Archive for November, 2012

Native people

About native people

  • It all started with “Adam and Eve”, who are originally from South Africa. Not that there has been the ‘Garden of Eden’, God knows where he was, but according to the best scientific information available, most likely was at the southern tip of the African continent where humans first walked on the earth.

There is evidence for some of the archaeological remains found, that, as 40,000 years ago, people in Africa, began to observe the movements of the stars and take note of the seasonal cycles of nature. This observation, at some time between 6000 and 12,000 years ago, is more systematic and transformed, in societies that inhabit the banks of the Nile, in an empirical science.

  •  • The figure of a father and powerful protector also appears among African peoples. And, regarding his cosmology, numerous legends mark the idiosyncrasies of the different tribes. All people have believed that the earth was not old, and has always existed.

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In regard to rites and customs, all traditions are based on beliefs in male deities in ancestral spirits and supernatural forces. Old ways as animal sacrifice and polygamy still maintained

South African traditional religions believe in a creator god and the spiritual forces of nature.

There is no uniformity in the worship of ancestors, depending on the ethnic group.

They are very attached to religion and believers in witchcraft. Sangomase called the sorceress, the person with whom they will be cured, to know your future and your enemies away.

Using medicated powders, incense for environmental cleanup and chicken blood to remove the evils. They say that football teams have their own Sangomapara to help and accompany them throughout the season.


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Social Norms

–  Social norms:

Social norms in South Africa are not well known, some of them are:

-The handshake is the most common form of greeting.

-When invited to someone’s home, always observe the basic rules of courtesy.

-In the social events and receptions men wear suits with black ties and evening dresses women.

-It is entirely non-smoking in cinemas and theater

-Officially ignored, but popularly held, is the Day of Soweto, now called Youth Day on 16 June. The National Arts Festival transforms Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape, in July, in which stages all kinds of cultural activities

-In some cultures like Lemba, keep a weekly rest day and avoid eating pork and hippopotamus, all considered by them as part of their Jewish heritage.

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Religion & Rituals

. Religion

Miscegenation in urban areas has promoted the disappearance of some traditions, associated with religion, the most recurring within South Africa are those that have to do with marry or have more than one wife at a time.

Most inhabitants are Christianity of some of the cults of the Catholic Church, Anglican, Protestant, Calvinist Afrikaner or African Independent Churches. There are also significant Hindu communities, Muslim and Jewish. Indigenous religions are deeply rooted and often practiced together with Christianity.

South Africa has a broad mix of religions. Some religions are based in ethnic and regional areas of South Africa’s population. The immense majority of South Africans are Christians. The South African government has actively promoted particular Christian beliefs during the twentieth century, but there is no official state religion or whatsoever substantial government inhibition concerning religious beliefs.

The most prominent instituted Christian denominations rooted from European colony. About 80% of all South Africans are Christians, and most are Protestants. More than 8 million are members of African Independent churches, which have at least 4,000 congregations. The denomination generally holds a combination of traditional African and Protestant beliefs. The other large Protestant denomination, the Dutch Reformed Church, has about 4 million members in several branches. It arrived in South Africa in the 17th century.

The other major religions are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Bahá’í Faith. Hinduism was introduced by the bound servants transferred from the Indian subcontinent. Islam was introduced through Cape Malay slaves of the Dutch colonists. Muslims dominate around 30 to 40 countries from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 1990s, Muslim community in South Africa has a population of around 400,000 and gaining new members, particularly among black South Africans. The majority of Muslims are Indian ancestry. Some live in or close to Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Buddhism was introduced by some Chinese and Indian immigrants. The Bahá’í Faith was introduced in 1911.

