Essays On South African Heritage

What is heritage and identity?

Questions of heritage and identity are not as straightforward as they might first appear. Perhaps the first and best place to begin addressing these topics is by acknowledging that in a country like South Africa, there is not one heritage, or an easily delineated set of distinct identities. The cultures, languages and heritages of South Africa are multiple, diverse, and dynamic. Intersectional issues of gender, ethnicity, and race further complicate the matter of identity and make it highly inadvisable to categorise the different people contained within South Africa’s borders. This is especially true in the wake of segregationsit Apartheid policies which attempted to divide and conquer the majority of the country's population by emphasising the ontological immiscibility of different races.

South Africa is heir to a legacy of autochthonous livelihoods (see, most famously, the Khoi and the San) as well as Bantu immigration; slavery; colonisation; settler economies; and liberation movements. These histories have all had a drastic effect on the make up of South Africa's population. Yet somehow through the interchange of cultures and sharing of cultural influences in the age of globalisation, there defiantly remains a tapestry of phenomena which can identifiably and unabmiguously to termed 'South Africa.' In this article we look at heritage, culture, identity in South Africa and attempt to provide some overview of what is meant when people speak of South African Heritage.

Culture

Like 'heritage' and 'identity,' 'culture' is a term that causes much confusion and suffers from its misuse. Traditionally it has been used to refer to the ways of life of a specific group of people, including various ways of behaving, belief systems, values, customs, dress, personal decoration, social relationships, religion, symbols and codes. The pitfalls of the term are however, considerable. For instance, it is not unusal for European visitors to South Africa or Africa at large, to innocently enquire into the nature of "African Culture." Such an enquiry clearly makes little sense, for the Xhosa, Zulu, Pedi, Dinka, Himba, Berber, Arab, and so forth all represent vastly different modes of practice and have little in common save for the relative geographic proximity in relation to the rest of the globe. Even to ask about 'Zulu culture' is potentially wide of the mark, given how varied and dynamic the Zulu population is. While it is a stretch of the imagination to state that culture simply does not exist, as has been claimed by certain postmodern intellectuals, it remains difficult to reach a consensus about what the term really denotes. Is there such a thing as 'White culture' or 'Coloured culture,' for instance? 

Throughout history, various people and institutions have attempted to define what is meant by culture. In 1871, one of the fathers of British social anthropology, Edward Burnett Tylor attempted to describe it in the following way: "Culture or civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." More recently, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2002) described culture as follows: "... culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs." Once one begins to search for an adequate definition of culture, one quickly realises that there are so many to choose from it is virtually impossible to decide which one is best. 

In South Africa, the question of definition according to race and culture carries an especially sharp edge to it, which potentially makes it a more contentious issue here than elsewhere. This is primarily due to the policies of the Apartheid government that sought to distinguish and segregate the country according to rigid definitions of race between 1948-1991. These policies reached their apotheosis in the establishment of the 'Bantustans,' which were created as homelands for the major different ethnic groups represented within South Africa's borders. For this reason, subsequent attempts to define the people of South Africa may easily carry an unpleasant connotation of racist categorisation from the past. With this proviso, South Africa has a hugely diverse population, representative of a vast spectrum of different languages, practices, and values.  

Culture in South Africa

South Africa has been famously referred to as the rainbow nation because it is made up of so many diverse cultures and religions.  Contained within South Africa's borders are Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim, and Afrikaner people to name but a few. All of these people are united by calling South Africa home, and therefore their lives all contribute to forming a part of the country’s heritage, identity and culture. Understanding that South Africa is composed of all these various influences is essential for helping South Africans to understand and respect each other and to learn from each other’s cultural practices. This is part of the healing that democracy has brought after culture was used to divide South Africans in the past. 

Identity

A person’s identity is made up of their own character combined with their family and social roots. Identity, like culture, is ever changing. For example a person can be a teacher, parent, spouse and driver to their children, as well as being a famous politician fighting for justice or a farmer growing crops for food. To this person it is possible to be all of these and much more. At the same time being a person of a particular race or class also influences one's identity. When people speak of 'intersectionality,' they are broadly referring to this way that a single person can be at the intersection of multiple different social identities. The experiences of a White, heterosexual, urban, and middle-class mother, for instance, will be vastly different to that of a Black, homosexual, rural, and working class single woman. Identity, in short, is made up of a multitude of factors and an individual is both subject to their circumstance and an agent able to influence which parts of themselves they present to the world. 

