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  • Writer's pictureHannah D

What I've learned after a month of living in South Africa

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

A whole month in SA. How time flies when you're having fun! We're now staying close to the city in a two-month rental by the beach until we find something more permanent. It's a great opportunity to explore the different suburbs and figure out what areas we like. While the house hunting resumes, I continue to observe and learn more about life here.

Here are some more takeaways on our one-month move anniversary.

Roadside shopping

I love the fact that there's pretty much anything and everything you can buy by the roadside or while held up at traffic lights. From fruit to newspapers and flamingo garden ornaments, it certainly brightens up a journey!

Heating isn't a thing

While South Africa has warm summers, the evenings can get a little chilly. Especially when you're English and used to being cold 80% of the time! None of the rental properties that we have stayed in so far have had heating installed, so clearly, the South Africans are made of stronger stuff than us Brits.

Going to a petrol station is an experience

Is it sad to say I enjoy going to the petrol station?! It truly is an experience though - attendants who fill up for you, wipe your windscreen, check your oil and facilitate contactless payment through the window. No need to leave your car. Heaven.

South African slang

"Howzit" = How is it/how are you?

"Now now" = Shortly. Usually referenced when you're asking someone how long it'll take for something to be done.

"Is it?" = Really?

"Crossing thumbs!" = Fingers crossed!

The (Great) Gatsby

Not the fictional character, but a submarine sandwich consisting of a bread roll filled with fries and a choice of fillings and sauces. It originated in Cape Town and is typically shared by several people due to its size. The South African version of an English chip butty!

Car guards

Official and non-official ones who for a few rand will point you in the direction of open parking spaces and watch over your car in your absence. They also possess ninja skills, appearing from absolutely nowhere!

Braai etiquette

If you're invited to a braai (barbecue) that is called a "chop 'n dop" it means you're expected to bring your own meat (chop) as well as your own drinks (dop). The host or hostess will provide everything else. If you're invited to a "bring and braai", that means you're expected to bring everything (except the wood).

The Colonel is cleaning up

Despite being an American brand, KFC is huge in South Africa. You can guarantee most streets will have one and there are usually queues with delivery drivers frantically ducking in and out on their next pick-up. Never mind Finger Lickin' Good, KFC is Finger Lickin' Lekker!

Impressive digital capabilities

It's fair to say that the South Africans are years ahead when it comes to digital capabilities. I signed up for a loyalty programme which consisted of sending a couple of WhatsApp messages before filling in a very short online form. Minutes later a digital card was sent ready for me to use straight away. No paper forms, no post, no plastic card! Customer service at its finest.

The Colonel is king in South Africa!

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