 Religion  Nº  %
Cristian  35 750 636 79,8%
Judaism 75 555 0,2%
Hinduism 551 669 1,2%
Islam 654 064 1,5%
Other 283 814 0,6%
No religion 6 767 165 15,1%
Not determinated 610 971 1,4%
Total 44 819 778  


Some of the rituals:


The search of a husband for a girl begins from birth, marriage repaired by parents: it is about years of exchange (gifts before children get married)

The parents of the man approaching the woman’s mother and make the proposal of marriage, sealed the deal through Kamasi (exchange of gifts between the bride and groom’s parents)

  • Marriage “by catch” or Kung: Attempt to express the real conflict between husband and wife and between parents and children during the wedding Kung simulates the girl is taken to the strength of the home of his parents to another built for the occasion. They anoint the bodies of the couple with special oils and aromatic powders. Marriage begins as an unwanted situation. Normal Kung Marriage has many aspects of marriage-by-capture, an ancient and controversial marriage in which the groom to the bride steals. With this ritual expressing the real conflict between husband and wife and between parents and children.
  • Polygamy is allowed and what men want, but wives generally oppose it.
  • Polyandry is less common and is considered an irregular union and non-sexual. When there is between older people and non-fertile ages


Traditional circumcision:

Step of young adults.

It occurs when the parent decides the child is ready to go to the “cabin”

It lasts six weeks

His goal is for the youth to learn the traditions of their ethnicity, this preparation ends with circumcision



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South Africa, on the continent’s southern tip, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and by the Indian Ocean on the south and east. Its neighbors are Namibia in the northwest, Zimbabwe and Botswana in the north, and Mozambique and Swaziland in the northeast. The kingdom of Lesotho forms an enclave within the southeast part of South Africa, which occupies an area nearly three times that of California.

The southernmost point of Africa is Cape Agulhas, located in the Western Cape Province about 100 mi (161 km) southeast of the Cape of Good hope

The San people were the first settlers; the Khoikhoi and Bantu-speaking tribes followed. The Dutch East India Company landed the first European settlers on the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, launching a colony that by the end of the 18th century numbered only about 15,000. Known as Boers or Afrikaners, and speaking a Dutch dialect known as Afrikaans, the settlers as early as 1795 tried to establish an independent republic.

After occupying the Cape Colony in that year, Britain took permanent possession in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, bringing in 5,000 settlers. Anglicization of government and the freeing of slaves in 1833 drove about 12,000 Afrikaners to make the “great trek” north and east into African tribal territory, where they established the republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold nine years later brought an influx of “outlanders” into the republics and spurred Cape Colony prime minister Cecil Rhodes to plot annexation. Rhodes’s scheme of sparking an “outlander” rebellion, to which an armed party under Leander Starr Jameson would ride to the rescue, misfired in 1895, forcing Rhodes to resign. What British expansionists called the “inevitable” war with the Boers broke out on Oct. 11, 1899. The defeat of the Boers in 1902 led in 1910 to the Union of South Africa, composed of four provinces, the two former republics, and the old Cape and Natal colonies. Louis Botha, a Boer, became the first prime minister. Organized political activity among Africans started with the establishment of the African National Congress in 1912.

South Africa’s Independence is Tarnished by Apartheid

Jan Christiaan Smuts brought the nation into World War II on the Allied side against Nationalist opposition, and South Africa became a charter member of the United Nations in 1945, but he refused to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Apartheid—racial separation—dominated domestic politics as the Nationalists gained power and imposed greater restrictions on Bantus (black Africans), Asians, and Coloreds (in South Africa the term meant any nonwhite person). Black voters were removed from the voter rolls in 1936. Over the next half-century, the nonwhite population of South Africa was forced out of designated white areas. The Group Areas Acts of 1950 and 1986 forced about 1.5 million Africans to move from cities to rural townships, where they lived in abject poverty under repressive laws.

South Africa declared itself a republic in 1961 and severed its ties with the Commonwealth, which strongly objected to the country’s racist policies. The white supremacist National Party, which had first come to power in 1948, would continue its rule for the next three decades.

In 1960, 70 black protesters were killed during a peaceful demonstration in Sharpesville. The African National Congress (ANC), the principal antiapartheid organization, was banned that year, and in 1964 its leader, Nelson Mandela, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Black protests against apartheid grew stronger and more violent. In 1976, an uprising in the black township of Soweto spread to other black townships and left 600 dead. Beginning in the 1960s, international opposition to apartheid intensified. The UN imposed sanctions, and many countries divested their South African holdings.

