10 Things You Should Never Say to a South African Unless You’re Cruising for a Bruising!.


We’ve all been there – you meet someone for the first time and that moment they realise you’re South African, they suddenly start spouting random comments on your ethnicity, childhood, experiences or just ask the most annoying questions ever.

Here are a few of the most common things people say that annoy South Africans.

“Where is South Africa?”

Seriously people. We come from a country where the geographical location is pretty much spelled out for you. It’s the SOUTH part of AFRICA. SOUTH AFRICA. Get it??

“You can’t be South African – you’re white.”

Apparently many, many people truly believe that only black people can be African. Never mind the fact that migration these days mean anyone of any race can be born and live pretty much anywhere.

Yes, we have white South Africans, Indian South Africans, coloured South Africans, black South Africans, Asian South Africans, Latino South Africans – we’re a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and if you don’t know at least that about our awesome country by now, there’s no helping you!

“Say something in South African.”

Yes sure bru, because we speak Souf Efrican. No. Just no. We have 11 official languages but South African is not one of them.

“Did you have a pet lion?”

Of course! We all live in the bush, have pet lions and warthogs and we ride our zebras to school. Only rich people get to ride elephants to school because they cost so much money to maintain. We also have never heard of cars and clearly rode our zebras all the way to London/New York/Sydney dreaming of a life with electricity and running water and wifi!

“Do you know my friend John? He’s from South Africa too.”

“Oh John! Yeah he and I grew up on the same street! How do you know John?”

Come on people, we have a population of over 50 million people, you really think we’re going to know every other South African in the world? Bonus points if they add ‘he’s from Africa’!

Bonus points if they add ‘he’s from Africa’!

So please spread the word, spread this list, and don’t, just don’t annoy a South African with these silly questions.

Do you live in a mud hut?
NO. NO! We have actual houses made from bricks in many parts of South Africa. Hard to believe when all the world sees is images of the majestic African bush, but we do have proper cities, with proper buildings and shock horror, proper houses too! With running water and electricity and everything! Well, maybe not electricity all the time…but you get the picture.

Do you have toilets in your houses?
Surprisingly, outhouses and long drops are not the order of the day in South Africa any more than they are in the rest of the developed world. Unless you’re going proper bundu-bashing, in which case, start digging that hole.

But you don’t sound South African?
How many times has this happened to you? It’s so ironic that almost no-one can get the South African accent right when it comes to impressions, film or TV shows but everyone thinks they are qualified to know what a South African should sound like. Next time an American or a Brit asks you why you don’t sound South African, hit right back with ‘Oh ja, I forget all Americans/Brits sound the same’.

Are there lions and tigers roaming the streets?
Aah, yet another favourite question from those unfamiliar with South African geography and wildlife. THERE ARE NO TIGERS IN AFRICA PEOPLE. Tigers are from ASIA. We live in AFRICA. The only time you’ll see a tiger in Africa will be in the zoo. Not roaming the streets. (We won’t talk about the lion that was roaming round Joburg the other day though…)

Are you from New Zealand/Australia?
Please don’t say this. EVER. If you can’t work out where we are from, just ask us. Don’t assume we’re from anywhere. Especially don’t assume we’re from one of our biggest sporting rivals. There’s nothing more insulting to a South African than being mistaken for being from Australia or New Zealand. OK, some pronunciations may be vaguely similar, but that’s about it. And we’re pretty sure this works the other way round too – never ask a Kiwi or an Aussie if they’re South African either!


Written by southhow

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