- Direct: Though mannerisms vary between ethnic groups, most people exhibit distinctive African influences when they communicate. This is a direct speech style. South Africans arrive straight to the point and tend to say what they mean. A South African will make no hesitation in telling you when you are wrong or objecting on the spot. To an Australian, this can come across as overly assertive or blunt.
- Raised Voices: Afrikaners and black South Africans (particularly females) tend to naturally adopt a louder speaking tone than what most Australians do. It is normal for black South Africans to continue conversations by shouting when situated at a distance from each other (e.g. standing across the road or across a room).
- Physical Contact: South Africans are generally comfortable with physical affection and like to express warmth through actions such as hugging and patting each other on the back.
- Hands: Putting your hands in your pockets can be misinterpreted by South Africans as disrespectful.
- Expression: Black South Africans are very animated and are very communicative through their facial expressions when they speak.
- Eye Contact: South Africans tend to maintain steady eye contact through the duration of a conversation; however, older South Africans may avert their eyes to show respect to authority.
- Personal Space: Black South Africans often sit and stand very close to each other. Therefore, some may stand at proximities that a Westerner may consider to be uncomfortably close. It is likely they have not been made aware of the discomfort some people may feel with this.
- Gestures: Making a ‘V’ with the index finger and middle finger, in the shape of the peace sign is very rude if the palm is facing towards yourself.