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Tips to Follow When You're Invited to South African Homes

December 26, 2022
2022-12-26
South Africans are friendly people. They're all smiles and always full of laughter. They won't even hesitate to invite you into their homes too. Whether it's your first time meeting them or you've known them for quite some time now, it's safe to expect an invitation to their abode anytime soon. And when that happens, do you know what to do? Are you already aware that you have to arrive on time? Also, when greeting, you have to follow the hierarchal system. Did you know all about these South African customs? If not, then it's probably time to learn some of them!

Tips to Follow When You're Invited to South African Homes


Know the Different Tribal Customs

First things first, it pays to remember that South Africa is home to various tribes, ethnicities, and communities. That's why the country boasts the “Rainbow Nation” moniker. And while the nation has a general set of social customs and etiquette to follow, some tribes have kept their own traditions as well. And it pays to know and practice them when you get invited to their homes. For example, in Zulu culture, it's common to announce your arrival at the gate of the residence. You also have to wait to get seated when it's time to gather around the table. In Sotho culture, on the other hand, you can seat yourself immediately.


Always Arrive On Time

No matter their race, ethnicity, or tribe, there is one thing that all South Africans have in common: punctuality. Even though some people are more relaxed when it comes to time here, the general rule of thumb is that you arrive early no matter what. It's proper business etiquette and, of course, good manners when you visit someone's home. You may think that the host won't care since they have a lot of people to entertain but that's simply not the case. If you arrive more than 10 to 15 minutes later than the set time, you probably shouldn't have arrived at all!

Tips to Follow When You're Invited to South African Homes



Follow The Hierarchal System When Greeting

Now, when it comes to greeting people, follow the hierarchal system. This means you greet the oldest people in the house first, then the younger ones, and so on and so forth. Generally speaking, the hierarchal system is followed all throughout South Africa, whether it's a business company or a group of friends. It's simply part of the country's collective culture that the most senior members in the group receive the utmost respect and, oftentimes, priority over others too. It's also worth remembering that you should wait until women extend their hands to you before shaking their hands.


Keep The Compliments at a Minimum

There are always many things to compliment about someone's home in South Africa. From the decor to the overall aesthetic, sometimes you can't help but praise what they've done to the place. But when visiting someone else's home, it's best to keep the compliments at a minimum. Especially when it comes to their stuff! Why? Because when you specifically focus your compliments on certain objects, the host will feel obliged to give them to you. Even when it's something they don't want to part with. That's simply how they're conditioned to think and do according to their culture. So to avoid such awkward situations, just pay a few general compliments to the host and you're good!

Tips to Follow When You're Invited to South African Homes



Bring Something to Drink

Unless it's a potluck dinner or a Christmas party, you're not obliged to bring anything when you're invited to someone's home in South Africa. But if you do insist on bringing something, especially a gift to your host, a drink would be fine. A nice beverage or some fine wine that came all the way from the vineyards of Italy or even Cape Town will do. Not only will your host appreciate your gesture, but they can also serve it during the gathering as well. Other nice options for gifts include flowers and sweets.


Follow How The Host Eats

Always remember that when you get invited to someone's home in South Africa—or anywhere else, for that matter!—the host is king! And when it comes to eating, it's best to follow how they eat. Commonly, White South Africans use cutlery a'la continental style when they eat. Meanwhile, Black and Indian South Africans tend to just use spoons or even their hands. It all depends on what they're accustomed to and what's on the menu. So on your part, follow your host's lead on how to eat at the dinner table during the gathering.


Never Flat Out Refuse and Leave Food on Your Plate

Now that the subject is on food, there are two rules you should never forget. The first is to never flat-out refuse any food and drink offered to you. You risk offending the host (or whoever offered) if you do. Second, third, or even more helpings aren't just common in South Africa but are even recommended. If you're already full, simply explain nicely and they'll understand. The second rule is to never, under any circumstances, leave food on your plate. This may sound extreme but doing that is akin to slapping the host in the face. That's how offended and insulted they'll feel!

Tips to Follow When You're Invited to South African Homes


When you get invited to someone's home in South Africa, make sure to behave accordingly. There are social customs you need to follow to avoid offending the host as well as the other people who were also invited.



#Social Customs   # Social Etiquette   # Traditions   



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