South African People

Much of the world considers south Africa to be a more ‘developed’ country compared to the rest of Africa, and to a certain extent that is true. Many a revolution has happened here, which gave rise to greats like Mandela, and also deeply affected the life of Mahatma Gandhi, who returned to India to fight non-violently with the British. South Africa does have blacks as the majority, and most of the people still stay in villages, living hand-to-the-mouth. However, these very people, who are devoid of the benefits of development, have made sure that cultural traditions are not lost. The most frequently used language is English. There are ten other official languages though (such as Afrikaans).

Most ethnic groups have traditionally accorded lesser importance to women. This is more visible in the rural areas where the influence of a patriarchal society is largely seen, and not as restrictive in the liberal English-speaking whites. However, recently, political and economic developments have given a chance to south African women not only to face new challenges but also to take advantage of new opportunities to exert their influence.

Kwaito is a popular style of music developed by the black musicians here, which is prominently featured in different forms of media. Jazz is also popular. In certain pockets, you will also find rock music to be popular. Not many films made in south Africa are popular outside the country, but recently that situation is changing with a few films being selected for screening / nomination and awards at international film festivals. Many films often depict the racial discrimination in south Africa, although only a few of them have managed to enjoy worldwide commercial success.

Most of the food eaten here is meat-based. While barbecues tend to be popular among the whites, pearl millet is popular among the blacks. Slowly, vegetarianism is gaining ground. The Indians staying here have also brought with them their respective religious beliefs, tradition and cuisine (such as the curry).

There is a growing tendency among the affluent ones to go abroad for studies and work. They do so in order to be exposed to the world markets and gain a better understanding of how the rest of the world works, which is vital in today’s age of globalization. Students go through grade R (pre-primary) to grades 1 to 12, of which the first seven years are considered primary. Apart from the traditional universities offering theory-oriented degrees, there are also ‘Technikons’, or universities of technology, which are more job-oriented. There are also universities that offer both of these. The medium of instruction is usually English and in some cases Afrikaans. Earlier, there was a lot of discrimination practiced in education as well, which resulted into schools for blacks not only receiving insufficient funding but also a separate curriculum which would only train them for blue-collar jobs.

Among sports, soccer, cricket and rugby have a huge following. Many modern world-renowned cricket players such as Jean Paul Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, belong to the south African cricket team.


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