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This is what you need to know about the people of South Africa – all 57 million of them. Learn about the culture, history and heritage of ‘the rainbow nation’

Words: Emily Georgieva

Photography: Leo Moko

28 February 2019

A multiethnic country, South Africa is interesting and multilayered. There are 11 official languages spoken in the country, some of which originate from European languages. This gives the country the ranking of the fourth highest number of spoken official languages in the world. The cultural diversity that is represented by locals and tourists alike, can be associated with this phenomenon.

It is no secret why so many people decide to visit the country every year. On average, overnight there are over 9 549 200 tourists, who enter the border of the country seeking to explore its beauty. There are a variety of things to do and places where nature is at its widest.

The combination of different languages, cultural values and religions defines the country. This diversity has been brought by the people, who live on the territory of the country. Currently, South Africa takes the 24th place for most populated country in the world as there are around 57 million people, who live there.

Most people are from a Sub-Saharan African ancestry, while the rest of the population consists of locals with Asian, European and multiracial background. It is easy to understand that culture is diverse, interesting and is the country’s heart and soul. The way people express themselves and their cultural values have defined South Africa and put it on the map as one of the most diverse and magnificent destinations. The post-apartheid South Africa is also referred to as ‘the rainbow nation’ because of the multicultural factors and the nation’s diversity.

There are a lot of places that tourists come back to the country for because of their beauty, colourfulness and history. A story of those places defines the cultural significance of the country as a whole and gives it so much value. Such a place is the neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap. The colours in the area have a fascinating history. Back in 1760s, rental houses have been built by slaves. When the slavery ended, the properties were available to be bought and as the slaves had the rights to buy them, they painted the houses in multiple bright colours to celebrate their freedom and make the neighbourhood feel like home. Those houses still stand tall and are a must stop on a trip exploring the history of South Africa. Ever since then, culture has been one of the leading factors to define the country.


Today, people from all over are drawn by the fascination, the cultural richness and the colourful tornado that is South Africa. There is a lot that defines the country, but people will always remain the most significant factor of the rainbow country.



NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.



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