Culture refers to the shared knowledge and characteristics of a specific group of individuals. The various components of culture include arts and recreation, social structures, religion, language, and cuisine.
2. 2. Country Overview: South Africa
South Africa is one of the states with the largest economy in Africa as a result of its improved infrastructural developments. The country achieved its independence from the British in 1994; a rule that was associated with racial discrimination, which was also known as the apartheid system (“South Africa Country Profile”). Currently, Pretoria is South Africa’s administrative capital (the de facto national capital) that houses the executive wing of the government. The country’s geographical local covers an area of 1.22 million square kilometers (470,693 square miles), which borders Namibia, Botswana, the Indian Ocean, and the South Atlantic Ocean (“South Africa Country Profile”). South Africa’s population as of 2018 stood at 50.7 million (“South Africa Country Profile”).
3.0. The culture of South Africa
South Africa is one of the leading nations with diverse cultures due to the mixture of races. The country being a former European colony, its population is mixed up to include people from Asian, African, and European origin. However, the Zulu tribe, which originates from Kwazulu-Natal and Xhosa tribe whose people occupy the Eastern Cape of South Africa are the major groups with influences on the nation’s culture. The other cultures of African origin include the Swazi, Tswana, Sotho, Tsonga, Pedi, Venda, and Ndebele.
3.1 Society Structure: Family Structure and Social Classes
South Africa’s social class is subdivided into five categories: the economic oligarchy, the black upper-class, middle- class, working class, and lower class. The economic oligarchy stands at the top of the country’s social structure. The whites dominate this category with the majority of them owning or having interests in mineral and energy sectors. The black upper-middle class follows the economic oligarchy, and African politicians dominate this class. Thirdly, the middle class, which involves business or professional individuals such as doctors, engineers, teachers or lawyers. Finally, the working class, which include people working as manual or industrial laborers and the lower class (the unemployed). On the other hand, South Africa’s family structure can be classified into nuclear and extended families. People of European origin are associated with nuclear families. Whereas, Africans are linked to extended families due to their beliefs in polygamy.
3.2 Customs and Traditions
South Africa has a diverse culture due to the mixer of different tribes and ethnic groups within the country. The country’s culture includes the Khoikhoi and the San who are known as the original inhibitors of South Africa, the Zulu (shield warriors), Ndebele, Xhosa, and Venda. All these tribes have different social structures and lead distinctive lifestyles. However, the traditional way of life is slowly fading due to the influence of Western culture and lifestyle, a change that is widely embraced by the youths. Culture shift from tradition to western civilization is evident in music, food, art, and family structure.
There are various languages used in South Africa due to its diverse culture. These languages include English, Xhosa, Northern Sotho, Ndebele, Tsonga, Sotho, Zulu, Afrikaans, Tswana, SiSwati, and Venda.
3.4 Art and Literature
South Africa has a mixed literary history due to its diverse culture. Currently, the country’s literature is written in two major languages: English and Afrikaans. However, local languages are slowly adopted in writing. On the other hand, South Africa’s art has evolved from the period of the San (Bushmen) where art was practiced in the form of drawings or paintings on rocks, which followed by colonial art, and apartheid art. The apartheid policy gave rise to black artists who expressed their mistreatments through drawings leading to the emergence of modern art in South Africa.
The country boasts of various religions with Protestant Christian as the leading religion. The other religions include Atheist (Agnostic), Zion Christian, Dutch Reformed Christian, Muslim, Anglican Christian, Pentecostal (Charismatic Christian), Methodist Christian, Hindu, Roman Catholic, Judaism, and Traditional African Religion (“Major Religions in South Africa”).
3.6 Politics/Government Structure
South Africa is a democratic republic with a government structure that is subdivided into three tiers: legislative authority, the executive, and the judiciary. The legislative and judiciary mandates are implemented at both national and county levels. The legislative authority consists of the members of the national assembly and national council of provinces. The executive includes the president, the deputy president, and ministers. Finally, the judiciary involves the magistrate’s courts, the High Courts, the Supreme Courts of Appeal, and the Constitutional Court (the highest court in the country).
3.7 Economic System
South Africa’s economy is the second largest in Africa with a gross domestic product of $349.299 billion (Kruger). In 2017, the country achieved economic growth of 1.3%, which was higher than the 1% projection by the National Treasury (Kruger). The economic development of the nation is primarily attributed to agricultural activities, mining, and manufacturing.
3.8 Cuisine (Food, beverages, breakfast, lunch and dinner and types of food)
The country has a rich history of cuisines that are associated with traditional African cooking techniques. Some of the famous foods include Biltong (dried meat), Boerewors, Potjiekos, Samoosas, Melktert, Koeksisters, Boerewors, and Bobotie.
The education system of South Africa consists of primary school, secondary school, and higher education. The primary school system entails a training phase that starts from grade one to grade nine, which is followed by secondary education (grade 10-12). The higher education consists of bachelors, masters or doctoral degrees, which varies depending on one’s course of interest.
South Africa participates in various sports locally and on a global scale. The leading games of the nation are rugby, cricket, and football. The other sports enjoyed by South Africans include golf, cycling, boxing, surfing, and basketball.
Kruger, Daniëlle. “Top 10 Wealthiest African Countries According to GDP.” Its New Africa, 2
July 2018, www.itnewsafrica.com/2018/07/top-10-wealthiest-african-countries-according-to-gdp/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2019.
“Major Religions in South Africa.” WorldAtlas, 2019, www.worldatlas.com/articles/major-
religions-in-south-africa.html. Accessed 16 Mar. 2019.
“South Africa Country Profile.” BBC News, 4 April 2018, www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-