South Africa Gift Giving Customs

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Flag of South Africa

Capital: Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive (administrative) and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.[1]

Currency: Rand


Gift Giving in South Africa
As one of the most multi-cultural nations on the globe, gift giving in South Africa can be as widely diverse as it's people. This incredible country is rich with history and culture stemming from it's native population, and the descendants of the many colonists from far-away lands such as Holland, India, China and many more. As a result, an official national language, or religion does not exist. The nation's government is divided among three cities, and the country itself owns many official names. It is a populace known for it's ample contrasts, and giving gifts in South Africa should be approached with this "rainbow nation" in mind. That being said, there are specific rules of etiquette and guidelines that can be followed when bestowing gifts here.[2]
  • Typically, gifts are reserved for birthdays and Christmas.The 21st and 40th birthdays are celebrated with large parties, and lavish gifts are given to mark these milestones.
  • Gift giving in South Africa usually takes on a conservative tone. The focus at Christmas is on the religious celebration, and it is not uncommon for a holiday gift to be a new suit or dress to wear to church for Christmas services. If gifts are exchanged in poorer communities, they are typically items such as school books, soap, cloth, candles or other practical goods.[3]
  • If you're invited to a South African's home for a meal, it is common courtesy to bring flowers, good quality chocolates or a bottle of South African wine to your host or hostess.
  • Take care in the wrapping of any gift. Be certain that it will make a nice presentation.
  • It is expected that a gift is opened when it is received.

South African Wine

  • As one of it's largest exports, the South Africans are extremely proud of the wines produced here. Wine production is known to date back to the 1600s, when it became a favorite of European kings and emperors.[4] Due to much of the country's temperate climate, vineyards remain bountiful. Take special care in choosing a locally grown wine when giving gifts in South Africa to your host or hostess; and be sure to sample the country's many variations during your visit here.

Christmas in South Africa

Christmas finds itself in mid-summer in South Africa, a country where the terrain encompasses everything from radiant beaches, to mountains, to scrubland and desert. Rather than snow, the beauty of the season here is marked by spectacular flowers. Caroling is common within the cities and towns, and homes are elegantly decorated with pine branches, Christmas firs, and stockings in anticipation of Father Christmas. The holiday feast is often served in the open-air, while others enjoy a day at the beach or in the country.[5]

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