South Africa

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The culture of South Africa is known for its ethnic and cultural diversity. The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as blacks have become increasingly urbanised and Westernised, aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue.

There is great diversity in music from South Africa. Many black musicians who sang in Afrikaans or English during apartheid have since begun to sing in traditional African languages, and have developed a unique style called Kwaito. Of note is Brenda Fassie, who launched to fame with her song "Weekend Special", which was sung in English. More famous traditional musicians include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, while the Soweto String Quartet performs classic music with an African flavour. White and Coloured South African singers are historically influenced by European musical styles.

The cuisine of South Africa is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as a braai, or barbecue. Braai is widely popular, especially with whites, and includes meat, especially boerewors or spicy sausages, and mielies (maize) or Mielie-meal, often as a porridge, or pearl millet, a staple food of black South Africans. Pastries such like koeksisters and desserts like melktert (milk tart) are also universally popular. Vegetarianism is becoming widely accepted.

Gender roles
In general, all racial and ethnic groups in South Africa have long-standing beliefs concerning gender roles, and most are based on the premise that women are less important, or less deserving of power, than men. Most African traditional social organisations are male centred and male dominated. Even in the 1990s, in some rural areas of South Africa, for example, wives walk a few paces behind their husbands in keeping with traditional practices. A minority of ultra-conservative Afrikaners' religious beliefs, too, include a strong emphasis on the theoretically biblically based notion that women's contributions to society should normally be approved by, or be on behalf of, men.

Sexual orientation
South Africa enacted same-sex marriage laws in 2006 allowing full marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. Although the Constitutional and legal system in South Africa theoretically ensure equality, social acceptance is generally lacking, especially outside of urban areas. Gay women from smaller towns (especially the townships) are often victims of beating or rape. This has been posited, in part, to be because of the perceived threat they pose to traditional male authority.[6] Although evidence of hatred may influence rulings on a case-by-

case basis, South Africa has no specific "hate crime" legislation; human rights organisations have criticised the South African police for failing to address the matter of bias motivated crimes.

The most popular sports in South Africa are soccer, rugby union and cricket.[9] Other sports with significant support are hockey, swimming, athletics,golf, boxing, tennis and netball. Although soccer commands the greatest following among the youth, other sports like basketball, surfing, andskateboarding are increasingly popular. Famous boxing personalities include Baby Jake Jacob Matlala, Vuyani Bungu, Welcome Ncita, Dingaan Thobela, Gerrie Coetzee and Brian Mitchell. Soccer players who have played for major foreign clubs include Lucas Radebe and Philemon Masinga (both formerly of Leeds United), Quinton Fortune(Atlético Madrid and Manchester United), Benni McCarthy (Ajax Amsterdam, F.C. Porto, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United), Aaron Mokoena(Ajax Amsterdam, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth), Delron Buckley (Borussia Dortmund) and Steven Pienaar (Ajax Amsterdam and Everton). Durban Surfer Jordy Smith won the 2010 Billabong J-Bay competition making him the no.1 ranked surfer in the world. South Africa produced Formula One motor racing's 1979 world champion Jody Scheckter. Famous current cricket players include Herschelle Gibbs, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, etc. Most of them also participate in the Indian Premier League.

Famous Tourism Places in South Africa
Bloemfontein is one of South Africa’s three capital cities. This is home of the South African judiciary branch and is home to roughly 369,000 residents. It lies just west of Lesotho, the country surrounded by South African territory. Bloemfontein has a lot of nicknames. Its indigenous name is Mangaung, which means “the place of cheetahs.” And poetically, it is know as “the city of roses,” due to the abundance of flowers in the area and the rose festival that’s also held here.

Cape Town
It is the oldest city of South Africa. It is referred to as the “mother city”. It is Cape Town. With a history of over 300 years, it is one of the most preferred destinations in Africa. Cape Town will be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2010; therefore, this city is definitely not to be missed. One of the most famous attractions of Cape Town is the Castle of Good Hope. Situated on the Buitenkant Street, it is often referred to as “the Castle” by the local people. Apart from the history of the castle, it also houses the William Fehr collection and a large historical military collection.

Durban is a beautiful coastal city that boasts of fabulous beaches. The city is nested along the coast, facing the southeast section of the Indian Ocean. Durban is the largest city in the KwaZulu-Natal territory and is the third largest city in South Africa. Beaches aren’t the only things they are famous for. Since Durban is a coastal city, it is a hub for maritime travel. Durban is known as the busiest port in South Africa. Johannesburg is a very diverse and renowned city. It is the largest city in South Africa and is the capital of the Gauteng provinces, the wealthiest province in the country. Johannesburg became developed after the African gold rush came to be. In 1886, gold was discovered in Langlaagte, Johannesburg. This even drove countless European and American hopefuls to venture to the continent and look for gold, this prompting the city’s immediate development. Johannesburg is one of the richest cities in South Africa and the whole African continent today.

Port Alfred
A great little vacation spot in the Eastern Cape of South Africa is Port Alfred. This small town was established in the early 1820s and is part of the Ndlambe municipality. Port Alfred, South Africa is great place to visit when you want to learn new adventurous skills. There are many things to do here. And as with other port cities in South Africa, this town thrives on anything and everything water-based.

Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth, South Africa is a coastal city southwest of Durban. Its colloquial Afrikaans name is “Die Baai” and it is one of the larges cities in South Africa. Port Elizabeth is nested in the Eastern Cape Province, in the southeastern tip of South Africa. Locals call Port Elizabeth as the “Windy City” and the “Friendly City”.

