2.Religion

Religion is a huge part of SA’s culture. There are many Christian, Jewish and Muslim people around, but they usually go to schools according to their religions.

Well, I am in a Christian School and we have a big assembly once a week where we pray and talk about morals and values or Jesus. The entire School prays together every morning  and some teachers even do it before their lessons. 

My family is taking me to church once a week and we say grace before we eat. Even though I don’t believe in any God, I think its important to be thankful and appreciate what we have.   

Also in the gym class my Dad and I are visiting we pray before we start and ask God for strength and to bless our bodies and the workout

It became a nice ritual even with my friends here, whether in a restaurant or at home, that we pray before we eat to thank God for our friendship. 

Church here is completely different from what I experienced, in fact the people here worship and believe with passion and are so excited about their relationship with Jesus. It is a popular youth thing and there are many worship concerts where everyone dances and sings to praise Jesus.   

Therefore because of SAs variety of cultures, there are many different opinions about different beliefs, what is right and what is wrong. 

Some african religions only belive in ancestors and omens and slaughter animals to worship them.

Some believe in both, God and ancestors and others dont believe at all.

There are some churches that are very strict, their people have to dress according to  their rules.

In other ones the people fall on the floor, scream and shout during the service because god “touched” them.

During my stay with a zulu family we slaughtered different animals (by hand) to praise the ancestors. It is tradition to make a bracelet from goat skin as a sign of protection from the ancestors. They gave me one as a present, to show that I am part of the family that I really liked. 

  I still wear it today and since I got it in sept 2014, people have given me lots. of feedback. In any case, the people look always a little confused when they see a white person wearing something so meaningful that only Zulus wear. 

Zulus usually like it very much, but for other religions that believe in ancestors or God, it is unacceptable. Sometimes random people just shout at me because they say that I am no part of the zulu culture and they give me  long monolouges about what is right and what is wrong and try to scare me so that I will take it off. Our christian helper said that if she was wearing the bracelet she would’nt be able to sleep because the bracelet apparently is “evil”.

I personally dont like all the people interfering in my business but its not worth arguing about because the people wont listen anyway. 

It makes me sad when strangers tell me that I cant belong to a zulu community because I am white. For the first 4 months I was part of a zulu family. I lived, laughed, ate and prayed with them and tried my best to learn zulu. 

 I dont believe in ancestors or anything else, I just keep it as a memory and I like it.

1. Wildlife liveĀ 

First of all- I have to disappoint you. We don’t ride to School on lions or giraffes (nor anywhere else).

 But SA is popular for its Safaris and wildlife. Even on our hikes we see Baboons everywhere (careful, they are clever thieves!), snakes crossing our way and spiders sitting in the trees. But to see any of the big five, you probably have to go to the Kruger or other national parks. 

I’ve visited a lion park lately, where we played with baby lions, a cat park where I stood right next to a cheetah without a fence in between, an elephant center (my personal favorite) where we could take them for walks and pet them, and shark diving where I saw a great white a few meters from me. 

But sometimes its a little overwhelming, for instance we have to empty the kettle every time before we boil water, because poisonous spiders climb inside and drinking that water can be deadly. South Africa’s popular rain spiders are not dangerous but look like it. They typically come out after it rains so we sometimes find them in our house.

Today we went to Sun city (valley of the waves) and at the edge of a pool I almost stepped on a Boomslang, one of SA’s most deadly snakes. My parents told me that there was a black Mamba in our street in the middle of Joburg a few years ago. Especially me, who is terrified of snakes and spiders,  is watching every step on hikes and walks in the nature. 

  

  

  

   

What Ive learnt about South Africa

23 things I’ve learnt about sa:

Im going to do a series about 23 things, positive and negative, that I experienced during my exchange year in South Africa (SA). 

I am doing it for those that are interested in the Country and for myself as a memory. I will continue writing in english so my South African friends can understand as well.  Hopefully I will find the time to publish a post every day.

  

Hello World!

I would like to start by introducing myself: 

 My Name is Anouk, I am 17 years old and come from near Hamburg in the North of Germany. Until last August I stayed with my younger sister and my natural parents.                    

Furthermore, I am a passionate horse rider but have never had my own horse as my parents are not into horses at all. 

 Currently I live in South Africa (Johannesburg) as an exchange student and enjoy it very much. As I changed from a Zulu family to a italian- south african family after 4 months, I am even happier. But I got to experience the zulu culture for that period including traditional cooking and visiting  townships from time to time. 

With my second family, that really is a family to me, I get to travel a lot through out the country. My (host)mom enjoys horse riding as well and thats how we met: at the stable that is close to my school. But enough  about my background for now!  

 Hiking at Boven in Mpumalanga