“You’re from South Africa? But why are you white?”… is the question I was asked the most when I left the borders of South Africa.
If you have ever been overseas, you would know it’s quite an eye-opener as you get to see your own country from a different perspective.
Our country is mainly shown in international media as ‘kumbaya mah lord’, ‘Simba and Mufasa’ vibes and that we are not a separate country from upper Africa.
Well, I am here to not only educate, but to give you an idea of what some of the world really thinks of us, that’s NOT TRUE, according to my experiences:
Myth #1: There are no other races other than African.
According to StatsSA, today there are 55,6 million people living in South Africa. We are just like every other populated country and have a highly diverse number of cultures, races and traditions. Black Africans do account for over four-fifths of the population in most provinces, then coloureds (which is not a rude word here in SA) or mixed race, then Indian and Asian and Whites. We really are a rainbow nation 🙂
Myth #2: We have wild animals roaming in our back-yards.
We don’t. We have normal domesticated pets. There was that one time in Johannesburg though where a lion roamed the city during a film production and the media went crazy!
Myth #3: We are ALL poor and live in mud huts.
The percentage of people who have formal housing is 79.2%, so no we don’t ALL live in mud huts. The main cities are obviously very suburban and commercial, most people live in a house or apartment. We do also have townships which consist of small houses or shacks made of anything really…tin, steel, wood etc.
Sadly, there are many rural and poor areas where 16,5% of people don’t have access to water and 9,7% don’t have access to electricity.
Myth #4: There’s only one accent : Afrikaans.
This one has to be my favourite as many people have told me “I don’t have a South African accent”… That’s because I’m not Afrikaans. There’s more than one language in SA, in fact there are officially eleven. And in those eleven languages are different dialects.
Myth #5: We are all racist.
Although Apartheid has come and gone, there is still that stigma that we are all racist. I’m not going to deny that racism doesn’t continue to exist, no matter what colour you are…but it exists in the rest of the world too.
Myth #6: We are all direct, making us rude.
I grew up in a very straight-forward thinking family, so I agree some of us are very direct, honest and call a spade a spade…but that doesn’t make us rude, it makes you insecure 😉 I think some of the most welcoming, friendly and funny people come from SA. People choose to see the bad side only or just simply have been raised differently, which is normal. Take us with a pinch of salt!
Myth #7: We are under the constant threat of crime and cannot walk outside or drive without some sort of criminal act happening to us.
Obviously you need to be vigilant wherever you are in the world especially in South Africa, as crime does exist due to poverty, drugs etc. but it’s not like we can’t leave our houses AT ALL. We might have high walls, security alarms and ‘burglar bars’ but it’s normal here and part of our lives. I still lock doors and close windows and look over my shoulder when I’m not in South Africa…habit, I guess. Rather safe than sorry but there’s no need to be paranoid when coming to SA.
Myth #8: The only activities to do is go on a Safari in the Kruger National Park or go to Sun City.
Wrong. You can’t come to SA and only go on a Safari. We have so much more to offer than that! We have some of the best sunsets and views I have ever seen (no matter what part of the country), and I’m not saying that because I’m a saffa…we really do! Not to mention, the food!! You HAVE to explore the cities and the coastal routes! We also throw the craziest outdoor festivals!
PS: Please don’t come here to ‘hunt’. We’re running out of animals as it is due to poaching, hunting and some asshole wanting a kudu head on his wall or rhino tusk for the most ridiculous beliefs??? WHY.
Myth #9: We have no international franchises.
Wrong again. We have most international food and fashion franchises, as well as our own of course! We have some of the most delicious, creative and enjoyable food and fashion in the world.
Myth #10: “Do you speak the ‘click’ language?”
It’s called isiXhosa and no I can’t because I wasn’t raised in a Xhosa or KhoiSan family. Some learn the basics in primary school and I know of Afrikaans people who can understand and speak it fluently. Kudos to them! It isn’t an easy language.
We also get mistaken for Australian because apparently we sound similar.
Please share and let the world know and comment below on your experiences 🙂
Hakuna Matata 😉 ,
Nikita | The Lovist