Apartheid’s grip on South Africa began to give way when F. W. de Klerk replaced P. W. Botha as president in 1989. De Klerk removed the ban on the ANC and released its leader, Nelson Mandela, after 27 years of imprisonment. The Inkatha Freedom Party, a black opposition group led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, which was seen as collaborating with the apartheid system, frequently clashed with the ANC during this period

Apartheid is Abolished; Mandela Becomes President

In 1991, a multiracial forum led by de Klerk and Mandela, the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), began working on a new constitution. In 1993, an interim constitution was passed, which dismantled apartheid and provided for a multiracial democracy with majority rule. The peaceful transition of South Africa from one of the world’s most repressive societies into a democracy is one of the 20th century’s most remarkable success stories. Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

The 1994 election, the country’s first multiracial one, resulted in a massive victory for Mandela and his ANC. The new government included six ministers from the National Party and three from the Inkatha Freedom Party. A new national constitution was approved and adopted in May 1996.

In 1997 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Desmond Tutu, began hearings regarding human rights violations between 1960 and 1993. The commission promised amnesty to those who confessed their crimes under the apartheid system. In 1998, F. W. de Klerk, P.W. Botha, and leaders of the ANC appeared before the commission, and the nation continued to grapple with its enlightened but often painful and divisive process of national recovery.

Mbeki Takes Over From Mandela

Nelson Mandela, whose term as president cemented his reputation as one of the world’s most farsighted and magnanimous statesmen, retired in 1999. On June 2, 1999, Thabo Mbeki, the pragmatic deputy president and leader of the ANC, was elected president in a landslide, having already assumed many of Mandela’s governing responsibilities.

In his first term, Mbeki wrestled with a slumping economy and a skyrocketing crime rate. South Africa, the country with the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world (6.5 million in 2005), has been hampered in fighting the epidemic by its president’s highly controversial views. Mbeki has denied the link between HIV and AIDS and claimed that the West has exaggerated the epidemic to boost drug profits. The international community as well as most South African leaders, including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, have condemned Mbeki’s stance. In 2006, 60 international scientists called the government’s policies “disastrous and pseudo-scientific.”

As expected, on April 15, 2004, the African National Congress won South Africa’s general election in a landslide, taking about 70% of the vote, and Thabo Mbeki was sworn in for a second term.

In December 2007, African National Committee delegates chose Jacob Zuma as their leader, ousting Mbeki, who had been in control of the party for the last ten years. Zuma was acquitted of rape charges in 2006. In late December, prosecutors reopened corruption charges against Zuma and ordered him to face trial for “various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption, and fraud.” He was accused of accepting more than $440,000 in bribes in exchange for helping a friend, Schabir Shaik, secure $5 billion in an arms deal and other government contracts. Zuma’s lawyers accused Mbeki of trying to sabotage Zuma’s political career. A High Court judge dismissed the corruption charges against Zuma in September 2008, saying the government mishandled the prosecution. The judge also criticized President Mbeki for attempting to influence the prosecution of Zuma.

Motlanthe Serves as “Interim” President; Opposition to the ANC Grows

Under pressure from leaders the African National Congress (ANC), Mbeki announced he would step down just days after Zuma was cleared. While party leader’s cited Mbeki’s alleged interference in the corruption case against Zuma, Mbeki’s resignation culminated several years of bitter infighting between Zuma and Mbeki, which led to discord in the ANC. On Sep. 25, Parliament elected Kgalema Motlanthe, a labor leader who was imprisoned during apartheid, as president. Zuma must be a member of Parliament before he can be elected president. Parliamentary elections are expected in early 2009.

On his first day as president, Motlanthe acted to move beyond Mbeki’s resistance to using modern and effective methods, such as antirretroviral medicines, to tackle its AIDS crisis by replacing South Africa’s health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who has suggested that garlic, lemon juice, and beetroot could cure AIDS, with Barbara Hogan. “The era of denialism is over,” she said. More than 5.7 million South Africans are HIV-positive, the highest number of any country in the world.

