Local traditions and culture in South Africa

  • The Minstrel Festival, Jan 2014
    The Minstrel Festival, Jan 2014
    by MM212
  • Church of the good shepherd, Robben island.
    Church of the good shepherd, Robben...
    by Pod
  • Church sign. Robben island.
    Church sign. Robben island.
    by Pod

Most Viewed Local Customs in South Africa

  • didgeridorien's Profile Photo

    Afrikaans

    by didgeridorien Written May 15, 2009

    A lot of South Africans speak english, however it is interweaven with afrikaans as well. Here are some words and sentences you might encounter:

    Goeiemorre - Good morning
    Hoe gaan dit - How are you
    Goed - Good
    Ja - Yes
    Nee - No
    Asseblief - Please
    (Baaie) dankie - Thank you (very much)
    Braai - Barbeque (you'll have to attend one, it is awesome)
    Lekker - Nice
    Lekker slaap - Good night
    Ek spreek nie afrikaans nie - I don't speak afrikaans
    Izzit - Really, seriously (is also used when grammatically incorrect)
    Buddy - Mate, dude

    Good luck!

    Afrikaans advertising

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  • tini58de's Profile Photo

    Greeting etiquette

    by tini58de Written Apr 13, 2009

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    It is never good to make a bad impression on people when you first meet them - even if it is only because of cultural differences.

    Our friends luckily pointed out to us, how a proper greeting etiquette works in South Africa - and boy, was I glad to know that!!!

    Before you start any conversation, you should greet the person in a way like this:

    "Good morning - how are you?"
    "I am fine, thank you, how are you?"
    "Fine, thank you!" - and then you can start your conversation!!!!!

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  • tampa_shawn's Profile Photo

    Getting to know South Africa

    by tampa_shawn Written Oct 17, 2008

    South Africa has such an amazing history and getting to know this history will really increase your enjoyment of this country.

    Here are a few good books I've read (more to come):

    The Callings of Katie Makanya - This is a biography of an amazing life of Katie who was born in 1873.

    Soweto portrait of a city.

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  • DAO's Profile Photo

    HOW MANY LANGUAGES?

    by DAO Updated Aug 1, 2008

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    This is a screen from an ATM. Yes, that is 8 languages listed for you to choose from! There are 11 official languages in South Africa. They are:

    Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.

    English is almost universally understood.

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    THE FLAG OF SOUTH AFRICA

    by DAO Written Jul 9, 2008

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    The amazingly vibrant flag of the New South Africa is the only national flag with 6 colours in it without using a seal of some description. It was officially adopted on April 27, 1994 following the first elections after the end of apartheid. The flag has 2 horizontal bands of red (on the top) and blue (bottom) of equal width separated by a central green band which splits into a horizontal "Y" shape ending at the corners of the hoist side. The Y is has a black isosceles triangle from which the arms are separated by narrow yellow bands; the red and blue bands are separated from the green band and its arms by narrow white stripes.

    The colours are interpreted as:
    Red, white and blue from historical colonial flags of South Africa, including mainly those of Britain and Holland. The while green, black and gold represent the colours of the African people. The 'Y' is thought to symbolise the coming together of the different people of South Africa, who then take the path ahead together.

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    ROBOTS !

    by DAO Updated May 3, 2008

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    The first time it happened I was driving and my local friend Johannes was giving me directions. Suddenly I heard him say “Look out for the Robot”. I thought he was crazy. Suddenly I saw red traffic lights and had to apply the brakes quickly. We came to an almost violent stop and Johannes was looking at me like I was crazy now. Now he says “I told you to watch out for the Robot”. I am now looking around for metallic coloured mechanical man. I still don’t see one. That’s when Johannes realises and tells me that Robots in South Africa are automatic traffic lights. Mystery solved. Mr. Robot turns green and away we go.

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  • tampa_shawn's Profile Photo

    Uniquely South Africa Liquor - Amarula

    by tampa_shawn Updated Nov 13, 2007

    Amazing cream liquor made from the fruit of the Marula tree. I'd describe it as a Baileys Irish Cream with a caramel like flavor and a bit of a bite. Excellent

    This tree only grows in subequatorial Africa

    The trees cannot be cultivated, and so the fruit must be harvested in the wild. As the fruit ripens the skin becomes a light yellow, with white flesh inside around a large stone. Rich in vitamin C, and the nut packed with natural oil. The ripened fruit draws the animals of the plains with the promise of its annual feast. This fruit is the base ingredient from which Amarula is made.

    Amarula Cream was first introduced to the South African Liquor market in September 1989.

    LEGENDS AND FOLKLORE
    This fruit is an elephant favorite - the elephants ram the trees to get the fruits to fall off. As the fruit falls and lies on the ground, it starts to ferment, giving it a sweeter taste - and a slightly alcoholic content. Even the animals of the savannah will do just about anything to eat the Amarula fruit. Therefore the Marula trees are called the "Elephant Tree" among the locals.

