South African Culture

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South Africa:
A Cultural Experience


South Africa is located at the southern region of Africa with a long coastline stretching out about 1550 miles and across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It holds a large variety of climates, as well. South Africa is the largest racially diverse nation consisting of nine provinces. It has the largest population of people that includes colored, black, whites and Indian communities in the world. It is referred to as a “Rainbow Nation”. There are 11 languages in South Africa, including clicks. Afrikaans is widely spoken here, where it was used by the Dutch settlers. Cape Town is the second largest city located on the sea with soaring mountains; Cape of Good Hope is just a short distance away. Johannesburg, is the largest city and most important by far. South Africa’s gold and diamond companies are located here. Some of the richest people in the country live here, while many of the poorest live here as well.

The Dutch originally founded this nation during the 17th and 18th centuries. There was such a shortage of laborers, they brought slaves from Madagascar, India, and Indonesia. This is of course how the population both colored and blacks were increased. They have evolved significantly different than other nations due to the fact that immigrations from Europe were much higher than any other place. When the Suez Canal was closed during the Six Day War, this Cape Sea route and the mineral wealth made from the country caused much importance to these areas. Diamonds were discovered in 1867 and gold was found in 1886, which helped the economy tremendously. Once the war ended in 1881, there were one or more provisions written for the people: No blacks could vote except in the Cape Colony. The strife between whites and blacks has played a huge part in the importance of this country’s history and politics. When the partie ended in 1994, Mandella was their leader and to this day considered a hero. Currently Mbiki is their president. Although they are becoming more Westernized their strong African traditions influence the peoples’ decisions to not 1

support a woman in a political position.

The diverse climate in South Africa offers extreme desert to lush subtropical climate in the eastern section near the ocean. You could experience any variety of climates on a visit there. Also along with the many wonders of Africa, you can see a wide variety of African animals. There are several protected animal parks that host many different types of African animals. Krueger National Park is one that is located in South Africa and is a terrific safari experience in which you can be amongst the wildlife of the African animals.

The Africa National Congress is the political party in charge. They are considered a black party and there is much corruption. The social norm is for the African people to pay patronage first and only to their tribe and not to the state. They have little trust or confidence in their political party.

There are many South Africans that still live in huts or make shift shacks. The shacks are made of sheets of zinc and aluminum and pieces of plastic and wood. These camps are called Squatter Camps. Squatter Camps are very poorly constructed make shift houses, where the very poor live. There is very little water and the conditions are not very sanitary. If you go to the bigger cities you will find homes similar to ours.

There continues to be great diversity in music as well as dance, food and art in South Africa. In Johannesburg, there are clubs which are geared specifically for the elite members. There you can dance the night away. You can certainly find tribal dancing as well, but a lot of what you find is specifically for the tourists. The common meal consists of some kind of meat: sometime unknown or other can be crocodile, lamb, chicken,...
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