I have a South African son-in-law, so I have experienced the frustration of researching his family, and I suspect there are lots of readers trying to trace ancestry there.
Where can you go? This site has been recommended to me: www.ancestry24.co.nz - billed as South Africa’s most comprehensive ancestral and genealogical service. You have to register to use the site (free). You can take out a subscription - R200 ($NZ35) for a year or R125 ($NZ22) for six months. I have not been able to find any records to search without paying the sub, but there is a lot of background information worth reading.
There are three things to remember when you start something new: Soak, Shout, Save!
Soak up all the information you can. Tutorials are a good idea. Try tinyurl.com/48awno , www.genealogylocator.com , home.global.co.za/~mercon , www.national.archives.gov.za and www.africagenweb.org
Maybe you are not quite ready to shout yet - that is, to list the names you are researching on mailing lists, forums, etc. So ‘lurk’ for a while to see if there is something of interest for you. Subscribe for free to lists.rootsweb.ancestry.com then scroll down to ‘Find a Mailing List’ and type in your country, county, town, surname, etc. You can also search the Mailing List Archives for your surname or place. Try the Message Boards too. Check www.genealogy.org.nz (NZ Society of Genealogists) in case someone else is researching your family, and see also genforum.genealogy.com/southafrica/all.html Always check pay-to-view sites like www.worldvitalrecords.com, www.findmypast.com , www.ancestry.com.au and www.thegenealogist.com
Do try to keep track of (save) where you search, what you search for and what you find. Go to www.treepad.com (TreePadLite is free; TreePadPlus and Biz can be tried for three weeks before purchasing). If you just use Word, at least note the date, the site you searched, what you searched for (name, etc.) and what you found. Keep track of your subscription information to the sites too. Remember, no matter where you are searching, check out www.familysearchwiki.org
Do you have some ‘free’ time and would like to help the genealogy world? Go to www.familysearchindexing.org , click on ‘Volunteer’ and sign on to join thousands of others indexing films in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It’s easy to do, and already results are available on www.familysearchlabs.org See also community.ancestry.com/wap/dashboard.aspx where you can download software that places the original image page by page and the data fields on your screen.