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Thread: 5 Interesting South African Customs

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    5 Interesting South African Customs

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    South Africa is a bustling and culturally rich country on the southernmost tip of the African continent. It boasts of diverse cultures and customs, some of which are indeed interesting to know, especially for those considering a visit to the beautiful country. Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares 5 interesting South African customs to know.
    Touching and Personal Space
    There is usually a decent amount of touching when dealing with South Africans, which features the touching of arms, shoulders and hands in interactions with one another. People will often hold hands and touch one another on their arms and chests (including men with men). Family members also communicate with a similar personal space and touching, the only difference is that there is a little distance placed between family members of the opposite sex out of respect. For example, a father and daughter might not hold hands as much or touch as much as a mother and daughter.
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    Using Your Thumb to Point at Someone
    It is considered an obscene gesture to put your thumb between your forefinger and second finger, and then point at someone.
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    Communication Style
    Because South Africa has many different ethnic groups, communication styles differ among these ethnic groups. For example, for some ethnic groups if a family member has a problem, it is considered more appropriate to go to an older aunt or uncle about the problem than speak directly to the parents of the person. In addition, people who live in the cities tend to be more liberal and direct than those who live in the rural areas. Also, most of the locals donít like to argue or disagree with strangers, so they would either choose to ignore your question or give you a non-committed answer.
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    Greeting
    The standard form of greeting in South Africa is a handshake. When men greet men, they will mostly give a handshake. However, if itís a family member or close friend, hugs and kisses are more common. Woman to woman greeting also involves a handshake when they are more or less strangers to each other, and hugs and kisses when greeting family and close friends. For greetings between the opposite sex (man to woman), a handshake is also the most common of greeting, although some women just decide to give a nod of acknowledgment without making contact. However, it is usually best for the men to wait for the women to initiate the handshake. Hugs and kisses are also generally used to greet close friends and family of the opposite sex.
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    Eye Contact
    When meeting someone, direct eye contact is the norm (but, of course, not to the point of staring). After the initial eye contact, subsequent eye contact can be intermittent during conversations as sustained direct eye contact can be interpreted as a challenge. When talking to elders, South Africans typically do not establish direct eye contact, neither do they sustain it during conversation because it can be considered rude and/or a challenge.
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    Im confused with these postings ........

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    Silver Member PlatinumWealth.co.za's Avatar
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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    I believe this is or should be a South African Forum discussing business and related matters.
    So if we have a member from another country putting in a post about our customs here and stuff not related to the forums objectives, we are going to get trolls and rubbish on board.
    I haven't been around for a while, but I see I haven't missed much.
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    Yep I agree .... especially when they say kak that men kiss when greeting in SA !!! We are not in Italy!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Don't you think it's important to know the local customs when doing business? I mean, at least now I know that when I meet Kevin in the flesh one day, it probably isn't appropriate for me to greet him with a kiss.


    Quote Originally Posted by nelson234 View Post
    Using Your Thumb to Point at Someone
    It is considered an obscene gesture to put your thumb between your forefinger and second finger, and then point at someone.
    Nelson, is there anywhere in the world where it is the norm to point at someone with your thumb?
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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    Its kak, never heard about that thumb pointing story. Maybe they do that in Nigeria. Zap the post I say
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    it probably isn't appropriate for me to greet him with a kiss.
    Nope ........ could get pretty awkward

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