Last week we looked at the animals, but this week we are looking at another awesome aspect of South Africa and a reason to visit… its people. The Rainbow Nation is a phrase that was first used by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace prize laureate of 1984, to describe the inhabitants of South Africa.

A diverse nation. A bold nation. South Africans inspire, they create and overcome – they live by being “Proudly South African”.

They are inventive. The first successful heart transplant in the world was carried out in the heart of Cape Town in 1967 (the second was done only three days later in America!). The CAT scan, Q20, Pratley’s Putty (had a part in the success of the moon landing of Apollo XI mission’s Eagle landing craft), dolosse, Kreepy Krawly, the retinal cryoprobe, speed gun (also called the Speedball) and the Smartlock Safety Syringe were all created by proud South Africans.

They have strange eating habits. From air dried meat (biltong) to braai (barbecue in Afrikaans, and no matter what language you speak at home, everyone calls it a braai!). You can order a smiley or a walkie talkie at certain restaurants. Even dried worms with “pap” (a traditional dish that is native to South Africans; the dish is made from softly grounded maize, which is then cooked to the desired consistency, other parts of the world it is called grits, polenta or ugali).

They carry the spirit of Ubuntu. They live it every day. In South Africa, it takes a village to raise a child (an old African proverb that explains ubuntu) and everyone is your mother or father, aunt or uncle.

They love rugby, soccer, cricket, golf…well, actually, they love all kinds of sport. They enjoy a good party. They are warm, friendly and like to meet new people. They are giving, they care. And most importantly, they do not take life too seriously.

Although South Africans face various third world country problems, they are working hard to overcome them as a nation. It is not easy, and it will take some time to achieve that goal. The media and politicians want you to think that South Africans cannot work, play or live together, but when you visit with the “people on the ground”, you will see just how wonderful they are!

South Africans will find a way to understand you – the country boasts eleven official languages. English is widely spoken by most South Africans. The most spoken languages are English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa, but of course you only have to know one.

Here are some South African-isms:

Just now Sometime soon, shortly
Now now Sooner than “just now”
Lift Elevator
Boot Trunk of a car
Howzit Hello (a greeting), as in “how is it going”
Koppie Rocky hill
Play play Pretend
Bakkie Pick-up truck
Flat Apartment
Robot Traffic lights
Bundu Bushveld
Kloof Ravine
Braai BBQ

Mielie Millet corn

Aweh/Awe Hello, goodbye or yes

Eina! Ouch!

Tjaila Time to go home

Lekker Something is nice, good

Yoh! Exclamation of surprise

Aikona! A strong refusal, no

Yebo A Zulu word meaning yes.

By now I am sure you are wondering what in the world is a smiley or walkie talkie? And why can you order it at a restaurant? Well, book a “lekker” tour or experience with us and we will be happy to give away the answer.