South African Culture

Do's and Don'ts


  • Offer sympathy if there is mention of the difficult situation in South Africa. People are likely to respond well to warmth and deeply appreciate the gesture.
  • Expect South Africans to be hospitable, and make an effort to respond to and return their warmth.
  • Show respect and interest in what people have to say whenever they are talking. If a South African may quickly disregard you as a disrespectful person if they feel you are not listening to them.
  • Communicate face-to-face when possible.



  • Do not openly criticise the South African country, its politics or point blame. Even if you are educated in your opinion, a South African is likely to assure you that you do not know or understand the situation there if you haven’t lived there.
  • Be aware that politics, racism, the , violence and inequality are sensitive issues in South Africa. If the conversation is raised, do not presume the person's position and recognise that many South Africans are aware of the affluence and power (or lack of) that they hold within their population.
  • Avoid openly expressing anger or losing control of your emotions.

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