Cultural practices of South Africa

South Africans don’t call themselves the Rainbow Nation for nothing. The mix and variety of local languages and cultures is unlike anywhere else in the world. Each culture has its own frames of reference and idiosyncrasies, but hospitality, warmth and openness are common traits to all. Be prepared to slow down a little, and take the time to chat. You’ll find people from all walks of life keen for a conversation, especially if you can start things off with a few words in their home tongue. Punctuality is not particularly important, or rather people tend to be less specific about the time they’ll arrive. ‘Africa time’ is a cliché, but it’s apt. You’ll hear the phrase ‘just now’ a lot. It means some indeterminate time in the future (not the past), so no need to hurry, whatever’s happening, will happen in a bit. Common courtesy will get you as far in South Africa as anywhere else in the world. There’s a general awareness and acceptance of difference, and there’s not much you could do to offend that wouldn’t also be offensive at home.