September 24th is National Heritage/national braai day in South Africa. We have such a diverse history that in order to do justice the rich heritage would take at least 10 books! So instead, I’m simply going to mention some of our contemporary & perhaps better globally known contributions.
Our heritage day was merged with “braai” day. I mention this specifically because not many non-South Africans know what a “braai” is. First off, it’s NOT a BBQ! It’s a fire, with a grill, lots of friends and family and beer. Now we don’t just want to take credit for overindulgence, we also have some outstanding contributions to the arts for example The Parlotones and Miriam Makeba. Neill Blomkamp, who made a name for himself as a director to be reckoned with, having produced gems like Elysium, District 9 and Chappie. The rest of the post is however from a text my beautiful best friend sent me this morning which so perfectly encapsulates a typical ask and response between a foreigner and a South African (ANY South African!).
Five things you should never say to a South African. We’ve all been there – you meet someone for the first time and that moment they realise you’re South African, they suddenly start spouting random comments on your ethnicity, childhood, experiences or just ask the most annoying questions ever.
Here are a few of the most common things people say that annoy South Africans.
“Where is South Africa?” Seriously people. We come from a country where the geographical location is pretty much spelled out for you. It’s the SOUTH part of AFRICA. SOUTH AFRICA. Get it??
“You can’t be South African – you’re white.” Apparently many, many people truly believe that only black people can be African. Never mind the fact that migration these days mean anyone of any race can be born and live pretty much anywhere.
Yes, we have white South Africans, Indian South Africans, coloured South Africans, black South Africans, Asian South Africans, Latino South Africans – we’re a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and if you don’t know at least that about our awesome country by now, there’s no helping you!
“Say something in South African.” Yes sure bru, because we speak Souf Efrican. No. Just NO. We have 11 offici
al languages but South African is not one of them.
“Did you have a pet lion?” Of course! We all live in the bush, have pet lions and warthogs and we ride our zebras to school. Only rich people get to ride elephants to school because they cost so much money to maintain. We also have never heard of cars and clearly rode our zebras all the way to London/New York/Sydney dreaming of a life with electricity and running water and wifi!
“Do you know my friend John? He’s from South Africa too.”
“Oh John! Yeah he and I grew up on the same street! How do you know John?”

Thank you Milah for letting me use your words and folks, there is good and bad no matter where in the world you are. In South Africa though, you will experience life in a manner that will pleasantly shock/surprise (perspective!) you to the core. And I promise it will be unforgettable!


3 thoughts on “Proudly South African

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