In November, about 6,400 dissident members of the ANC held a convention in Johannesburg and decided to form a new party that will challenge the leadership of the ANC. The delegates, many of whom supported former president Mbeki, expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of the party, calling it corrupt, authoritarian, and “rotting.” In December, the new party, the Congress of the People (COPE), selected former defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota as its president.

Zuma Assumes the Presidency

South African’s Supreme Court reinstated corruption charges against Zuma in January 2009, saying that a lower court had “overstepped” its authority in dismissing the charges. However, the country’s prosecuting authority dropped all charges against Zuma in April, about two weeks before national elections, citing “intolerable abuse” by investigators who were loyal to former president Mbeki.

In April’s general election, the ruling party, the African National Congress, won overwhelming support, taking 65.9% of the vote, just shy of a two-thirds majority, which is required to change the constitution. Parliament elected Zuma president in May.



The population of South Africa is about 80% black (African) and 10% white (European), with about 9% people of mixed white and black descent (formerly called “Coloured”), and a small minority of South and East Asian background. Although these ethnic divisions were rigidly enforced under the policy of apartheid [Afrikaans, = apartness], racial distinctions are often arbitrary. People of African descent fall into several groups, based on their first language.

South Africa has 11 official languages, nine of which are indigenous—Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Sotho, Swazi, Venda, Ndebele, Pedi, and Tsonga. Many blacks also speak Afrikaans (the first language of about 60% of the whites and the majority of those of mixed race) or English (the first language of most of the rest of the nonblacks). A lingua franca called Fanagalo developed in the mining areas, but it is not widely used today. About 80% of the population is Christian; major groups include the Zionist, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Dutch Reformed, and Anglican churches. There are small minorities of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and followers of traditional African religions.



Until about 1870 the economy of the region was almost entirely based on agriculture. With the discovery of diamonds and gold in the late 19th cent., mining became the foundation for rapid economic development. In the 20th cent. the country’s economy was diversified, so that by 1945 manufacturing was the leading contributor to the gross national product (GNP). By 2006, services contributed some 67% of the GNP, while industry contributed over 30% and agriculture only about 2.5%. The economy is still largely controlled by whites, but nonwhites make up more than 75% of the workforce. Working conditions and pay are often poor, and many nonwhites are subsistence farmers.

South Africa has a limited amount of arable land (about 12%) and inadequate irrigation; production is diminished during periodic droughts. The chief crops are corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, sorghum, potatoes, peanuts, cotton, and tobacco. In addition, large numbers of dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats (including many Angora goats), and hogs are raised. There is a large fishing industry, and much fish meal is produced. Tourism also contributes significantly to the economy.

The main industrial centers are Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pretoria, and Germiston. There is food processing and a large wine industry. Principal manufactures include machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, and forest products. South Africa is a world leader in the production of platinum, gold, chromium, diamonds, aluminosilicates, manganese, and vanadium. Other leading minerals extracted are copper ore, coal, asbestos, iron ore, silver, titanium, and uranium. Automobile assembly, metalworking, and commercial ship repair are also important.

The country has good road and rail networks. The chief seaports are Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Saldonha Bay, and Mossel Bay, where natural gas is now extracted offshore. The Orange River Project, a major hydroelectric and irrigation scheme, began in 1963 in central South Africa and was fully operational by the mid-1980s. By 2008, however, the lagging development of electrical power generation capacity led to power shortages within South Africa.

The main imports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, and foodstuffs. The chief exports are gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, equipment, chemicals, and arms. The principal trade partners are Germany, the United States, Japan, and Great Britain. South Africa carries on a large-scale foreign trade and generally maintains a favorable trade balance.


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Etiquette and Customs

Etiquette & Customs in South Africa

Meeting Etiquette

. There are several greeting styles in South Africa depending upon the ethnic heritage of the person you are meeting.
. When dealing with foreigners, most South Africans shake hands while maintaining eye contact and smiling.
. Some women do not shake hands and merely nod their head, so it is best to wait for a woman to extend her hand.
Men may kiss a woman they know well on the cheek in place of a handshake.Greetings are leisurely and include time for social discussion and exchanging pleasantries.