Heritage

Heritage might be best broken up into two types: natural and cultural. A country’s natural heritage is its environment and natural resources, like gold and water. Areas that are very special and where animals or plants are in danger of extinction like the St. Lucia Wetlands and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Parks in KwaZulu Natal are often designated World Heritage sites. They are respected and internationally protected against harm. Cultural heritage, on the other hand, can be an altogether more contentious issue. Normally, the term 'cultural heritage' is used to describe those things that contribute to the sense of identity of a particular population or community of people. These can be special monuments, like a building, sculpture, painting, a cave dwelling or anything important because of its history, artistic or scientific value. The area in which this can become problematic is when a part of somebody's cultural heritage seems to clash directly with the dignity of another person's, or where it appears to transgress established global human rights practices (as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). An example might be the practice of female genital mutilation or the display of monuments that celebrate the lives of people who were responsible for the deaths of vast numbers of people, such as Cecil John Rhodes. 

Heritage and the South African Constitution

A constitution is the guiding law on a country's values and rules. A constitution directs the government and all the people who live in a country on the rules for how citizens should be treated and how they should treat others. A constitution supports and protects a country and the heritage and culture of its peoples. South Africa is widely considered to have one of the fairest and most progressive constitutions in the world.

In South Africa the vision of the constitution is for everybody to be equal. This means that nobody should be permitted to discriminate against anyone else because of things like skin colour, age, religion, language or gender. South Africans have human rights that are protected. For example, some schools have turned away children who have AIDS. However, the law protects these children’s rights to an education. In the same way the right to practice different religious beliefs is protected. Every person has the right to be part of any religion and to use the language of their choice. For this reason South Africa has 11 official languages so that all the major languages used in the country are given recognition. These languages are Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu. Languages used by smaller groups such as the Khoi, Nama, San and sign language must also be respected under the constitution. Other languages used in South Africa include Shona, French, Swahili, Lingala, Portuguese, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Portuguese, Telegu and Urdu. Other languages like Arabic, Hebrew and Sanskrit, used in certain religions, must also be respected.

World Heritage Sites in South Africa

A World Heritage Site is declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). There are two types of World Heritage Sites: the first represents cultural and the second natural heritage. 

Cultural sites

Cultural heritage sites have to show a masterpiece of human creativity or an important exchange of human values over a long period of time. This exchange must be seen in architecture or technology, the planning of the town or city and the design of the landscape. It has to show evidence of a tradition or civilisation that has disappeared or is still alive. It can also be a very good example of a type of building, group of buildings, and use of technology or reflect important stages in human history.

A place where humans settled and used the land in a way that represents their culture can also be a cultural heritage site, especially if the area is affected by change that cannot be reversed. The authenticity and the way the site is protected and managed are also important factors.

Natural sites

Natural sites that can be considered to become World Heritage Sites must display major stages in the earth’s history. They can be in fossils, rocks or other geological features. 

If an area contains rare natural formations, like unique rock shapes, or is very beautiful, or has habitats and species of animals and plants that can only exist there, it becomes important to protect it. This also makes it a possible World Heritage Site. As with cultural sites, preservation is very important.

Some special places fall into both cultural and natural heritage sites and in 1992 UNESCO decided that places that show the relationship between people and their environment could also be cultural landscapes.

South Africa has 8 places declared as World Heritage Sites. These are:

  1. The iSimangaliso Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park
  2. The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
  3. Robben Island
  4. The Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs
  5. The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
  6. Vredefort Dome
  7. The Cape Floral Region
  8. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

The culture of South Africa is known for its ethnic and cultural diversity. The South African majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as South Africans have become increasingly urbanized and Westernised, aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban South Africans usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native language. There are smaller but still significant groups of speakers of Khoisan languages, not included in the eleven official languages, but are one of the eight other officially recognised languages. There are small groups of speakers of endangered languages, most of which are from the Khoisan family, that receive no official status; however, some groups within South Africa are attempting to promote their use and revival.

