Today (July 18, 2011) is Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday.

We wish him all the best for the day and the rest of the year and we pray for his continued good health.

Mandela Day – launched in 2009 – to remember Mandela’s contribution to the creation of a democratic South Africa calls on people to donate 67 minutes of their time to help those in need.

In honour of the day, we have put together some reasons to love South Africa. Here they are, in more or less alphabetical order, and in our own, idiomatic words:

Afrikaans – no way your swear words would have the same impact if they were said in English!

Apartheid Museum

Barefoot kids playing rugby as if they were already Springboks

Being able to see the Big 7 – the usual plus great whites and whales – within a few hours of each other in the Eastern Cape


Blue Bulls – What a team man! Okay, okay and the rest of the rugby teams!


Camping at Christmas … or camping in general

Cape Town International jazz festival

Cheap steak and great red wine

Cocktails on Clifton Beach

Curry bunny chow

Durban Poison: world famous

Eastern Cape beaches

Fordsburg and a growing number of China Mall’s – you can get anything “cheap, cheap”

Fresh produce…at Bangladesh market in Chatsworth you can buy a live chicken – and watch them slaughter it…ewwww!


Getting a seat on a crowded Metrorail train

Giraffes – just because they’re so cool

Horse-drawn carts

Johannesburg’s purple sunsets (probably because of the pollution)

Jozi’s leafy suburbs… Did you know that Joburg is the city with the most trees in the world?

Kennetjie – the kids’ game

Kirstenbosch concerts

Koeksisters and coffee on a Sunday morning

Light on the mountains in Cape Town.

Marabaraba-is it still played?

Missing front teeth and all the jokes about them

Mopani worms

Mrs Balls Chutney

Namaqualand’s flower carpet


Nelson Mandela-who else!

Ouma rusks and Koffiehuis coffee

Our cultural diversity

Our diehard faith in the various national sporting teams

Our eleven official languages

Our good-looking guys!

Our beautiful girls!

Our one-of-a-kind national flag

Our pragmatism as a people

Partying in Melville rocks and the pizza at 6am at Catz Pyjamas is the perfect way to end the evening

Polony…thickly sliced

Pretoria’s jacarandas


Reading the Sunday papers and smelling the neighbourhood braais

Red rocks in the Golden Gate national park at sunset

Riding along the Garden Route

Rollers and overalls in shopping centres.

Shad season: was featured on the Discovery Channel…how awesome is that!?

Shaka Zulu: need we say more?

Shebeens and Zamalek

Shosholoza – the one song almost every South African manages to sing with immense pride… but completely wrong.

Simpiwe Tsabalala’s goal in the World Cup opener – forever and ever amen the best moment in SA sports history.

Singing the national anthem before the games… *proud much?

Slap chips and chip rolls

Spur restaurants

Stepping off a plane in Pee-Eee and hearing somebody say “yoh! yoh! yoh!”

Summer on the Highveld – just perfect!


Taxis…you’ll hear the bass music coming – and chaotic taxi ranks, but somehow you get where you need to be

The fact that no matter how politically far apart South Africans may be, when the music starts there are always some who’ll start dancing

The fact that our fuel stations are not self service and that the attendants are always so cheerful

The false dusk caused by a looming storm and the smell of the first big drops of rain hitting the pavement

The smell of roasting mielies when you walk down the Joburg CBD’s streets

The view from Northcliff hill – the city looks gorgeous

The view from the Union Buildings in Pretoria

The way we murder our vowels

Those tiny flowers in the Karoo that you don’t see until you really look for them

Walking along Sea Point promenade

Watching the sun set on Chapman’s Peak

WIMPY! – oooooo lekker breakfast

Winter in Durban: board shorts and flip flops… jealous much?