    The fruit of the Marula tree is eaten plain, ice cold or made into beer, jellies or jams, the marula fruit and its oil-rich nut are always in demand when the tree is producing fruit.

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    Bishop Desmond Tutu

    by Jenniflower Updated Sep 26, 2007

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    Since 1994 South Africa has gone through a tremendous reconciliation process with the official end of apartheid. Tutu, a Bishop from Cape Town has been instrumental in bringing about reconciliation by forming a Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

    This committee was set up as a specific place where people who had done criminal things for political reasons could come and air their hearts, tell what they had done, and ask for forgiveness.

    This may sound inconceivable to many - but it worked!!!! Thousands of people came asking for forgiveness from the families of their victims, many a tear was shed, but everyone concerned found a relative peace within. A sense of closure.

    This is yet another reason why I am so proud to be South African. VIVA!!!!! :)

    Buthelezi at Madame Tussauds

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    Youth Day ~ 16 June

    by Jenniflower Updated Jun 28, 2007

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    On this date, in 1976, Soweto students protested against the official introduction of studying Afrikaans as a set curriculum subject.

    They would have no choice whether to study it or not...

    This language was seen as the language of the apartheid era as the leaders at the time were Afrikaans, and so there was a very anti-Afrikaans feeling within the black community.

    To have to suddenly HAVE to learn this at school was outrageous to them and so they protested. Theirs was a battle against the authorities and lives were lost.

    Hence the remembrance of these brave students.

    This photo is the well-known photo of Hector Pietersen and his sister Antoinette, Hector being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo. He was killed in this riot :(

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    THE HUMBLE OUTHOUSE

    by DAO Updated Apr 4, 2007

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    If you do stay with a family in most of South Africa, you will probably find that the toilet is outside. I would suggest you take a torch (flash light) with you on your travels. Proper etiquette is to whistle loudly as you approach or sing so that anyone inside can warn you of their presence. Not all of them have locks on the door!

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  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo

    Some facts about SA expats living in England...

    by Jenniflower Updated Jan 25, 2007

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    · South Africans living abroad are generally optimistic about South Africa, and aim to return one day!

    · Nearly 80% have some form of investment in the country still

    · Over 30% own a home there

    · Nearly 70% have a current bank account

    · Nearly 30% have kept their retirement plans going (which says a lot!)

    · Over 60% believe the country will go from strength to strength within the next 10 years

    · Nearly 50% believe South Africa has a fantastic future

    This is all very optimistic isn’t it? Many South Africans come to the UK to travel (it’s far easier and cheaper travelling from England than South Africa!), to gain valuable work experience.

    We came with the added view to getting to know our English relatives, of which we have quite a few, being of Anglo origin (all grand parents are English/Irish).

    There are some of course that came due to upsetting things that have happened within their families, and they wont return. But it is uplifting to know that most will. Us included.

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  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo

    South African expats

    by Jenniflower Updated Jan 25, 2007

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    As a South African, living in another country currently, I thought I might write about this, so you hear first-hand our thoughts on our land, and not what the telly and propoganda relish on you.

    I think my writings on my homepage and throughout my South Africa tips, show how much I love and admire my country of birth.

    She has so much going for it, so much inherent wealth in her land, people and soul, that I do believe she will grow into a strong nation.

    I already think she is a strong one, considering what she has gone through, and come through it sans a coup or a war!

    It is pretty unbelievable I think.

    We will certainly be returning to South Africa once we have completed the travels we wish to complete.

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    Day of Reconciliation 16 December ~

    by Jenniflower Updated Jan 25, 2007

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    This is a day that was once celebrated in the Old South Africa for an entirely different reason!

    Pre-democracy, this day was a celebration primarily celebrated by white Afrikaners - as the Day of the Vow, which marked the victory of the Voortrekkers (Afrikaners of Dutch heritage), over Zulu warriors at the Battle of Blood River.

    With the new government came a whitewash of this naturally, and it is now celebrated as a day that focuses on the efforts South Africans are making today to forget the conflicts and chasms of the past, and to now work together.

    Bishop Tutu
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  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo

    Heritage Day 24 September ~

    by Jenniflower Updated Jan 25, 2007

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    This is the day in the year that we celebrate the Rainbow Nation, the New South Africa!

    On 24 September we remember what we used to be as a nation, when so many were shackled by laws and suppression of some kind or another, and how we as a nation have risen above that, together, and how a Rainbow Nation has been formed.

    The term ‘rainbow’ refers to the many different colours that are distinctly different, but are now are standing alongside one another, in unity.

    Nelson Mandela
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    National Womens Day 9 August ~

    by Jenniflower Updated Jan 25, 2007

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    In apartheid times, black men and women had to carry passes with them at all times...

    They could be stopped, any time of the day or night, and had to produce their pass. There was a night curfew and if they breached this they were in serious trouble.

    In August 1956, 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the law of black women carrying these passes.

    This day commemorates this poignant march plus displays the strong role that women have played in South Africa becoming a democracy.

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