Southern Africa

Our partner church in Southern Africa

In 1834, the first Berlin missionaries set foot on the continent and started their work in South Africa. It was their first engagement overseas. Together with missionaries from Hermannsburg, Scandinavia and North America they built the foundation of what would become four regional, independent churches in 1960. 15 years later these churches joined together to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa (ELCSA).


Today, ELCSA has about 600,000 members in seven dioceses, including one in Swaziland and one in Botswana. With the end of apartheid South Africa started facing new challenges. The church engages with the people to find new ways of dealing with new challenges such as HIV, and to support the creation of sustainable urban and rural communities. For 30 years, the Berlin mission has maintained close contacts to church districts in the area. The ELCSA is the official partner of EKBO for the region.


Rev. Otto Kohlstock, the last Berlin missionary to stay in South Africa, is still active in the Social Ministry Centre of „Themba Labantu“, situated in Philippi, one of  Cape Town's slums.


Key aspects of activities in cooperation with local partners:

  • Focus on HIV prevention through educational programs, training of professional  counselors, and the  integration of AIDS victims into churches and communities,
  • Promotion of adult education,
  • Scholarships for black students,
  • Dealing with the difficult aspects of the Berlin Mission Society's former engagement in South Africa; addressing guilt,
  • Fostering of partnerships between German and South African churches and church districts.

Contact person

Dr. Martin Frank
Tel +49 (0)30 · 2 43 44-151
m.frank @