Members of middle class, who are predominantly white but whose ranks include growing numbers of people of colour, have lifestyles similar in many respects to that of people found in Western Europe, North America and Australia. Members of the middle class often study and work abroad for greater exposure to the markets of the world.

Indian South Africans preserve their cultural heritage, languages and religious beliefs, being either Christian, Hindu or Muslim and speaking English, with Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil or Gujarati being spoken less frequently as second languages. The first Indians arrived on the Truro ship as indentured labourers in Natal to work the Sugar Cane Fields, while the rest arrived as traders. A post-apartheid wave of South Asian (including Pakistani) immigration has also influenced South African Indian culture. There is a much smaller Chinese South African community, made up of early immigrants, apartheid-era immigrants from Taiwan, and post-apartheid immigrants from mainland China.

Art[edit]

Main article: Art of South Africa

The oldest art objects in the world were discovered in a South African cave. Dating from 75,000 years ago, these small drilled snail shells could have no other function than to have been strung on a string as a necklace. South Africa was one of the cradles of the human species. One of the defining characteristics of our species is the making of art (from Latin 'ars' meaning worked or formed from basic material).

The scattered tribes of Khoisan peoples moving into South Africa from around 10,000 BC had their own fluent art styles seen today in a multitude of cave paintings. They were superseded by Bantu and Nguni peoples with their own vocabularies of art forms. In the 20th century, traditional tribal forms of art were scattered and re-melded by the divisive policies of apartheid.

New forms of art evolved in the mines and townships: a dynamic art using everything from plastic strips to bicycle spokes. The Dutch-influenced folk art of the AfrikanerTrekboer and the urban white artists earnestly following changing European traditions from the 1850s onwards also contributed to this eclectic mix, which continues to evolve today.

Contemporary South Africa has a stellar art scene, with artists receiving international recognition. The recent 'Figures and Fictions' exhibition of South African photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London included the work of Mikhael Subotzky, Zanele Muholi, David Goldblatt, Zwelethu Mthethwa and Guy Tillim. Contemporary South African artists whose work has been met with international acclaim include Marlene Dumas and William Kentridge.

Architecture[edit]

The architecture of South Africa mirrors the vast ethnic and cultural diversity of the country and its historical colonial period. In addition, influences from other distant countries have contributed to the variety of the South African architectural landscape.

Herbert Baker, among the country's most influential architects, designed the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Other buildings of note include the Rhodes memorial and St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, and St John's College in Johannesburg.

Cape Dutch architecture was prominent in the early days (17th century) of the Cape Colony, and the name derives from the fact that the initial settlers of the Cape were primarily Dutch. The style has roots in medieval Holland, Germany, France and Indonesia. Houses in this style have a distinctive and recognizable design, with a prominent feature being the grand, ornately rounded gables, reminiscent of features in townhouses of Amsterdam built in the Dutch style.

The rural landscape of South Africa is populated with traditional and European-influenced African architecture.

Literature[edit]

Main article: Literature of South Africa

There are 11 national languages in South Africa. South Africa's unique social and political history has generated a rich variety of literatures, with themes spanning pre-colonial life, the days of apartheid, and the lives of people in the "new South Africa".

Many of the first black South African print authors were missionary-educated, and many thus wrote in either English or Afrikaans. One of the first well known novels written by a black author in an African language was Solomon Thekiso Plaatje's Mhudi, written in 1930.

Notable white English-language South African authors include Nadine Gordimer who was, in Seamus Heaney's words, one of "the guerrillas of the imagination", and who became the first South African and the seventh woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. Her most famous novel, July's People, was released in 1981, depicting the collapse of white-minority rule.

Athol Fugard, whose plays have been regularly premiered in fringe theatres in South Africa, London (The Royal Court Theatre), and New York City. Olive Schreiner's The Story of an African Farm (1883) was a revelation in Victorian literature: it is heralded by many as introducing feminism into the novel form.

Alan Paton published the acclaimed novel Cry, the Beloved Country in 1948. He told the tale of a black priest who comes to Johannesburg to find his son, which became an international best-seller. During the 1950s, Drum magazine became a hotbed of political satire, fiction, and essays, giving a voice to urban black culture.

