Hold onto your hats. Brace yourself for curse words because I am about to RANT.
There is an infographic circulating on Pinterest about South Africa that is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in awhile. I'm used to people asking if we have lions as pets and their minds inwardly exploding when they realise white people live in Africa. But this infographic takes the cake because it's made by a pair of full-time travel bloggers.
They have (presumably) visited South Africa and clearly, know how to operate a computer and the Internet. But for some reason, they still managed to come up with a steaming pile of shit about my country.
It annoys me that there are people pinning this infographic and believing some of these things are true. But as pissed off as I am, I'm not going to name and shame. As this is not just about them, but the lack of fact checking on the Internet in general.
While the majority of the infographic is correct there are three key things that they have no excuse for getting these three things wrong. It's made me step back and assess my own writing in hopes that I don't sound like an utter idiot when talking about countries I have visited. Maybe it will do the same for you. Or maybe it will remind you of stuff people have said about your own country. If it does, please comment below and let's collectively shake our heads and have a laugh.
Here are the three dumb ass things these two travel bloggers believe about South Africa:
The in spoken languages section, the infographic first lists Afrikaans as a main language and then that English is widely spoken.
A simple Google search will reveal that Afrikaans is not the primarily spoken language in South Africa. Out of our eleven OFFICIAL languages, Zulu is the most widely spoken language with 11.6 million mother tongue speakers. English is the common language of South Africa. It's the language majority of Businesses use. It's why South Africans are considered native tongue speakers for TEFL teacher applications around the world.
But with so many official languages, travellers need to understand that language is a hot topic in South Africa. Perpetuating that one language is more important than another creates a strong cultural divide. This was seen when the South African government introduced an African language as a compulsory language in schools a few years ago. How do you decide which of the 9 African languages to teach?
It was seen again a last year when Stellenbosch University was forced to offer lectures in English after mass student protests. When I worked in retail during high school and college, I had to deal with numerous Afrikaans customers that assumed that I understood the language because it was my second language in high school.
As an English speaking South African, I can't speak more than a few phrases of Afrikaans and my listening ability is only a few levels higher. This is because I had no interest in learning the language as everyone spoke English. There was no real reason for me to use it outside of school.
In my opinion, putting Afrikaans above all the other languages and giving examples of Afrikaans phrases to learn, is like telling people travelling to the USA to learn Spanish.
P.S. Not hating on Afrikaans. It's still my go to for swearing and I miss hearing and attempting to speak it when abroad.
2. "Yellow Fever Vaccination for South Africa"
According to WHO (World Health Organisation), "Yellow Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America."
This is where I seriously start to question the ability of these idiots to use Google. In the section of their infographic for immunisations to get for a particular country, they have listed Yellow Fever for South Africa.
If you open your browser and type in "Yellow Fever affected countries" South Africa does not appear on any list.
With all the other reasons that make travellers think twice about visiting this country, why would you create an infographic spewing out such misleading information?
South Africa does not have Yellow Fever. You only need a Yellow Fever certificate if you are entering from a country that is on the list for the disease. This is the same for entering pretty such other country around the world.
3. "Do not go out at night"
The final nail in this infographic's coffin is their "Do Not" section. Apparently, travellers need to avoid going out at night in South Africa.
I hate to sound so basic, but I JUST CANT EVEN.
Nowhere in the world is it okay to go walking by yourself into a deserted alleyway late at night. You are just looking for shit. But to tell people not to go out at night at all? That is just so extreme and such bullshit.
South Africa has an epic nightlife scene. Going out to a pub on the weekends or after work is just as part of our culture as eating biltong and calling traffic lights "robots". For travellers wanting to mingle with locals and experience our thriving local music and arts scene, going out at night is a must.
For travellers who are understandably wary about driving at night, South Africa has this amazing app that you can use called Uber. We were all SO grateful when such first world technology arrived on our dark continent shores. Oh, and according to another blog I read, all South African taxi drivers don't get targeted by hi-jackets because they have a special spidey sense.
So there's that.
It's perfectly safe to go out at night in South Africa if you keep your wits about you like you would anywhere else.
- Go watch a live band
- Experience the local art scene by walking at night through the Cape Town CBD for First Thursdays
- Have that drink at a local pub
- Dance the night away at a nightclub or
- Climb a damn mountain during the Full Moon
There are way more reasons to go out at night and take in the pulse of our cities than to lock yourself up in a hotel room. And if the locals, who live behind high walls and electric fences, can manage to go out at night and not shit themselves out of pure terror - you'll be okay.
But to end this blog piece on a positive note, at least they managed to get our currency right.
What Dumb Ass Things Do People Say About Your Country?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, I'm Lauren! I'm passionate about inspiring young South Africans to travel for less and sharing my experiences and how to navigate the endless visa paperwork along the way. When I'm not busy preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, I'm having a travel fail somewhere and geeking out in countries all over the world. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat!