South Africa Local Custom Tips by MikeAtSea Top 5 Page for this destination
South Africa Local Customs: 136 reviews and 116 photos
Affectionately nicknamed "The Big Easy" due to his calm demeanour, Ernie Els took the international golfing world by storm when, as a 24 year old, he won the 1994 U.S. Open. He has since evolved into t one of the world's top-ranking golfers, boasting a total of 35 international crowns, including two US Open titles and the 2002 British Open.
Self-exiled in the 1960s, the wonderful jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela has returned to South Africa and is still a major player on the local concert circuit. He is also an inspiration to young jazz players and actively promotes their careers.
Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, JM Coetzee is the author of a vital body of South African writing, including such works as 'The Life and Times of Michael K', 'Disgrace', 'Youth', 'Waiting for the Barbarians' and 'Elizabeth Costello'.
Described by her peers as a "colossus of South African literature", Nadine Gordimer was the first South African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, essays and journalistic articles, Gordimer was one of the voices of protest during the Apartheid years - and continues to practise her elegant craft in the modern era.
FW de Klerk
South Africa's last white president, Frederick Willem de Klerk took over an Apartheid government in its dying throes and helped Nelson Mandela see South Africa peacefully through the negotiation phases and into the elections. For his efforts, he was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Nelson Mandela.
Another Nobel laureate, Desmond Tutu is more recently famous for his chairing of the ground-breaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the late 1990s. Known throughout his long career as a vocal, charismatic anti-Apartheid spokesman and former head of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, Archbishop Tutu is one of South Africa's most-loved citizens.
The latest South African sensation, Charlize Theron won the 2004 Best Actress Oscar for her powerful role in 'Monster', and has been acclaimed as one of the world's most beautiful women. Raised in South Africa, and currently living in Los Angeles, she is still an avid ambassador for this country.
South Africa's most famous son, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, is also a world icon of statesmanship and national reconciliation. Nelson Mandela is best known for his long struggle against the Apartheid government - a system of white domination and racial segregation. A co-founder of the African National Congress Youth League, he also founded the Defiance Campaign of 1952, based on Ghandi's principles of non-violence. In 1964 he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Apartheid government and sent to Robben Island.
Released in 1990, Nelson Mandela was central to the multi-party negotiations which led to democratic elections in 1994. On May 10 of that year, he was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president. To this day, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate continues to work for the children and the poverty-stricken masses of South Africa.
The South African Coat of Arms
South Africa’s Coat of Arms was launched on Freedom Day, 27 April 2000. The change reflected government's aim to highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism.
The symbols of the Coat of Arms
The motto is: !ke e: /xarra //ke, written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, literally meaningdiverse people unite. It addresses each individual effort to harness the unity between thought and action. On a collective scale it calls for the nation to unite in a common sense of belonging and national pride - unity in diversity.
The ears of wheat
An emblem of fertility, it also symbolises the idea of germination, growth and the feasible development of any potential. It relates to the nourishment of the people and signifies the agricultural aspects of the Earth.
Elephants symbolise wisdom, strength, moderation and eternity.
It has a dual function as a vehicle for the display of identity and of spiritual defence. It contains the primary symbol of our nation.
The human figures
The figures are derived from images on the Linton stone, a world-famous example of South African rock art, now housed and displayed in the South African Museum in Cape Town. The Khoisan, the oldest known inhabitants of our land and most probably of the Earth, testify to our common humanity and heritage as South Africans and as humanity in general. The figures are depicted in an attitude of greeting, symbolising unity. This also represents the beginning of the individual’s transformation into the greater sense of belonging to the nation and by extension, collective humanity.
The spear and knobkierie
Dual symbols of defence and authority, they in turn represent the powerful legs of the secretary bird. The spear and knobkierie are lying down, symbolising peace.
The South African Flag
The national flag was designed by a former South African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell, and was first used on 27 April 1994. The design and colours are a synopsis of principal elements of the country's flag history. Individual colours, or colour combinations represent different meanings for different people and therefore no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colours.
The central design of the flag, beginning at the flagpost in a 'V' form and flowing into a single horizontal band to the outer edge of the fly, can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity. The theme of convergence and unity ties in with the motto Unity is Strength of the previous South African Coat of Arms.
Green - CKS 42 c Spectrum green
Black - CKS 401 c Blue black
White - CKS 701 c National flag white
Gold - CKS 724 c Gold yellow
Red - CKS 750 c Chilli red
Blue - CKS 762 c National flag blue
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