Friday, November 7, 2008

Faces of South Africa

South Africa is a diverse country with people from many different ethnicities, religions, and languages. South Africa is often called the Cradle of Humankind, for it is where archaeologists discovered 2,5-million-year-old fossils of our earliest ancestors, and 100 000-year-old remains of modern man. In percentage 79% classified themselves as African; 9,6% as white; 8,9% as coloured; and 2,5% as Indian/Asian, all with their own traditions, food, language. It is very diverse and people live most of the time in peace with another.

We are living in Johannesburg a very modern city and you hardly notice that there are still so many tribes living here with their original traditions and cultures so different than ours. I like to share some of these faces with you.

The first picture is just a cute picture I found and used as my change of address card back in June, but the rest are all pictures and stories I found on National Geographic and the link you can find by clicking on the title.

1. Face painting in the colors of the SA flag.

2. In a ceremony before being tested to see whether they are virgins, Zulu girls in Lamontville, South Africa, had their faces painted with mud.

3. Xhosa boys are shown wearing the white clay painted on their bodies that signifies transition to manhood. Around the teen years, Xhosa males traditionally are initiated into adulthood. The initiation includes a period of separation from family, during which older men mentor the younger ones. Still widely observed in rural areas, the initiation ends with the rite of circumcision.

4. Against a typically patterned Ndebele home, women display the colorful traditional costumes and neck and arm rings that their culture is known for.
The indigenous South African population includes the Nguni people (consisting of the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Swazi), the Sotho-Tswana people, the Tsonga, and the Venda. A few members of the Khoi and the San (or Bushmen)southern Africa's oldest inhabitantslive in South Africa.

5. Islam is observed by a small minority of South Africans, including these children. About 80 percent of South Africans identify themselves as Christians. Jews, Hindus, and people who adhere to traditional African beliefs make up small religious minorities.

6. Woman From the Namaqualand Outback. The arid Namaqualand region is also known as the Garden of the Gods, because every August and September, Namaqualand bursts into a profusion of wildflowers.

There are relatively few old South Africans—only 1 in 20 is older than 65. And due in large part to the AIDS epidemic, deaths slightly exceeded births in South Africa in 2004, according to the CIA World Factbook. The result: a shrinking population.

7. Zulu Bride. The Zulu kingdom is called KwaZulu, or "place of heaven." This fertile country contains wilderness parks, traditional kraals (native villages), and Durban, Africa's busiest port.

IsiZulu is 1 of 11 official languages in South Africa, not to mention many more unofficial ones. Other official tongues include Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga.

8. Afrikaner Rugby Fan. South Africa's white community consists primarily of Afrikaners (descendants of Dutch, French, and German settlers who formed unique cultural traditions and their own language) and "English speakers" (mostly the descendants of immigrants from the United Kingdom).

9. Swazi Women at a Reed Dance. Young Swazi and Zulu women are regularly summoned by their respective monarchs to perform the ritual reed dance, which is a right of passage as well as a traditional homage to the king.

Swaziland is a separate, independent country, almost completely surrounded by South Africa, but many Swazi people live across the border, in South Africa.

South Africa is divided into nine provinces, each with its own legislature, premier, and executive council. The provinces are the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.

Within these provinces are a number of "traditional rulers," including the current Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelethini, who is a direct descendant of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu kingdom.

10. Indian Bride. South Africa's Indian community is largely descended from indentured laborers brought to South Africa by the British to work on sugar plantations. South African Indians today are found in all walks of life, including the president's cabinet, the law courts, and corporate executive suites.

11. "Coloured" Men at Cape Carnival. New Year's Day in South Africa traditionally means street carnivals of song and dance, especially among the Coloured people in the Cape Town area.

The Coloureds are South Africa's people of mixed racial ancestry. Made up of descendants of former slaves, blacks, and whites, many Coloureds proudly assert that they are living proof that South Africa's different races can get along.

Enjoy your weekend!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails