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FIFA World Cup 2010: 10 Things to Experience when you’re in South Africa

Heading to South Africa for the World Cup? Make sure you make it a truly unforgetable, South African experience. Here’s my list of what you cannot miss out on when you get here!

1. The Vuvuzela.

It’s a typical case of “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Most foreigners are appalled by the sound our Vuvuzela. Footballers have complained that they can’t concentrate on the match with all that noise. It’s understandable, they are pretty noisy. But rather get used to it folks. FIFA is not going to ban it for the World Cup next year. What’s the point of bringing the World Cup to Africa if you can’t let us locals enjoy the game the way we’re used to enjoying it? And don’t be fooled by those who insist that it’s not a part of African culture. The kudu horn was an early form of the Vuvuzela, which was blown by ancient South African villagers to summon community meetings. The instrument eventually evolved into tin, and now plastic. So it’s very much a part of South African heritage. Go on, buy one. There’re cheap and lots of fun. You’ll find yourself enjoying it once you actually blow one. And the noise, well, you’ll get used to it, and after a while you’ll barely remember why it bothered you in the first place. I’ve seen people blow the Vuvuzela for the full 90 min. So practice at home before going to a match to show off you skills.

2. A Braai.

This is the equivalent of a “barbeque” in the western world. But it is much more than that. The word “braai” can mean several things. You can describe the equipment used to braai as the “Braai.” You can describe the way the meat was cooked as “braaied.” You can call a social gathering a “braai” (if braaing is involved of course!) The Braai is so common among all South Africans that 24 September was declared “Braai Day”

3. Biltong.

It’s Cured Meat. Similar to the American Jerky, but much better. It’s a must try when you’re in South Africa. All kinds of meat are available, the most common are: beef, buck (kudu and springbok), chicken, ostrich & even fish. The basic ingredients include: black pepper, vinegar, salt & coriander.

4. Understand The South African National Anthem & Our Flag

Our anthem is unique in that it includes 5 of the 11 official languages of SA: Xhosa (the first 2 lines of the first stanza), Zulu (the second 2 lines of the first stanza), Sesotho (the second stanza), Afrikaans (the third stanza) & English (the fourth stanza). It’s one of the most beautiful national anthems in the World (and I’m not just saying that cos I’m South African!). It became the official National Anthem in 1995. Here’s the lyrics and song meaning:

(Xhosa) Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,
(Zulu) Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.
God [Lord] bless Africa
May her glory be lifted high
Hear our petitions
God bless us, Your children
(Sesotho) Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso, Setjhaba sa.
God we ask You to protect our nation
Intervene and end all conflicts
Protect us, protect our nation, our nation
(English) South Africa, South Africa!
(Afrikaans) Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
From the blue of our heaven,
From the depths of our sea,
Over our eternal mountain ranges,
Where the cliffs give answer,
(English) Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.

And if you’ve never heard it before:

The South African Flag was adopted in 1995. It’s colourful (the symbolise the rainbow nation) and the pattern if the colours converge to all go one way, which symbolises that people of all colours, from all walks of life coming together:

5. Table Mountain

Table Mountain overlooks the scenic Cape Town. If you’re in Cape Town, it makes an excellent day out. You can take a cable cart up and spend the day on table mountain – it’s beautiful!

6. Drink our Water.

SA is one of only 12 countries in the world where tap water is safe to drink, our water is the 3rd best overall in the world. So don’t be afraid to drink straight from the tap!

7. Visit one of our game reserves.

See the big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo & Elephant) there are many game reserves in South Africa so no matter which part of the country you’re in, you can catch some wildlife. I am an avid game watcher myself, so contact me if you want any ideas of where to go.

8. Learn some South African slang.

Whether you’re determined to fit in like one of us, or you just wanna make sure you’re lingo is correct when at a match. You’ll want to know what words like “LADUUUUUUMA” (he scored) or “eShibobo” (nutmeg) mean. Check out My Guide to South African Slang. South Africa has 11 official languages, and the slang is a mix of different languages.

9. The Bunny Chow.

This dish is truly unique to South Africa. Made popular by the Indian population of SA. Don’t worry, it’s not really a “bunny.” It’s an Indian curry inside an hollowed out loaf of bread. You’re most likely to get the best Bunny Chows when you’re in Durban. And they are delish!

10. Enjoy our Beaches

Being at the Southern most tip of Africa, we have some purely beautiful beaches. Durban, Cape Town and Plettenburg Bay are just some of them. If you’re here, you’re likely to be in a city that has a beach. Whether it’s surfing, sunbathing or just chilling…Make the most of it!

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