Learn About South African Culture!

Source: AfricaGuide.com

Source: AfricaGuide.com

I have introduced you to Go Au Pair Providence‘s newest au pair. Now let me share a bit about her homeland, South Africa.

What do you actually know about South Africa? You probably know English is spoken there, but did you know it is only one of eleven official languages? Others include Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Swati, Sotho and more! Host Families often choose South African au pairs because there is very little language confusion, which gives parents even greater confidence in their new international caregiver. Compulsory education begins at age 7 (and often starts sooner with grade 0, or grade naught) and lead youth through up to 13 years before the option of 22 institutions of higher learning! (Source: wikipedia)

If you thought Rhode Island has an awesome coastline with 400 miles of coastline, when you count all of our coves, bays and islands, South Africa has more like 2300 miles of coastline! There must be some great beaches to visit! Check out this recent review.

In South Africa, drivers stay to the left side of the road, so that takes a little getting used to for new au pairs. In my experience, South African au pairs are great drivers who are very careful and responsible with their family car. Like America, South Africa has laws against drinking and driving (0.05 limit), requires seat belts to be used, and limits phone use to hands-free devices. This prepares au pair candidates to be responsible drivers once they arrive in America, since the rules are essentially the same.

Like America, South Africa also has a sad history of relationships between Black and white peoples. Both countries experienced unfair separation of the races. While America dealt with slavery, the Black minority mistreated by the white majority, South Africa struggled with apartheid, the white minority mistreating the Black majority. You may have heard of Nelson Mandela, who was elected president after being imprisoned 27 years for his peaceful protests and armed resistance in defense of racial equality. He was the nation’s first Black president, elected in 1994 after his 1990 prison release. Talk about a come-back!

Conservation is an important national issue in South Africa, as it is home to such animals as the giraffe, leopard, lion and hippo. Deforestation and overpopulation are having a negative impact. South Africa is home to the Cape Floral Region, the highest known concentrated area of plant species on the planet. To compare, the South American rainforests, known to contain an innumerable variety of plants and animals, contains only one third the number of plant species! Please visit conservation.org to learn more about South Africa’s conservation issues and hot spots!

Did you know that South Africa’s biggest city is Johannesburg? You did? Well I bet you didn’t know that South Africa has three capital cities! They are Bloemfontein, Cape Town, and Pretoria. I thought it was very interesting to find out that the three capital cities represent the three branches of their government. Bloemfontein is the seat of the judicial branch, Cape Town the legislative branch, and Pretoria the executive branch. Home to 54 million people, South Africa is a “Rainbow Nation” with much to share! Won’t you join me again for more about your next cultural experience?




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