As with every nationality in the world, South Africans often experience many preconceptions from other cultures when travelling or living overseas.
More often than not, these turn out to be misconceptions as well. Here are just a few of the slightly wayward ideas that some (not all!) Australians have about South Africa and South Africans in general.
Most Australians know South Africa as the land of ‘safari’. With so many stunning game reserves and lodges across the country, it’s a popular destination for Aussies looking for that real African bush experience.
Unfortunately that sometimes also means they think everyone in SA lives in safari style conditions, in tents or other basic accommodation, or alternatively in luxury being waited on hand and foot all day. And then come the questions…
2. Did you have a pet lion?
This and other stupid questions are part and parcel of being a South African abroad. Did you ride elephants to school? Did you have electricity? The questions are endless but a quick Google search often puts these people straight about just how modern some places are in South Africa.
3. Braais over barbies
Aussies across the country know that a braai and a bbq are just not the same. Many in fact have come to love the authentic smoky flavour of meat cooked on a proper braai instead of the usual gas bbqs.
Of course due to local summer fire bans, this isn’t always possible but when there is a chance of a proper charcoal braai, most people, South Africans or not, will always be keen.
4. Sporting rivalry
South Africans and Australians alike are raised with an inherent sporting rivalry between the two nations. Mention you are South African to an Aussie and they’ll likely start talking about either the rugby or the cricket!Photo by Alexander JoeE/AFP/Getty Images
5. Nelson Mandela
Not just in Australia, but the world over, South Africa is synonymous with Nelson Mandela. To the point where some people don’t even know that he isn’t the president anymore, let alone passed away a few years ago!
When you tell them about good old Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema however, Aussies are often not that shocked at the level of corruption and ridiculousness of politics, as Australia’s political system can be just as farcical sometimes – check out bloopers from Tony Abbott if you want to learn more about Aussie politics!
6. Third-world version of Australia
Many Aussies are told by South African immigrants that South Africa could be just like Australia ‘if things just worked’.
So many South Africans visit or move to Australia and love the fact that they can contact a government department without having to wait in queues for hours on end or be forced to play musical chairs while waiting to file their tax returns (true story).
And to an extent, it’s true, but after the initial shine of life in Australia wears off, there will always be something to complain about – although you can’t really compare first world and third world problems.
Feature courtesy of TheSouthAfrican.com