AIDS, Orphans, Poverty, and Refugees in South Africa

According to James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion” is caring for the orphan and the widow; for those in desperate need. In South Africa, there are many who are in desperate need…


About 5.6 million people were living with HIV or AIDS in South Africa in 2009, more than in any other country in the world. An estimated 310,000 South Africans died of AIDS in 2009.

Around 11% of all South Africans have HIV or AIDS, with the prevalence in some population sectors much higher: almost 1/3 of women aged 25-29 are infected, as are over 1/4 of men aged 30-34. The only countries with a higher prevalence of HIV all border South Africa: Lesotho (3rd), Botswana (2nd), and Swaziland (1st). Namibia (5th), Zimbabwe (6th), and Mozambique (8th) also border South Africa. 



Refugees and Immigrants:

Unemployment and poverty rates are high in South Africa, but political, tribal, and religious discrimination, war (such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo), and even worse economic conditions in other countries (such as Zimbabwe) keep refugees and immigrants flooding into the country.

South Africa’s population of official refugees and “asylum seekers” is 256,000; including 116,000 people from Zimbabwe, 33,000 from The Democratic Republic of the Congo, 27,000 from Somalia, 11,000 from Ethiopia, and about 15,000 from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. These populations are mostly concentrated in South Africa’s bigger cities; Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth.

Estimates of South Africa’s total immigrant population (including illegal immigrants) vary considerably. As one example, Sky News reports some 3 million illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe, while other sources estimate 1-1.5 million illegal immigrants from the same country. The difference in these estimates is huge, but even the lowest figures are staggering. The New York Times puts the total immigrant population at around 5 million people.

Refugees and immigrants are not always welcomed in South Africa, particularly in some of the poorer settlements where they are viewed as “stealing jobs” from unemployed South Africans. Tensions spilled over into violent, “Xenophobic” attacks against foreigners that made headlines around the world in 2008.


~ by masimdumisene on February 9, 2010.