South Africa is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. It hosts a variety of cultures that capture the country’s vibrant environment and its people. Here are 4 unique ways for you to discover what the essence of the rainbow nation is truly about
Celebrate: Taking part in festivals like the annual Zulu Reed Ceremony will give you a deeper insight into the Zulus customs and traditions. The ceremony is formally known as Mkhosi woMhlanga and its participants are girls from all over the country. It is led by Zulu princesses. Visitors are welcomed and are encouraged to take photographs on the 6th and 7th day of the ceremony, which are the main days, when the maidens walk to the deliver the reeds to the royal residence.
Drink: Traditional ceremonies in the country are always accompanied by traditional beer. Formally known as “umqombothi”, the beer is made from maize, maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water. It is believed that when there are bubbles in the beer during fermentation, the ancestors are pleased with the ceremony and they are together with those that are partaking in the ceremony, if there are no bubbles during fermentation, then the ancestors do not approve of the ceremony and the ceremony is likely to be disastrous. Another traditional drink you should drink and which is part of the Afrikaner's heritage is "Mampoer", a home-distilled peach or fruit liquor which made the list of 21 strongest drinks in the world.
Heal: Traditional healers play a huge role in the country’s communities. Formally known as “sangomas”, they fulfil different social and political roles in the community by bridging the gap between the living and the dead, directing traditional ceremonies, narrating the future and protecting warriors. Taking a trip to one might help foresee your future or be reconnected with a deceased loved one.
Eat: The country’s lively environment is centred around its food. From the vibrant townships to the bustling cities, the country’s gastronomy caters to everyone. There are several dishes in particular that are a favourite amongst the locals, like “skopo”. It is a dish made up of a sheep’s head and is served with either pap or phutu. The spathlo is considered to be a national treasure. It is made from a hollowed-out quarter loaf of bread and filled with various ingredients such as potato chips, cheese, russians and sometimes polony. In the vibrant townships you will find the local chisanyama. It offers visitors with an experience of a lifetime, to engage in the local atmosphere, with drinks, music and food, such as braai meat with pap and chakalaka.
If you love people and are looking for immersive and even life-changing cultural experiences, then South Africa is the place for you.