South Africa Customs and Cultures
Understanding South Africa’s customs and Cultures
South Africa has 11 languages, each one of them attached to a culture. Some are quite similar to the next one. Historically, the white-speaking South Africans have strictly clung to their ancestral cultures from Europe and America. However, since 1994 they embraced the African culture to understand it and harmonise it with theirs.
The Sub-Saharan African cultures are very different from the above-mentioned cultures and sometimes exactly the opposite.
Let us look at a few of the most important differences between the European / American and African cultures.
- 1. The African man always walks in front of a woman to protect her from dangers that may lurk in front of them.
- 2. An African person never looks a superior (‘class’ or age) in the eyes, always down in front of him/her,
- 3. and will never address such superior first, but wait to be spoken to before replying – even when greeting.
From both cultural sides, one could construe the other’s behaviour as downright rude. By following his culture, the African can – by default – come across to the European’s culture as disrespectful. Both cultures had to understand these differences to avoid friction in the past.
South Africa rates somewhere between and first and third world country, keet this in mind and your holiday will be delightful.
The country has a vibrant array of cultures, which is more evident in the major metropolitan areas, especially in Durban. Durban is often called the ‘Melting Pot’ of cultures where Africa, the East and West meet to form Durban’s vibrant metropolis.
Worldwide, South Africa is cited as a peaceful transition model since the Apartheid regime negotiated itself out of power and handed the reigns to a true democracy. Today the general mood in South Africa is one of hope and determination to succeed in making our fledgeling democracy work.
You will find South Africans generally very friendly and helpful. It is especially evident in the black population where a simple greeting takes the most of the first minute or two of your conversation and not just a nod of the head.
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