Johannesburg has areas that the descendants of former immigrants have made their own, including Fordsburg for the Indian community and Chinatown in Cyrildene. Handshaking is the usual form of greeting, sometimes in a more elaborate African handshake that foreigners will pick up readily. Casual wear is widely acceptable, especially in less formal Cape Town. Smoking is prohibited in public buildings and on public transport.
South Africa's Languages and Culture
The presence of so many diverse ethnic backgrounds certainly adds some spice outside of the main business centres. Rural areas most likely to be visited by travellers include Zulu land in KwaZulu Natal where communities are based in small traditional villages with round huts rondevals and a few hustling, bustling relatively poor towns. With wild rhinos, horseback adventures and thrilling zip-lines on offer, Eswatini Swaziland should be your next safari destination. Introducing South Africa.
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Travel to South Africa Where to stay. Before you go. Browse our Video Guides. Places in South Africa Cities. In addition, as tribal groups have traditionally been defined by language, the homelands separate blacks linguistically, thus limiting their contact with people from other groups.
The architects of the apartheid plan envisioned a separate system of education for blacks even in the urban areas where the vernaculars would be included gradually in university instruction. Blacks objected to this policy from the start.
South Africa Languages and Culture
First, they saw the "divide-and-conquer" motive behind this plan. Second, they wanted to learn English as a language of wider communication. Education solely in the vernaculars has never reached beyond the sixth year of school. In , a policy of teaching in both English and Afrikaans on a basis in the secondary schools was adopted. In the black Africans' hatred of apartheid, and of Afrikaans as the "language of the oppressor," came to a head in Soweto, a black "township" outside of Johannesburg. A school board there was dismissed in early February for resisting the imposition of Afrikaans.
Protest began at that school and swelled over a period of months to the other schools, with the support of teachers, parents, and students. On 16 June, 15, students marched in the streets carrying banners with such slogans as "Blacks are not dustbins - Afrikaans stinks. The revolt touched almost every city and village in South Africa that year, reaching far beyond the language issue.
Strikes closed businesses and industry, and in Soweto, the government-instituted Bantu Council was forced to resign. Since that time, the government has allowed individual school boards to choose the medium of instruction.
Ninety-nine percent have chosen English. The vernacular is required as medium of instruction for only four years rather than six. However, there are apartheid-imposed obstacles to learning English. Even in the urban areas, Africans' schools, residences, and workplaces are often separated from those of other races by law, and consequently they do not have the chance to interact freely with native English-speakers.
Furthermore, the schoolteachers speak a distinctly African kind of English that can at times be almost unintelligible to native English-speakers. There are no textbooks, chairs, or electricity in many cases. This state of affairs affects blacks' whole education, of course, not just the teaching of English. Some recent actions by the government might be hopeful signs. The acute need for skilled labor has led the government to upgrade black education.
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New classrooms are being built, teachers in black schools are now being required to have a high school degree, and pay scales are being adjusted to a parity level. Black education can be compulsory through the 10th year if a school so desires.
follow But, as an indication of the deep distrust blacks hold against whatever the government does, only 13 out of schools in Soweto have implemented this rule. They fear the government may use it to prevent students from staging strikes that have become a useful political tool. More importantly, they see these recent moves as being only adaptations within a structure that is fundamentally unjust, where blacks do not have even the right to vote. A television service for blacks was begun on January 1; it has been broadcast in 5 of the vernacular languages. English is not being allowed, and Afrikaans is apparently not politically feasible.
The Afrikaners' response to the blacks' rejection of their language has been ambivalent. Some older Afrikaners dismiss it all, saying, "Why do we want the Kaffirs to speak our language anyway? Although there is a strong motivation for blacks to learn English, this is a matter of practicality rather than loyalty.
There is no danger of black languages being lost. There are newspapers and a literature in many Bantu languages. Some think that if blacks come to power in South Africa, Nguni and Sotho are likely to become official languages along with English.