Afrikaans-language writers also began to write controversial material. Breyten Breytenbach was jailed for his involvement with the guerrilla movement against apartheid. Andre Brink was the first Afrikaner writer to be banned by the government after he released the novel A Dry White Season about a white South African who discovers the truth about a black friend who dies in police custody.

John Maxwell (JM) Coetzee was also first published in the 1970s, and became internationally recognize in 1983 with his Booker Prize-winning novel Life & Times of Michael K. His 1999 novel Disgrace won him his second Booker Prize as well as the 2000 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He is also the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.

English writer J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, was born in Bloemfontein in 1892.

Poetry[edit]

Main article: South African poetry

South Africa has a rich tradition of oral poetry. Several influential African poets became prominent in the 1970s such as Mongane Wally Serote, whose most famous work, No Baby Must Weep, gave insight into the everyday lives of black South Africans under apartheid. Another famous black novelist, Zakes Mda, transitioned from poetry and plays to becoming a novelist in the same time period. His novel, The Heart of Redness won the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize and was made a part of the school curriculum across South Africa.

Cinema[edit]

Main article: Cinema of South Africa

While many foreign films have been produced about South Africa (usually involving race relations), few local productions are known outside South Africa itself. One exception was the film The Gods Must Be Crazy in 1980, set in the Kalahari. This is about how life in a traditional community of San (Bushmen) is changed when a Coke bottle, thrown out of a plane, suddenly lands from the sky. The late Jamie Uys, who wrote and directed The Gods Must Be Crazy, also had success overseas in the 1970s with his films Funny People and Funny People II, similar to the TV series Candid Camera in the US. Leon Schuster's You Must Be Joking! films are in the same genre, and hugely popular among South Africans.

Arguably, the most high-profile film portraying South Africa in recent years was "District 9". Directed by Neill Blomkamp, a native South African, and produced by Peter Jackson, the action/science-fiction film depicts a sub-class of alien refugees forced to live in the slums of Johannesburg in what many saw as a creative allegory for apartheid. The film was a critical and commercial success worldwide, and was nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Other notable exceptions are the film Tsotsi, which won the Academy Award for Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006 as well as U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha, which won the Golden Bear at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival.

Music[edit]

Main article: Music of South Africa

There is great diversity in music from South Africa. Many black musicians who sang in Afrikaans or English during apartheid have since begun to sing in traditional African languages, and have developed a unique style called Kwaito. Of note is Brenda Fassie, who launched to fame with her song "Weekend Special", which was sung in English. More famous traditional musicians include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, while the Soweto String Quartet performs classic music with an African flavour. White and Coloured South African singers are historically influenced by European musical styles.

South Africa has produced world-famous jazz musicians, notably Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Abdullah Ibrahim, Miriam Makeba, Jonathan Butler, Chris McGregor, and Sathima Bea Benjamin. Afrikaans music covers multiple genres, such as the contemporarySteve Hofmeyr and the punk rock band Fokofpolisiekar. Crossover artists such as Verity (internationally recognised for innovation in the music industry) and Johnny Clegg and his bands Juluka and Savuka have enjoyed various success underground, publicly, and abroad.

The South African music scene includes Kwaito, a new music genre that had developed in the mid-1980s and has since developed to become the most popular socio-economic form of representation among the populace. Some[who?] may argue that the political aspects of Kwaito have diminished after Apartheid, and the relative interest in politics has become a minor aspect of daily life. Others[who?] argue that in a sense, Kwaito is in fact a political force that shows activism in its apolitical actions.

Today, major corporations like Sony, BMG, and EMI have appeared on the South African scene to produce and distribute Kwaito music. Due to its overwhelming popularity, as well as the general influence of DJs, who are among the top 5 most influential types of people within the country, Kwaito has taken over radio, television, and magazines.[1]

South African rock music is a very popular subculture, especially within the Johannesburg region. The alternative rock band Seether gained international popularity in the early 2000s, with four of their albums achieving Gold or Platinum certification in the United States.[2] Two other alternative bands, KONGOS and Civil Twilight, also achieved success abroad in the late 2000s.

