Diversity is a key feature of South Africa, where 11 languages are recognised as official, where community leaders include chieftains and rabbis, rugby players and returned expats and where traditional healers ply their trade around the corner from stockbrokers.

 

The ‘rainbow nation’ is a term coined by Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu in an bid to capture the extraordinary diversity of races, tribes, creeds, languages and landscape that characterises modern South Africa. A nation with eleven official languages: English, Afrikaans and nine ethnic tongues, of which Zulu and Xhosa are the most widely spoken.  It has not one, not two, but three capital cities!  Pretoria (executive capital); Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital), probably needed three to handle all the admin due to this diversity!

Not only is there so much variety amongst the population…… but also in nature.  This is thanks to the very unique physical features of the country.  Most of South Africa is actually on a high plateau and this lies between two very different oceans.  The Atlantic on the west coast which is icy cold, and the Indian Ocean on the east coast which flows from the tropics and is comparatively much warmer.  These unusual climatic conditions mean that South Africa is one of the most biodiverse places in the world with a huge mammal, fish, bird and insect population.  Not to mention being home to the wondrous Unesco World Heritage site of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Pincushion Bush

And of most note of course, is the fact that these conditions make for excellent wine-growing.  (There’ll be more to come on this subject on this blog.)

As you can imagine the cuisine is pretty diverse too.  The top three local food items in South Africa are: piri-piri, biltong and sosatie… and regular items on a South African menu include springbok, warthog, kudu, zebra and gemsbok…

Gemsbok

Unsuspecting gemsbok

There is a strong food culture given the wealth of ingredients (South Africa is one of the world’s largest fruit exporters) and the diverse population all vying with each other to be recognised as the best cuisine in the country.

So it’s not surprising that words like breath-taking and spectacular are used to describe this remarkable place, and it will be with great pleasure that we will be attempting to seduce you with interesting revelations and hopefully useful tips through this blog about the Rainbow Nation.