South African Traditions, customs and manners

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by ThomasBeaham, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. ThomasBeaham

    ThomasBeaham BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Hello all, while reading Speedbump's post in the "Driving in Africa" thread it struck me that I know nothing of the traditions,customs and manners of the people in the Republic of South Africa. I will be hunting there for the first time this year. Are there any "Do's" and "Do Not's" in regard to customs and manners? Thank you for your input. Thomas
  2. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    Better get used to not being served coffee until AFTER a meal in a restaurant unless you strongly insist.

    Bill Quimby :)
  3. Dot10

    Dot10 New Member

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    Well, I'm a South African and every time i order coffee or tea they bring it with the drinks, which is before the meal.

    Anyway, to the question above. I'm a white South African, and i'm sure the black cultures have much different customs than you guys do, but seriously, dont worry. We're actually pretty sophisticated. So as far as "Do Not's"....well, do not come here expecting to find wild animals walking around freely in every back yard. You'll have to go to a game farm for that ;)

    I went to Australia once, and found it kind of boring because it reminded me of my own country too much. So if you want to know what SA is like....well, it's not much different from Australia.

    Remember, South Africa has 11 official languages, which means it’s a mix of many different cultures, and we all live together and respect each other’s customs. So, don’t worry too much about it. We’re use toe ‘different’. Just don’t bash anyone’s traditions and beliefs. But that’s the same in every country.

    Enjoy your time here. If there is one thing I can honestly tell you about my country…it truly is beautiful. Don’t spend all your time hunting, when there is so much more to experience.
  4. Killzone

    Killzone AH Member

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    I agree with Dot10 regarding the Coffee-thing. Also Dot10 gave a good explanation of the White " English & Afrikaans " speaking population. We are pretty much the same in many ways. Enjoy your trip to Sunny S A :)
  5. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    The only tradition i have when over there is i generally arrive with a full wallet and leave with an empty one.
  6. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Tom........:clapping:

    Very funny. Accurate, but funny.:D
  7. ThomasBeaham

    ThomasBeaham BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Hello all, thank you for the comments and suggestions. I thought I would give you a couple examples of why I made this post. While working on a reservation here in the US, my host told me that when greeting elders, a firm hand shake was considered threatening and rude.I was grateful for the "heads up" as I had no idea. Then, once on a trip to the fish market in Mexico a gentleman asked me how I was and I replied "very well thank you" and gave him the OK hand gesture so common here in the States. His demeanor changed from friendly to extremely agitated in the blink of an eye. I asked if there was something wrong, and his employee explained to me in broken English that I had just called his boss an assh*le. I quickly apologized for my faux pas. After that incident I have tried to make myself more aware of other cultures manners before I'm a guest in their country. Keep the suggestions coming..... Thanks, Thomas
  8. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    Killzone and Dot10:

    Maybe things have changed, but I can assure you that, as a white, non-South African, I more times than not have had to strongly insist that I be served my coffee before and during (as well as after) dinner at restaurants all over your country.

    I remember one instance, at the very proper Kimberley Club in Kimberley, when after being told what must have been a dozen times that "coffee is coming, sir," that I responded by rather rudely saying, "... and so is Christmas!"

    Nonetheless, it did not get me my coffee until the waiter had deemed it was time to serve the dessert.

    Incidentally, my hunting partner and I were guests of Anglo-American at that same private club and were informed that we could not sit just anywhere we wanted in its large dining room -- even though it was mostly empty every time we went down to eat -- because most of the tables "belonged" to certain members.

    My friend and I were there to collect birds and small mammals on the DeBeers Rooipoort property for SCI's museum, and the lunch the club's chef prepared for us to venture forth on our collecting trips each day was packed in a wicker basket with a white linen cloth and napkins, two crystal wine glasses, and a corkscrew, flatware, and salt and pepper shakers, all of sterling silver.

    We were there for more than a week, and the food in that basket never varied -- a whole chicken, two lobster tails, a loaf of unsliced bread, assorted cheeses, and two small bottles of wine for the two of us.

    Bill Quimby
  9. william

    william New Member

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    It is now 20 years I'm travelling every year to SA and there are not much differences or special "behaviour" however I notice two things:

    - Never refused a "morning coffee" (even at 6 am) ...... even if it's a beer :eyecrazy:
    - Sunday is the day god says we have to rest and it is still in many place quite a rule (no hunting on Sunday).

    William.
  10. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    I was just messing around on the previous post. These are just my observations. A few things i have recognized:

    1. All the food (or most) is freshly prepared and is wonderful.
    2. The sense of humor is a bit different than ours. Not a lot, and not in a bad way. Just a little different.
    3. They have some great Afrikaans words when excited. "Lackahr" and "fokol" are two of my favorites.
    4. Smoking is more fashionable in RSA than here.
    5. They drive on the wrong side of the road (and even "big trucks" are little compared to here).
    6. Speed limits and general "rules of the road" seem to be more like "suggestions for the road" over there.