Cuisine[edit]

Main article: South African cuisine

The cuisine of South Africa is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as a braai, or barbecue. Braai is widely popular, especially with all South Africans and includes meat, especially boerewors or spicy sausages, and mielies (maize) or Mielie-meal, often as a porridge, or pearl millet, a staple food of black South Africans. Pastries such like koeksisters and desserts like melktert (milk tart) are also universally popular. Vegetarianism is becoming widely accepted.

Indian food like curry is also popular, especially in Durban with its large Indian population. Another local Indian Durban speciality is the 'bunny' or bunny chow, which consists of a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry.

The Portuguese community has also made its mark, with spicy peri-peri chicken being a favourite. The South African Portuguese-themed restaurant chain Nando's now has restaurants in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.

Wine[edit]

Main article: South African wine

South Africa has developed into a major wine producer, with some of the best vineyards lying in valleys around Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl and Barrydale. South African wine has a history dating back to 1659, and at one time Constantia was considered one of the greatest wines in the world. Access to international markets has unleashed a burst of new energy and new investment. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and production centres at Paarl, Stellenbosch and Worcester.

There are about 60 appellations within the Wine of Origin (WO) system, which was implemented in 1973 with a hierarchy of designated production regions, districts and wards. WO wines must be made 100% from grapes from the designated area. "Single vineyard" wines must come from a defined area of less than 5 hectares. An "Estate Wine" can come from adjacent farms, as long as they are farmed together and wine is produced on site. A ward is an area with a distinctive soil type and/or climate, and is roughly equivalent to a European appellation.[3]

Education[edit]

Main article: Education in South Africa

Learners have twelve years of formal schooling, from grade 1 to 12. Grade R is a pre-primary foundation year. Primary schools span the first seven years of schooling.[4] High School education spans a further five years. The Senior Certificate examination takes place at the end of grade 12 and is necessary for tertiary studies at a South African university.[5]See: Matriculation in South Africa; High school in South Africa

Public universities in South Africa are divided into three types: traditional universities, which offer theoretically oriented university degrees; universities of technology ("Technikons"), which offer vocational oriented diplomas and degrees; and comprehensive universities, which offer both types of qualification. Public institutions are usually English medium, although instruction may take place in Afrikaans as well. There are also a large number of other educational institutions in South Africa – some are local campuses of foreign universities, some conduct classes for students who write their exams at the distance-education University of South Africa and some offer unaccredited or non-accredited diplomas. See: List of universities in South Africa; List of post secondary institutions in South Africa; Category:Higher education in South Africa

Public expenditure on education was at 5.4% of the 2002–05 GDP.

Under apartheid, schools for blacks were subject to discrimination through inadequate funding and a separate syllabus called Bantu Education which was only designed to give them sufficient skills to work as labourers.[6] Redressing these imbalances has been a focus of recent education policy; see Education in South Africa: Restructuring.

Social mores[edit]

Gender roles[edit]

Main article: Women in South Africa

In general, all racial and ethnic groups in South Africa have long-standing beliefs concerning gender roles, and most are based on the premise that women are less important, or less deserving of power, than men. Most African traditional social organisations are male centred and male dominated. Even in the 1990s, in some rural areas of South Africa, for example, wives walk a few paces behind their husbands in keeping with traditional practices. Many conservative Afrikaners' religious beliefs, too, include a strong emphasis on the theoretically biblically based notion that women's contributions to society should normally be approved by, or be on behalf of, men.

In the 20th century, economic and political developments presented South African women with both new obstacles and new opportunities to wield influence. For example, labour force requirements in cities and mining areas have often drawn men away from their homes for months at a time, and, as a result, women have borne many traditionally male responsibilities in the village and home. Women have had to guarantee the day-to-day survival of their families and to carry out financial and legal transactions that otherwise would have been reserved for men.

Further information: Feminism in South Africa

Sexual orientation[edit]

Main article: LGBT rights in South Africa

South Africa enacted same-sex marriage laws in 2006 allowing full marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. Although the Constitutional and legal system in South Africa theoretically ensures equality, social acceptance is generally lacking, especially outside of urban areas. Lesbian women from smaller towns (especially the townships) are often victims of beating or rape. This has been posited, in part, to be because of the perceived threat they pose to traditional male authority.[7] Although evidence of hatred may influence rulings on a case-by-case basis, South Africa has no specific "hate crime" legislation; human rights organisations have criticised the South African police for failing to address the matter of bias motivated crimes.

