When it comes to cultural diversity, there are few countries as drenched in it as South Africa. Home to 11 different indigenous ethnicities, each with vastly differing cultural practices and languages, the country is truly what Nelson Mandela called a ‘Rainbow Nation’. If you are ever in a metro city, on any given day you could hear 3 to 5 different languages while doing your shopping at the mall, or simply taking a walk down the road. The country is so diverse that the average South African is multilingual or, at the bare minimum, able to understand at least 3 different languages.
Each of South Africa’s ethnicities has it’s own unique name and language – Zulu, Tsonga, Venda, Sotho, Tswana, SePedi, Ndebele, Xhosa and Swati. Despite the many different ethnicities in the country, Most of them share common ancestries. The Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu and Swati ethnicities are from the Nguni lineage, and the Pedi, Sotho and Tswana ethnicities are from the Sotho lineage. Tsonga and Venda stand alone with their own lineages.
These ethnicities do not only differ in how they speak but also how they dress. Although, with western traditions being heavily adopted, the practice of wearing one’s cultural attire/fashion is no longer widely practiced, there used to be a time you could easily tell someone’s ethnicity by simply looking at how they are dressed.
Another distinguishing factor of South Africa’s ethnicities is the style of music. Each ethnicity has a music style that is unique to them, and none of these are as unique as Tsonga music, which is also accompanied by a dance called Xibelani, which is just as equally unique.
If you are looking to experience a country rich in history, cultural dishes, tradition and amazing experiences, you cannot go wrong with South Africa.