Unlike most cities in the world, South Africa has more than one capital city. This is because its three branches of government are located in three different cities. One of these capital cities isPretoria. Pretoria is the executive capital of the country. This means this is the home of the whole executive branch, including the president and deputy president. This makes Pretoria a very important city to the South Africans.

Johannesburg is a very rich city. In fact, it is the richest city in South Africa. But one of the richest districts within the city is Sandton. Sandton, South Africa is one of the most posh areas in Johannesburg. This district is in two areas, Sandown and Bryanston. The combination of the two areas, and the two names produced the area now known as Sandton.

Stellenbosch, South Africa is a town in close proximity to the historical city of Cape Town. Next to Cape Town, Stellenbosch is oldest European settlement in the province. This is town was founded by the Dutchman Simon Van der Stel, the first Commander and the last Governor of the Cape Colony. The town is currently part of the greater metro area of Cape Town.

Sun City
If you want to have a posh South African holiday, the best place to go to is Sun City, South Africa. Sun City is the most premier resort in the country. The resort is known as a popular celebrity destination. A lot of famous musicians have also performed in the Sun City Super Bowl, including Queen, Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Elton John. This place is a definite must-see for anyone who is planning a South African getaway.

South Africa Famous Landmarks

Cape Town
If you are planning to visit South Africa, you must make sure to check all good spots that you can find and will surely make the trip a truly memorable one. One of the places that you must include on your agenda is Cape Town, the most popular tourist destination in Africa. The City of Cape Town is known as the most populous in the country. This is known for the natural setting of the floral kingdom in Cape, its harbour and other known landmarks like the Cape Point and Table Mountain.

Drakensberg Mountains
When visiting South Africa, treat yourself to visit the highest mountain range in the region, the Drakensberg Mountains. Its height is estimated at 3,482 meters(11,420 ft). This is actually referred to as uKhahlamba, which means, the barrier of spears, in Zulu. In Sesotho, this is referred to as Maluti that can also be spelled as Maloti. When you look at it from a geological perspective, you will see that the range resembles the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia.

Kimberley Diamond Mines
Kimberley Diamond Mines is also known as the “Big Hole.” This is the largest diamond mine in the world. Kimberley is the capital city of Northern Cape in South Africa, which can be found near the convergence of Vaal and Orange Rivers. The town made its way into history books not only because of its past with regards to diamond mining but also a siege at the time of the Second Boer War. It is worth mentioning that famous

people like Cecil John Rhodes made a fortune at this place. It was also during the early days of this mining town when the De Beers Corporation started its business at the location.

Kruger National Park
If you are planning to go on tour in South Africa, you must make sure that you research first about the places that you ought to visit. There are various resources that you can turn to. The easiest is by going through various websites about tips and other information about the must-see places in this country. You will be amazed at the information that you will get. This can help you create a worthwhile plan to make sure that you will experience nothing but the best on your trip to this place.

Panoramic Route of South Africa
Creating a plan is very important when you are going on a vacation trip, especially in places that you haven’t visited before. You must also set an agenda, depending on the people whom you will be going with on the trip. If it is going to be a family activity with children, you must make sure that you include on the list of the must-see places the kinds of sights that your kids will like or the places that offer activities that they will enjoy. If you are planning to go to South Africa, you must first find all the information that you can gather about the place and decide which sights and sites you would opt to include on your plan.

Phinda Game Reserve
In KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, you will be able to find a private game reserve known as the Phinda Game Reserve. This is situated in between two other good spots in the region, the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park and the Mkuze Game Reserve. The place was built in 1991. The name means return to the wild. And that is exactly what you will experience upon visiting the site because you will find here seven diverse ecosystems that have palm savannah. This also has mountain bush, dense thornveld and unusual sand forest.

Table Mountain National Park
Many people who are planning to go on a trip to South Africa do not forget to include the Table Mountain National Park on their list. This place used to be called as the Cape Peninsula National Park. This national park that is located at Cape Town, South Africa was proclaimed on the 29th day of May, 1998 to be able to protect that natural environment of the surroundings and whole Table Mountain Chain.

Facts About South Africa

South African Rand
The South African Rand is the official currency of South Africa. The name “Rand” is taken from “Witwatersrand” (translates as “white waters ridge”) which is a low, sedimentary range of hills that runs through Gauteng province in South Africa where a high volume of gold deposits has been found. The Rand’s currency code is “ZAR” which is an acronym for the Dutch “Zuid-Afrikaanse Rand” (South African Rand). Its symbol is “R”; it is further divided into 100 cents, the symbol for which is “c”. The rand is also legal tender in other countries like Swaziland, Lesotho, and Namibia.

Famous South Africans
Nelson Mandela (1918-) - You don't get more famous than Mandiba (that's what they call him in South Africa). Nelson Mandela is the Father of the Nation, revered as a God. Mandela was the first black president and the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. Words can't praise him enough. Absolute hero Dave Matthews (1967-) - He is in a good band . A very good band. They call themselves 'The Dave Matthews Band', which isn't a very original name. They are their own particular brand of 'travel rock' and definitely worth a listen. Charlize Theron (1975-) - A Hollywood starlet. She's famous for 'The Devil's Advocate' and 'The Cider House Rules', and won critical acclaim and countless awards for her wacky portrayal of a serial killer in 'Monster', becoming the first South African to win an Academy Award. Good looking too.

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