South African culture is extremely vibrant and diverse. The country has a very rich history and abundant culture. Because of this, South Africa is known as the “Rainbow Nation”.

South African culture is complex and diverse. About 80% of South Africa’s population are Black South Africans and they belong to many different ethnic groups. The two largest groups are the Zulu and Khosa speakers, followed by Pedi, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Swati/Swazi, Venda and Ndebele speakers. Art, dance and music is very important and prominent in Black African culture. Music such as “kwaito” (house music), “mbube” (Zulu vocal) and “kwela” (local jazz) is very popular amongst the Black African culture and unique techniques such as whistling, tongue clicking, and indigenous sounds is often incorporated with the music. The various tribes have many traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Story- telling as well as poetry is often recited out loud to family and community members.

Many Afrikaans and English speakers live in South Africa. The Afrikaans speaking people descended from the Dutch settlers and the English-speaking people descended from the British after they began colonizing the country.

Both Islam and Hindu traditions and cultures are eminent in South Africa as the French Huguenots, Germans and Portuguese brought many Indian and Indonesian slaves the early 1600s.

South African culture and cultural expression depends on the ethnicity and the communities from which people come. African artistic expression is varied and often incorporates beadwork, dancing, masks, statues and figurines of the different tribes as well as their culture and traditions. These art forms express the history and identity of traditional Black African culture.

South African cultural expression is still very alive. Traditional African beadwork is worn by both males and females. The patterns and colors used often have different meanings and distinguishes the different ethnic groups. This traditional beadwork is made by stitching hundreds of tiny and colorful beads onto the skin of a cow or goat.

Throughout South Africa, many different ethnic groups practice different religions, speak a variety of different languages, reside in different types of dwellings and hold unique traditions and South Africa’s population is made up of both Native and Indigenous people. Therefore the term “Rainbow Nation” perfectly describes this beautiful and diverse country.


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