Tag Archives: Tourism South Africa

The Rainbow Nation – South Africa

South Africa is fairly new to democracy unlike its counter parts in Africa, yet it is said to be the most westernised country in Africa. As a South African I never paid attention to this fact until it was pointed out to me by my fellow African man. This got me thinking, why is a young democracy the most saturated. Colonialism obviously had a huge influence on the urbanisation and westernisation of native South Africans. European colonial origin can be dated back to America, UK, Greece and Rome.

To my knowledge the process of influence began with the voyage of discovery, colonisation, conquest and exploitation of Spain and Portugal: it continued with the rise of the Dutch East India Company, and the creation and expansion of the British and french colonial empires. Due to the reach of these empires, Western institutions expanded throughout the world, even after decolonisation these institutions persisted.

My focus here is not on what was but on what is, and that is a diverse and rich culture. On the streets of South Africa you will notice a western trend and South African township style. By western trend I mean the influence on the South African youth is a reflection of visual, print and social media. There is a mix of eclectic, chic, dated, contemporary and video vixen style of dressing. It is not just about style but about what defines the individual, I am inclined to say a person who is passionate about their ‘art’ “yes art” becomes a sort of brand. An individual who loves rap will treat it like an art, follow popular trends from celebrities from dressing, swagger, gesture, dance, slang and even write music or be involved in rap battles.
A great platform to witness this is a social event preferably a party scene where you can witness the different looks and behaviour.

South African restaurants have more of an obvious western culture by this I mean, as an African country one would expect to find a traditional menu or part thereof this is not the case. As a result when you attend a black function for example a family function the menu will have a large western influence. One thing I can tell you where there is no compromise is the slaughtering of an animal for meat this might be a cow, lamb or goat. Which is cooked outside on a three-legged pot in an open wood fire, the meat from this is absolutely manufique. It is the highlight of the entire event, every part of the animal is consumed including intestines and hooves it is accompanied by dumplings a sought of bread but its consistency is wet/sticky where as bread dough is dry and should not stick.

Here is a recipe you can try: Note the dough should be a bit sticky not dry.

Dumplings and Lamb Stew Recipe
Serves: 5-6
For Dumplings:
575ml (2¼ cup) cake flour
250ml (1 cup) warm water
5ml (1tsp) instant dry yeast
5ml salt
10ml (2 tsp) sugar
For Stew:
1 onion, chopped
25ml cooking oil
± 500g stewing lamb, trimmed and cubed
2 tsp (10ml) salt
4 black pepper cons
50 ml chutney
4 carrots, chopped
4-6 baby potatoes, peeled
1 stock cube
75ml split peas
2ml crushed chilli
2.5ml medium curry powder
5ml fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5m1 worcestershire sauce
  1. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Add water and knead.  Do not add more water if it looks dry, just continue kneading until combined.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rest at a warm place for about 30-45 minutes.
  4. Make round balls the size of a golf ball.
  1. Heat the oil in a big saucepan, throw in the onions.
  2. Add the lamb pieces stirring with a wooden spoon to lightly brown.
  3. Add the spices, chutney, split peas and herbs.
  4. Dissolve the stock cube in 500ml warm water and add to the stew. Simmer at low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add the potatoes, carrots and neatly place the balls on top of the stew.  Simmer for 30 minutes.
You can replace the lamb with mutton or beef and adjust your water and cooking times accordingly

Even with these obvious trends I do not know if I have answered my initial question of how in a young democracy can westernisation be so ingrained. Maybe I can attribute it to the large influx into the cities during urbanisation and the apartheid era that saw many South Africans abandon their rural homes to work in the cities to sustain their families back home in the rural area. This gave rise to broken families and children that grew up without a mother or father to parent them and instill culture and tradition in them. This gave rise to an erosion of culture and tradition which lead to the future generations to identify with that which surrounded and influenced their daily lives.

 Westernisation as such is not a bad thing its a diversity and an intertwining of cultures. The loss of one culture to another is unacceptable but the coexistence of more than one culture makes for a rainbow nation, which is what South Africa is.