For example, the NGO ActionAid has condemned the continued impunity and accused governments of turning a blind eye to reported murders of lesbians in homophobic attacks in South Africa; as well as to so-called "corrective" rapes, including cases among pupils, in which cases the male rapists purport to raping the lesbian victim with the intent of thereby "curing" her of her sexual orientation.[8][9] Human rights watchdogs believe that much of the sexism and homophobia that erupts is tied to male frustration with unemployment and poverty.[citation needed]

Science and technology[edit]

Main article: Science and technology in South Africa

Several important scientific and technological developments have originated in South Africa. The first human-to-human heart transplant was performed by cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in December 1967. Max Theiler developed a vaccine against Yellow Fever, Allan McLeod Cormack pioneered x-ray Computed tomography, and Aaron Klug developed crystallographic electron microscopy techniques. These advancements were all (with the exception of that of Barnard) recognised with Nobel Prizes. Sydney Brenner won most recently, in 2002, for his pioneering work in molecular biology.

Mark Shuttleworth founded an early Internet security company Thawte, that was subsequently bought out by world-leader VeriSign.

South Africa has cultivated a burgeoning astronomy community. It hosts the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. South Africa is currently building the Karoo Array Telescope as a pathfinder for the $20 billion Square Kilometer Array project to be built in South Africa and Australia.

Sports[edit]

Main article: Sport in South Africa

The most popular sports in South Africa are soccer, rugby and cricket.[10] Other sports with significant support are hockey, swimming, athletics, golf, boxing, tennis and netball. Although soccer commands the greatest following among the youth, other sports like basketball, surfing, and skateboarding are increasingly popular.

Famous boxing personalities include Baby Jake Jacob Matlala, Vuyani Bungu, Welcome Ncita, Dingaan Thobela, Gerrie Coetzee and Brian Mitchell. Soccer players who have played for major foreign clubs include Lucas Radebe and Philemon Masinga, (both formerly of Leeds United), Quinton Fortune (Atlético Madrid and Manchester United), Benni McCarthy (Ajax Amsterdam, F.C. Porto, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United), Aaron Mokoena (Ajax Amsterdam, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth), Delron Buckley (Borussia Dortmund) and Steven Pienaar (Ajax Amsterdam and Everton). South Africa has also produced 1979 Formula One World Champion, Jody Scheckter, along with his son, two time Indycar Series race winner, Tomas Scheckter, who led the most laps in both his first two Indianapolis 500 starts during the 2002 and 2003 running of the race. Durban Surfer Jordy Smith won the 2010 Billabong J-Bay competition making him the No.1 ranked surfer in the world. Famous current cricket players include Herschelle Gibbs, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, etc. Most of them also participate in the Indian Premier League.

South Africa has also produced numerous world class rugby players, including Francois Pienaar, Joost van der Westhuizen, Danie Craven, Frik du Preez, Naas Botha and Bryan Habana. South Africa hosted and won the 1995 Rugby World Cup and won the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. It followed the 1995 Rugby World Cup by hosting the 1996 African Cup of Nations, with the national team going on to win the tournament. It also hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the 2007 World Twenty20 Championship, and it was the host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which was the first time the tournament was held in Africa. FIFA president Sepp Blatter awarded South Africa a grade 9 out of 10 for successfully hosting the event.[11]

In 2004, the swimming team of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Athens, simultaneously breaking the world record in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Penny Heyns won Olympic Gold in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In golf, Gary Player is generally regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, having won the Career Grand Slam, one of five golfers to have done so. Other South African golfers to have won major tournaments include Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Louis Oosthuizen.

Scouting[edit]

South Africa has also had a large influence in the Scouting movement, with many Scouting traditions and ceremonies coming from the experiences of Robert Baden-Powell (the founder of Scouting) during his time in South Africa as a military officer in the 1890s-1900s. The South African Scout Association was one of the first youth organisations to open its doors to youth and adults of all races in South Africa. This happened on 2 July 1977 at a conference known as Quo Vadis.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

An array of traditional South African cuisine
Meat on a traditional South African braai
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