Thursday, May 2, 2013

South Africa 101, an education

The topic for today is "educate- talk about something you know a lot about"

There are many many things I know many many things about... no. Not at all.

What I do know is that in my travels in Europe, Asia and now the US I'm often the first South African people meet.

(were you impressed my travel name dropping I just did there?) 

No pressure... ambassador Lanette.

I've come to notice through the interesting questions and blank stares  I get that people need to know more about my amazing country.

So, that's what I'll educate the non-South African readers about today.

South Africa (...and South Africans) 23 things you need to know/ didn't know/ will know after you read this anyway:

Disclaimer: I'm hopelessly biased and everything listed below is highly subjective, just so you know.

1) South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world. It is.

2) South Africa is super diverse, and it's awesome. Four main race groups are Black, White, Colored and Indian.
(this, I've found important to share in the past as some people have wondered why I'm not black, or if I'm just a very light black person)

3)Referring to a group of people as colored is not racist (we should know), however, I've noticed that this is frowned upon in most American circles. (sorry about that, but there really is a different group in SA, you should read more about them here.)

4) There are no tigers or bears in South Africa.

5) It's okay to discuss South African politics with a South African, as long as you do so with humor and an open mind.

6) Charlize Theron... that's our girl.

7) You can't go up Table Mountain in Cape Town the one day and go on Safari in the Kruger National Park the next day. It's really far apart. (In South African distance, maybe not so much in American distance)
 8) There are 11 official languages, English is the official language for commerce and so on.

I got asked the other day if I'm from South Africa then how can I speak English so well... so there's the answer to that.

9)There's less than one fatal shark attack in South African waters per year. So Shark cage diving anyone?

10) Yes, the crime in South Africa is major problem and we hate it.

11) This doesn't mean you shouldn't go visit. Just go! Tourism figures show that travel to South Africa is only on the increase, so just go...

12)  You can talk and ask about Apartheid if you really want, but keep in mind it's been over for almost two decades now and we really really just want to move on. We're generally a pretty hopeful young nation that believes what's ahead of us, is far greater than what's behind us.

13) Nelson Mandela is our favorite.

14) We generally celebrate Christmas in South Africa

(I get asked this a lot)

15) The first heart transplant took place in South Africa performed by Chris Barnard. 

16) South African accents are pretty hard to do. (Cause there are so many)

Leonardo di Caprio's accent in Blood Diamond starts of a bit shaky but then turns into something I've heard before, kind of.
Matt Damon's accent in Invictus was kind of adorable.

17) J. R. R Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa.

18) We have the only street in the world where TWO Nobel Peace Prize Winners used to live. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street.

19) South Africa is about twice the size of Texas

20) We're the only boarder country to Lesotho 

21) We think a braai (BBQ) is the answer to just about anything. (and wine...) ((oh, that's just me)) (((see disclaimer)))

22) Ernest in the Army was filmed in South Africa, apparently

23) These are useful South African words to know:

g (a-ch): The South African equivalent of a Homer Simpson d’oh!
Braai: barbecue or grill, both as noun and verb. Jason’s having a braai over at his place. Yep, he’s going to braai up some lovely springbok loins.
Bra/bru: Terms of basic male endearment, along the lines of brother or dude.
Howzit? How’s it going, contracted. The standard greeting throughout South Africa, and the easiest and most immediate way to demonstrate that you’re paying attention. The Coloured variation is Hoeziet (who-zeet)
Just now/ now now: Maybe in five minutes, maybe in a couple days. “I’ll be over just now.”
Lekker: Cool! Nice! Great! All of the above, used with amazing frequency to describe everything from an astounding rugby play to a plan to get wasted and watch
Robot: traffic light
Stompie: cigarette butt
Yebo: Yes in Zulu, but used colloquially by most everyone.
(copied from here)

Well, there you go. South Africa, a short education. Hopefully I didn't offend anybody or anything like that, but I'm South African and things can get pretty offensive, it's just how we roll.

Did I leave out anything important fellow saffas?


  1. hello my vriendin! lekker om 'n paar dinge van my eie land te leer. kry jy jou blogg topics of dink jy jou eie uit? lekker dag! lallie :)

    1. hey liewe Lallie, ek's bly ek kon jou ook 'enlighten' saam die res van die wereld ;)
      Ek volg so ander blog 'story of my life' en het die idea daar gekry, so werk maar deur die lys van topics, van die topics is bietjie simple maar ander geniet ek nogal om te doen. Ek werk nog aan jou Facebook message in my kop (coming soon) xx

  2. You offended me with your talk of 'springbok loins'. Harumph!