South African Culture and Tradition Explored
Perhaps one of the most outstanding things about South African culture is that it is not one single culture, but rather a range of different cultures representing every level of a very stratified community. Hybrid mixtures of these different cultures also exist, making South Africa one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.
There are a number of cultural attractions in South Africa which are definitely worth visiting. Take, for instance, one of the most famous ones – that of Robben Island wherein Nelson Mandela, the first black president of the country, was once imprisoned for his efforts to free his people from oppression. In KwaZulu Natal you will find that the Zulu culture is still very much alive in the descendents of the ancient Zulu king Shaka at Shakaland. Here tribal dance and song is performed with vigor and you can explore the mysterious, ritualistic world of the Sangoma with much pomp and ceremony.
In the Eastern Cape you’ll discover the remains of Saartjie Baartman – a san woman who suffered terrible humiliation at the hands of self-righteous Europeans and who has become a symbol of female empowerment and tribal rights recognition some 200 years after her death. A visit to the Drakensberg Mountains will make you privy to some of the oldest rock art in the country, while a trip to the many art galleries and theaters in most of the cities and towns is an excellent way to enjoy South African art and drama.
Music is another sphere of South African culture which exemplifies the range and diversity of this country’s culture. Classical music, although European in nature, is enjoyed regularly at al fresco concerts across the country amidst the beauty of large botanical gardens. Jazz is a favorite in the townships and it has developed and diversified into three distinctive genres: Township Jazz, Black Jazz, and Marabi. Kwaito is another favorite. Rock and pop are also popular and a number of South African musicians have created sounds which simply cannot be confined to a particular music group, but which are very South African in nature. So come and enjoy a hands-on introduction to South Africa’s rainbow of culture!