South Africa is a Rainbow Nation, a title that captures the country's cultural and ethnic diversity. The population of the country is one of the most complex and diverse in the world. With over 52 million South Africans, in which over 42 million are black, 4.5 million are white; 4.6 million are coloured and about 1.3 million Indian or Asian. About 51.3% are female, and 48.7% male.

south african culture

With the bigger stake of the South African population taken by black people, they are divided into four major ethnic groups; namely Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi), Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. There are numerous subgroups within these, of which the Zulu and Xhosa (two subgroups of the Nguni group) are the largest.

The majority of the white population about 60% is of Afrikaans descent, with many of the remaining 40% being of British or European descent. The coloured population have a mixed lineage, which often comprises the indigenous Khoisan genes combined with African slaves that were brought here from all over the continent, and white settlers.

There are eleven official languages in South Africa. These are English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Sepedi, Xhosa, Venda, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Zulu, Swazi or SiSwati and Tsonga. IsiZulu being the most spoken and Venda being the least spoken in the country.

Some of the most known/ spoken unofficial languages in the country include; Fana'kalo (a language mostly spoken in mines, it’s a mixture of some of the official languages), and Tsotsi Taal (this language is popular in prisons and it is common with township/ghetto dwellers and ex-convicts). Nowadays there is an introduction of social media language, popular among the youth.

Much of the country’s media has been tailored to include as many of these languages as possible. Of course, many other languages from all over the world are spoken here too; including Portuguese, Greek, Italian, French, Chinese, and so on.

In South Africa we have what is called 'tribe culture' which is practiced by all people falling under a certain tribe generally, then we have what is called 'clan culture' which is practiced by people of that clan, and then we have household culture which only abides members of that particular household in mention.

Over 5 religions are found in the country Christian, Islam, Hinduism, African Traditional Religion and Judaism , with Christianity being the mostly followed and Judaism being the least followed religion.

Like any other African country, South Africa is rich when it comes to cultural dances; all tribes have their own unique dance patterns. Our ispantsula dance is what brings all the South African tribes together; it's a dance that is common for everyone. Ispantsula is featured in Beyonce's music video for 'who run the world'. Other original South African dances are; phatha phatha, kwela kwela, Gumboot dance, hlokoloza and skhanda.

Our traditional music (Afro pop, afro jazz, kwaito, maskandi, isicathamiya etc.) is what set us apart from the whole world. Our very own isicathamiya group 'Ladysmith Black Mambazo' is known worldwide for their famous collaboration with the American pop-star Paul Simon, multiple Grammy nominations and four times Grammy award winning.

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