The Durban City Hall


The Durban City Hall is an impressive and historic site that is a must see when visiting Durban, it’s in the middle of the city centre and exudes an allegorical character.
The Durban City Hall is a great classical historical site that has stood the test of time. This marvelous structure originally erected as a town hall, stands gracefully as the epitome of the Durban city centre. This flamboyant neo-Baroque style architecture houses the city’s municipal chambers, the city’s public library, auditorium, the Durban Art Gallery and the Natural Science Museum.

This robust Durban City Hall was the second built, the first town hall having been utilised as the Durban Post office. The rapid expansion of Durban in the late 1800’s warranted a bigger city hall to be built necessitating a move from the small town hall.

In the year 1903 the then town council invited architects to submit designs for the new town hall. Stanley G. Hudson submitted the winning design which was inspired by or rather a replica of the city of Belfast’s City Hall in Northern Ireland.

Mayor Ellis Brown played a great role in convincing leaders that building the city hall was the right thing to do. Construction of the Durban City Hall took a period of five consecutive progressive years and a budget of £300 000. In april 12, 1910 the colonial structure was complete and would stand as one of Durban’s great landmarks and heritage.

“One of the finest things in South Africa” was how mayor Ellis Brown described the town hall about six months before construction began. The Durban City Hall has certainly proved itself to be a fine structure with its bold designs and sculptors.
The Durban City Hall is but one of many great landmarks that can be found in and around the Durban CBD. A tour of the Durban city is one that is rich in sites, culture, heritage and history.

South African Traditional Healers

In life there are some things that happen that one cannot explain or find answers to in science and research. Beliefs and tradition play a great role in explaining some of these mysterious occurrences and at times spiritual healing is the only solace one can find.
The African continent is rich in mineral resources, wild life, culture, heritage and deep roots in spiritual beliefs.  South Africa like the rest of Africa has strong ties to culture and tradition, as a result a majority of South Africans tend to resort to using both traditional and modern means of healing.

Sangomas and inyanga are shamans who attempt to heal, establishing balance and a harmless relationship between the afflicted person and the spirits that are causing the illness or problem that one might be experiencing. The healer intercedes between the world of the living and that of the dead in order to bring about a resolve and peace.

Sangomas and inyanga differ in a sense that the sangoma relies heavily on divination for healing purposes and might also be considered a type of fortune-teller. While the inyanga is concerned mainly with medicine, particularly made from plants and animals. The plants are usually of an exotic nature as the inyanga is directed towards the type and location of the medicine by ancestors.
The inyanga and sangoma are revered and respected in society because of tradition and culture as well as for their ability to speak to ancestors and heal. A majority of people consult both doctors and traditional healers and use both forms of medicine to heal their ailment. Modernisation has caused a blurring of the two practices where the sangoma and the inyanga tend to practice both arts.

Some people feel that their ailment comes not from the physical but from the spiritual form and in this regard solely seek the help of traditional healers. Spiritual healing includes divination, healing the physical, emotional, and spiritual illness which can also be due to witchcraft, performing protection spells, narrating history and reading the cosmology.

The sangoma may burn incense impepho, and snuff can also be used to communicate with ones ancestors through prayer, humming and ululating. Sangomas are able to access advice through ancestors amadlozi by allowing amadlozi to take over. Sangomas go into a trance through the sound of the beating drum, dancing and chanting and the burning incense, during this the sangoma spiritually leaves their body and allows the amadlozi to take possession of the body.

It is the idlozi or ancestor that is believed to communicate with the afflicted directly and narrate the patients life story and source of ailment, providing specific information on the patients problem.
An animal sacrifice is usually requested by amadlozi to appease the spirits along with a ritual that is performed by the sangoma. this act is believed to bring about restitution for both the afflicted and the spirit world.

There exists many different forms of physical and spiritual healing that different cultures associate with in the world which vary in practice, but all share a common goal which is to heal. Culture and tradition ensures an identity and the preservation of history. This has been a brief look at South African history, particularly Zulu history, although traditional healing is widely practiced it is not adopted by all.