    More to come as i think of them....
  11. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    7. South Africans are very proud of their country. I think this is great, as Americans are proud as well.
    8. Rugby is as popular as our football. South Africans love Rugby.
    9. Don't deal with the porters at the airport. If anything, just completely ignore them. This is unfortunate but it's the way i've been since i had problems with one a few years back.
    10. Small tips are always appreciated by everyone. Don't feel obligated, but it can make things go smooth for you.
    11. Try all the different foods.
    The milk is thick and wonderful (probably fatty as hell), candy bars are different, meat is fresh (lamb is a very popular meat), home cooked breads are wonderful.
    Try "monkey gland" sauce on something. It's like a sweet bbq sauce but better. You might as well try ox blood jam or whatever they call it. Be forewarned, it's salty.
  12. Killzone

    Killzone AH Member

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    Tom, what about Biltong and Braai ? ;-)
  13. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    Biltong is AWESOME!!!!

    Tom's Rule 6 is definitely true!!!! Just gotta sit back and relax. It's nothing for your driver to pull off on the shoulder to let someone else by. And that's on the major highways.

    Saturday's are Beer and Biltong days for the hardcore rugby fans/players. My PH used to play rugby and they still hate the English for what they did to them during the war so rugby is payback time.

    If you really like vegetables, you might have to ask your PH to make a little more of them. A couple of PH's I know say this "We don't eat vegetables, we eat meat"!!!!!:D
  14. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Good point killzone! Two more outstanding things. Biltong is like a softer jerky without a lot of spices (at least the times i've tried it) and Braai is a good old fashioned Bar-b-que. Good stuff!
  15. Killzone

    Killzone AH Member

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    Heeler75, We love our redmeat but sometimes we must eat veggies. So we eat Chicken on Sundays :) :) :)
  16. browningbbr

    browningbbr AH Enthusiast

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    Observations from a one-time visitor to RSA

    Just a few random observations from our May 2009 visit to RSA

    1. Chivalry is not dead in S.A. – “ladies first” is still the rule. (My wife found this quite refreshing.)
    2. Everyone we met seemed to be a lot more polite than in any country we’ve ever visited. On the flip side, they seemed to expect and appreciate the same level of courtesy from us. (also refreshing)
    3. The South Africans of Dutch descent have a different view of national history than those of English descent. (I’m not sure if either view is “right”, they just have different perspectives.)
    4. All South Africans are quite proud of their country.
    5. Consumption of red meat on a per-capita basis seems to be higher than anywhere I have visited in NA, Asia or Europe. Everyone seems to relish a good roast or steak. Tofu eaters were nowhere to be seen.

    One piece of advice: Spend a good bit of time reading up about the history of the RSA. It will give some insight into the cultures and people and will give base from which to ask questions and learn about more things than just hunting.

    - browningbbr
  17. Dinsdale

    Dinsdale AH Senior Member

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    If you need to ask a question of a stranger,say at the airport;it is considered polite to open the conversation with some small talk.I live near NYC,and tend to be rather direct as do some other Americans,this doesn't work well in other parts of the world.I have to make an effort to remember this.

    Hand shakes as greetings are soft.

    Dinsdale
  18. Rcole1310

    Rcole1310 New Member

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    Guys, I'm glad this topic was posted. I have a question regarding "Traditions" as well. A buddy of mine just got back from his hunt in RSA. He had a great time on a Leopard hunt and was successful. However, he is African American and told me that for the first half of his trip, the PH, and African staff, seemed very uncomfortable with him. Finally, towards the end of the hunt, things seemed to let up. But some of the other PH's would'nt hardly speak to him. He even started tipping early to break the ice. He told me that he was the first black to hunt safari with this group. I have a hunt scheduled for this year in RSA. We met the PH in person here in America and he seemed ok. But I'm a little nervous about how my family will be treated in RSA. This is an upmarket safari and I'm pretty sure we will be the first black clients. I know that all people are different but generally, what should I expect?
  19. Killzone

    Killzone AH Member

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    Hi Rcole. Your friend was the first A-A to hunt at the specific outfitter and I can imagine how confused the Staff and PH's were. The local staff want to talk to him in Zulu, Xhosa etc but you talk in a ' funny ' English which they don't associate with an African man. :) The PH is used to talking Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa etc to the African staff and now he must remember your an oversea hunter and not from Africa. Confusing ! :) Long story short. You have nothing to worry about Rcole. I know you and your family will be treated just like any other foreign visitors. If not, your hunting at the wrong place. Enjoy your trip to Africa !
  20. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    :thumb:Well said Killzone.

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