Gift Giving Etiquette

In general, South Africans give gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
. Two birthdays – 21 and 40 – are often celebrated with a large party in which a lavish gift is given. It is common for several friends to contribute to this gift to help defray the cost.
. If you are invited to a South African’s home, bring flowers, good quality chocolates, or a bottle of good South African wine to the hostess.
. Wrapping a gift nicely shows extra effort.
. Gifts are opened when received.

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited to a South African’s house:
. Arrive on time if invited to dinner.
. Contact the hostess ahead of time to see if she would like you to bring a dish.
. Wear casual clothes. This may include jeans or pressed shorts. It is a good idea to check with the hosts in advance.
. In Johannesburg, casual is dressier than in other parts of the country. Do not wear jeans or shorts unless you have spoken to the hosts.
. Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served.

Business Etiquette and ProtocolRelationships & Communication

. South Africans are transactional and do not need to establish long-standing personal relationships before conducting business.
. If your company is not known in South Africa, a more formal introduction may help you gain access to decision-makers and not be shunted off to gatekeepers.
. Networking and relationship building are crucial for long-term business success.
. Relationships are built in the office.
. Most businessmen are looking for long-term business relationships.
. Although the country leans towards egalitarianism, businesspeople respect senior executives and those who have attained their position through hard work and perseverance.
. There are major differences in communication styles depending upon the individual’s cultural heritage.
. For the most part, South Africans want to maintain harmonious working relationships, so they avoid confrontations.
. They often use metaphors and sports analogies to demonstrate a point.
. Most South Africans, regardless of ethnicity, prefer face-to-face meetings to more impersonal communication mediums such as email, letter, or telephone.

Business Meeting Etiquette

. Appointments are necessary and should be made as far in advance as possible.
. It may be difficult to arrange meetings with senior level managers on short notice, although you may be able to do so with lower-level managers.
. It is often difficult to schedule meetings from mid December to mid January or the two weeks surrounding Easter, as these are prime vacation times.
. Personal relationships are important. The initial meeting is often used to establish a personal rapport and to determine if you are trustworthy.
. After a meeting, send a letter summarizing what was decided and the next steps.

Business Negotiations

. It is imperative to develop mutual trust before negotiating.
. Women have yet to attain senior level positions. If you send a woman, she must expect to encounter some condescending behaviour and to be tested in ways that a male colleague would not.
. Do not interrupt a South African while they are speaking.
. South Africans strive for consensus and win-win situations.
. Include delivery dates in contracts. Deadlines are often viewed as fluid rather than firm commitments.
. Start negotiating with a realistic figure. South Africans do not like haggling over price.
. Decision-making may be concentrated at the top of the company and decisions are often made after consultation with subordinates, so the process can be slow and protracted.

Dress Etiquette

. Business attire is becoming more informal in many companies. However, for the first meeting, it is best to dress more conservatively.
. Men should wear dark coloured conservative business suits.
. Women should wear elegant business suits or dresses.

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Mandela Day

Mandela Day

When: Thursday, 18 July 2013
Where: South Africa , Nationwide
Categories: Annual Festivals / Charity Events

Mandela Day

Every year on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the 18th July, South Africans are called to contribute 67 minutes of community service. The campaign is designed to honour Madiba’s legacy of devotion and service to others by showing our commitment to making the world a better place as we harness collective energy to build our communities. It’s a heartfelt call to action to take the first small steps to follow in his footsteps.

“It’s in your hands to make the world a better place.”

This is what Nelson Mandela said during his 90th birthday celebrations when he was appealing to all citizens to rise up and do something. This was his time to hand over the baton of community service to the beneficiaries of his legacy.

Public service organisation, GreaterGood SA, connects givers with good causes and activates the public to give time, skills, goods and cash – advocating for citizens to get involved in the development of their country. This day is now recognised by the United Nations as an international day of humanitarian action.

“We do however believe that we have reached a tipping point for volunteer action in South Africa, which is being driven by the renewed sense of national pride created by the World Cup and a growing interest in community service around campaigns like Mandela Day.” CEO of the group, Dean Hand.

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