South Africa

South Africa Don’ts

  • Do not ever use ‘negro’ or ‘black’ which is banned in Africa, as it’s thought reflecting black slaves and their descendants who were trafficked to the United States.
  • Do not call African indigenous ‘African’, as in Africa, the so-called African refers only to a specific group of people, the Republic of South Africa Netherlands Hispanic whites.
  • Do not call Afrikaners “Dutchmen” and Do not call Afrikaans “Kitchen Dutch.” Afrikaners Do not consider themselves Dutch.
  • Do not take photos of government/military buildings or police stations, nor pick dirty, poor cluster areas to film, which hurts local people’s self-esteem and is considered as bad behaviour.
  • Do not leave food on your plate when you have finished eating. But in western Nigeria, do not eat all up, as it’s for The Holy Spirit.
  • Do not touch someone’s arm or stand too close to someone.
  • Do not sunbathe nude unless you are at a designated nude beach. Wear a bikini if you’re a woman, or a pair of swim trunks if you are a man.
  • For female tourists, Do not walk in the street alone, and better wear white and the cloak, as in Algeria, women alone in public are prohibited, except visiting the store for shopping, and wear white and the cloak are chastity, will be unimpeded without danger.
  • Follow strict hunting taboos when Safari in East Africa, such as DO NOT imitate animal sounds, throw objects, or corner a wild animal. Do not feed animals. Do not talk or twitter to scare away animals; Do not come out of the car for safety concern; NO cigarette or fire at all times in case causing forest fire, etc.

 

South Africa Do’s

  • Do raise right hand, palm toward each other when greeting, as it symbolises “No weapons” in ancient times, and is widely used as symbol of friendship nowadays.
  • Do give a strong handshake as in Africa, feeble handshake was described as “ill-manners” and no sincerity, and strong handshake is a gesture of goodwill.
  • Do ask for permission before taking photograph, as Africans generally believe that the camera can absorb and exhaust the ‘essence’ of people, houses and livestock.
  • Do wear what you normally would wear when in urban parts, but dress nicely. In South African urban cultures, people usually wear typical Western attire.
  • Do put your napkin on your lap upon being seated, cross your knife and fork on your plate to indicate that you are still eating, and place your knife and fork together to indicate that you have finished eating.
  • Do tip 10-20% at a restaurant, and in a private vehicle, tip $20 per guest each day.
  • Do use either both hands or your right hand to give or receive a present, and open your gift immediately. Give gifts such as cigars, whiskey, wine, a souvenir from your hometown, or flowers. There are no taboos in terms of giving flowers, although carnations are sometimes associated with funerals.