Understanding our Cultures
South Africa has 11 languages and each one of them is attached to a culture, whether it is quite similar to the next one or not. Historically the white speaking South Africans have strictly clung to their ancestral cultures from Europe and America, but has since 1994 embraced the African culture with a view to understand it and to harmonise it with theirs.
The Sub-Saharan African cultures are in certain areas very different from the above-mentioned cultures and sometimes exactly the opposite.
Let us have a look at a few of the most important differences between the European / American and the African cultures.
- 1. The African man always walks in front of a woman to protect her from dangers that may lurk in the bushes.
- 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.
South Africa is rated somewhere between a first and 3rd world country and if you keep this in mind your holiday will be very enjoyable. 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 the vibrant metropolis of Durban.
Image South Africa has been cited world-wide as a model for peaceful transition 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 fledgling 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 part of the first minute or two of your conversation and not just a nod of the head.