I live in South Africa and i have no idea what crisco is or what it does, and i need it for a recipe. What can i use?
It is vegetable oil hydrogenated to stay solid at room temp. You should be able to use butter without too much trouble, or a combo of butter and oil, or possibly coconut oil. What does it do in the recipe? If it's melted, no problem. If you're trying to get a flaky pastry, it will be harder to sub.
The closest would be Holsum, if that's still available. Or something similar. When I grew up in South Africa, that's what was widely used for cakes, pastries etc.
Coconut oil, palm oil, lard or butter - fats that are solid at room temperature.
Vegetable shortening had a couple of origins: it was designed as a cheap replacement for butter, and also became popular in Jewish communities because it could be use for baking in meals where meat was featured (which butter could not be so used). Butter, however, tends to produce a different crumb than shortening in baking, because it is structured differently. Vegetable shortening tends to result in a texture closer to the effect of lard. Lard has a distinct taste profile that people are not as familiar with nowadays, of course.