I love first time visitors to our beautiful country. I love seeing the beauty and feeling the vibrancy through them. There is no greater thrill than answering eager questions about the way we live here at the tip of Africa.
There are a few tips though, that I’d like to share with you, our very welcome guests…
When you have been here for five minutes, or a few days at most, it would be best not to categorize us into pigeon holes. Some of us don’t fit neatly into little boxes.
Yes, we are a pretty generous nation. Thanks for noticing. We love new people in our neck of the woods. We’d like you to be generous too.
Car guards are part of our scenario and it is the done thing to tip them when you pull away, even if they’ve been gazing out at the sea instead of focusing on your hired car.
Our waiters and waitresses (hate the word waitrons) are generally, extremely friendly and helpful. They don’t appreciate being snarled at for something that is out of their control. Oh and while we’re there, a 10% plus tip is necessary, even if it is not the case in your country.
When South Africans greet you, they’ll generally ask you how you are. The done thing is to make eye contact and return the question. Oh and actually listen to the answer.
Yes, do google the concept of ‘Ubuntu.’ It is beautiful.
If you are called ‘Mamma’ or ‘Papa’ take it as an honour and a great sign of respect, not as a ghastly insult. Yes, you look young for your age – but you don’t look like a teenager anymore 🙂
If you are in a game park, you can expect to see a lion sauntering down the middle of the road. It is an awesome privilege. No, you should not get out of your car to catch the perfect shot. Not ever. Would you ever see one in Adderley street? Well, I haven’t ever …
Yes, we have Internet and ATMs. Smart phones and Ubers are also a thing here. Our public transport is improving in leaps and bounds. Yes, there is still room for improvement.
We do have (really good) restaurants and knives and forks or chopsticks, are often offered to guests. Yes, we also have restaurants where we use our hands.
No, “Jou ma se…” is not a polite expression and Yes, it probably is a Cape Town thing.
Yes, there are seven thousand people watching Freshly Ground play at Kirstenbosch and no, we don’t get annoyed at children running over our blankets.
We do laugh a lot and yes, we probably take life quite lightly at times. Not sweating the small stuff is a good survival tactic. A sense of humour is essential here. If you don’t have one, maybe it’s time to develop one.
All questions are welcome and South Africans of all hues, bend over backwards to answer as honestly as possible. However the question, “Do you have Black friends who do not work for you?” is offensive and not one that deserves any kind of answer. It could even cause a rare but possible sense of humour failure. Please delete that one from your list of conversation openers.
Enjoy our beloved country as much as we do. And do come back often. We love having you, especially once you’ve done a little homework about what makes us tick 🙂