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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Welcome back to AfrikaansPod101.com. This is All About, Lesson 8, The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About South African Society. I'm Eric!
Pieter: Hallo! My naam is Pieter.
Eric: In this lesson, we're going to tell you more about life in South Africa.
Pieter : Yes, and we are very qualified to do so!
Eric: Yes, we have our South African expert, Pieter, here, and our pseudo-South African expert, me!
Pieter: South Africa is such a diverse country, so trying to talk about South African society is a huge subject.
Eric: Yes, so it's difficult to know where to begin. Why don't we start with city life, Pieter?
Pieter: Sure. South African cities are usually very large and quite different to cities in Europe, Asia, or North America.
Eric: Each has its own culture, food, and personality!
Pieter: Let's start with my hometown of Cape Town, a city I love! It’s called the mother city and was the first ever city in South Africa, founded by Jan van Riebeeck from the Dutch East India Company in 1652.
Eric: Its name is derived from the city’s location on the Cape of Good Hope.
Pieter: It used to be the port where the ships would stop on their way to the East Indies.
Eric: Yeah, and having a port was the reason that the city grew so much. Is Cape Town the largest city in South Africa?
Pieter: I guess that depends how you count! There are about 3.4 million people living there, but some people say there are as many as 10 million people living in Johannesburg.
Eric: Haha, wow, you know your numbers!
Pieter: It’s my job to know! Cape Town is located in the province in the southwest corner of the country, called the “Western Cape.”
Eric: Yes, and the Western Cape is one of the 9 provinces of South Africa.
Pieter: Cape Town attracts a lot of tourists – 2.5 million annually.
Eric: I think it’s because there are so many tourist attractions.
Pieter: Yeah, like Table Mountain and Robben Island?
Eric: Right. But there are lots more, like the Bo-Kaap and the beaches...
Pieter: And the V&A waterfront, which of course has lots of shops and restaurants.
Eric: And Long Street and Greenpoint are where you can experience some of Cape Town’s nightlife.
Pieter: There’s a lot of culture there for you to experience!
Eric: Sure sounds like it. Let's move on to the next city!
Pieter: Okay, well, we can't leave out Johannesburg.
Eric: Johannesburg is South Africa’s and Africa’s economic hub. It is in Gauteng province, in the northeast of the country.
Pieter: And it’s also a very multicultural city.
Eric: Johannesburg is one of South Africa’s most mixed cities, with all 11 of South Africa’s official languages being spoken there. I heard Zulu is the most popular language there, right?
Pieter: Yes, but nearly everybody speaks fluent English, and lots of people speak other languages like Afrikaans, Xhosa, and Setswana too.
Eric: How about the name of the city – do you know where it comes from?
Pieter: Well, as you might have guessed, it’s named after a man named Johannes!
Eric: Who is Johannes?
Pieter: That’s a very good question! The official record of which Johannes it was named after has been lost, so I guess we’ll never know!
Eric: It might always be a mystery!
Pieter: So let’s move on to something else.
Eric: Okay, the second aspect of South African society we want to talk about is...
Pieter: family life.
Eric: You grew up in South Africa, right? So you’re must be an expert when it comes to South African families.
Pieter: Yeah, I guess so.
Eric: Tell me something about your family. I heard South African families tend to be quite big.
Pieter: Yeah that's right. Four kids is not many in a country where you could have as many as 10 or more in one family!
Eric: And it’s possible in South Africa for gay people to get married.
Pieter: Absolutely. South Africa enshrines gay rights in the constitution, and gay marriage has been legal since 2006, making it the first country in Africa to recognize same-sex marriage.
Eric: And now, let’s get into the third aspect of South African society-- work. What’s it like to work in South Africa?
Pieter: Well, we’re fast! We prefer to get down to business quickly and cut out the small talk.
Eric: It seems to me you don’t like small talk.
Pieter: Hey, you are being very South African there, by being direct.
Eric: Yeah I prefer people being direct but I often hear people say they think South Africans can be a bit blunt.
Pieter: Aaah, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. This is Africa, we don’t worry so much about little things like that!
Eric: Now let's move on to the fourth aspect of South African society.
Pieter: And that’s politics.
Eric: So what’s up with this capital city issue? Isn’t it Johannesburg?
Pieter: Ah, no. Johannesburg is the economic hub of the country, but actually we have three different capitals.
Eric: Three?? Isn’t one enough?
Pieter: Why have one when you can have three? Pretoria is our executive capital, Bloemfontein is the judicial capital, and Cape Town is the legislative capital.
Eric: I guess that way no one gets left out.
Pieter: Yeah, apart from Durban...
Eric: Well, they have the beach and the beautiful Indian Ocean to keep them busy. That’s something people of all ages can enjoy.
Pieter: That brings us to the fifth aspect of South African society-- generational trends. Braaiing, that’s barbeque, is the pastime that all generations have in common in South Africa.
Eric: Though you see differences in every generation.
Pieter: Of course, and not everything has to do with meat! Younger people who’ve grown up since the advent of democracy in the early 1990s mix a lot more with different ethnicities than their parents did. When my parents were growing up, you weren’t allowed to socialize with people of another race because of the Apartheid regime.
Eric: Wow, it’s hard to imagine that now.
Pieter: It sure is!
Eric: It seems like South Africa is really embracing its racial diversity these days. Especially at schools and universities, you see mixed groups of friends everywhere.
Pieter: That’s very true. This generation will really make this the rainbow nation!
Eric: Okay, that’s it for this lesson.
Pieter: Thanks for listening!
Eric: And we’ll see you next time.
Pieter: Totsiens!