human and Rousseau, c1998 Note: A superb collection of short stories from South Africa's master of the genre, all set in the tiny Afrikaner farming district of Groot Marico in the 1930s, with the narrator Oom Schalk Lourens revealing with irony the passions and foibles of his community

Brink, Andre. A Dry White Season. New York: Viking Penguin, 1994 Note: A naive prep school teacher in South Africa undergoes a crisis of conscience when his gardner and his gardner's son are killed by a sadistic captain of the feared Special Branch police. He is determined to build a case against the Special Branch and in doing so alienates his family, friends and co-workers.

Brink, Andre. Rumors of Rain. New York: Random House, c1978 Note: Winter in South Africa - a time of searing drought, angry stirrings in Soweto, and the shadow of the Angolan conflict cast across the scorched bush as Martin Mynhardt, a wealthy Afrikaner, plans a weekend at his old family farm.

Coetzee, J.M. Disgrace. New York: Viking Penguin, 1999 Note: Set in post-apartheid Cape Town and on a remote farm in the Eastern Cape, this is a heartbreaking novel about a man and his daughter that is ultimately about grace and love in a new South Africa.

Coetzee, J.M. Waiting for the Barbarians. New York: Viking Penguin, c1980

Fugard, Athol. The Blood Knot and Other Plays. New York: Theatre Communications, 1991 Note: The drama portrays mixed-race brothers who live together in a shack outside of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The light-skinned brother has tried to pass for white for most of his life; the other is unmistakably and bitterly black.

Head, Bessie. A Question of Power. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1974 Note: It is never clear to Elizabeth whether the mission school principal's cruel revelation of her origins is at the bottom of her mental breakdown.

Gordimer, Nadine. July's people. New York: Viking Penguin, 1982

Gordimer, Nadine. Burger's Daughter. New York: Viking Penguin, 1980 Note: Two works illustrating the multi-racial conflict within South Africa.

Joubert, Elsa. The Long journey of Poppie Nongena. Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1980 Note: The novel caused a stir when it was released in the late seventies and it had a huge impact on South African society of that time.

Magona, Sindiwe. Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night. Cape Town: David Philip Publishers, c1994 Note: The work draws away apartheid's shroud which hovers over the lives, loves and losses of South African women and presents us with women who are proud, caring, nurturing , sometimes angry and vulnerable.

Mda, Zakes. The Madonna of Excelsior. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002 Note: The background is the notorious 1971 case in which nineteen citizens of Excelsior in the Free State were charged with breaking apartheid's Immorality Act, which forbade sex between black and white.

Mutwa, Vusamazulu Credo. Indaba, My Children: African Folktales. New York: Grove/Atlantic, 1999 (orig. pub. c1971) Note: Many of Africa's most enduring and entertaining legends, myths and stories vividly retold - and some would say reinvented - by enigmatic Zulu spiritualist Mutwa.

Paton, Allan. Cry the Beloved Country. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003(Orig. Pub. 1948) Note: A classic novel from the apartheid era. A Zulu pastor takes the train to Johannesburg in search of his son. Unfaltering courage and simple faith lead him through a country now alien to him, past people to whom he is invisible, in search of a son and in search of answers to the questions that haunt him.

Plaatjies, Sol. Selected writings. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, Note: Plaatje was a significant writer. His political tract, Native Life in South Africa, was an angry denunciation of the 1913 Natives' Land Act. The first sentence is perhaps one of the hardest hitting political statements in South African history: "Awaking on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African Native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth."

Schreiner, Olive. Story of an African Farm. New York: Viking Penguin, 1983 Note: The first-ever South African novel, Schreiner wrote this in 1883 under a male pseudonym. Though subject to the ideologies of the era, the book nonetheless explores with genuinely open vision the tale of two female cousins living on a remote Karoo farm whose young lives are disrupted by an Irish traveler.

Smith, Pauline. The Little Karoo. Somerset, NJ: Transaction, 1997 (orig. pub. 1925) Note: Pauline Smith was born in Oudtshoorn in 1882, but was sent to school in Scotland in her teens. She never returned to live in South Africa, but did make a number of visits. Most of her stories are set in South Africa. They are compelling reflections of the simple everyday life of communities in the Karoo at the turn of the century

Ivan Vladislavic. The Restless Supermarket. Cape Town: David Philip, 2001 Note: A dark and intricate urban satire about Johannesburg's notorious Hillbrow district during the last days of apartheid.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 4/1/2004 4:07 AM

Local Holidays in 2004: New Year's Day January 1 Human Rights Day March 21 Human Rights Day (observed) March 22 Good Friday April 9 Family Day April 12 Freedom Day April 27 Worker's Day May 1 Youth Day June 16 National Women's Day August 9 Heritage Day September 24 Day of Reconciliation December 16 Christmas Day December 25 Day of Good Will December 26 Day of Good Will (observed) December 27 South African holidays falling on a Sunday are observed on the following Monday.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
Share |