Culture ‘R’ us

South Africa consists of an abundance of various cultures, but how important is it to learn about these other cultures when you only respect  your specific one?

Culture plays a big role in our lives, as most people have been introduced to their ancestor’s culture from a young age. This trend has carried on up until today’s modern age. Whether it is Xhosa, Zulu, Hindu or Coloured, there are vast varieties of cultures here in our own backyards. Living in our ‘Rainbow Nation’, you are bound to encounter a person or group of people that believe in a different culture than that of your own.

A quote taken out of the book entitled Culture and Social Behaviour by Harry C. Triandis (page 16) says:  ‘One useful way to think about culture is to think of understated assumptions, standard operating procedures, ways of doing things that have been initialized to such an extent that people do not argue about them.’ This statement is still applicable to the way we value our culture today. When I asked Lindeka Titi, a 25-year-old Christian student studying Management, about her views on how important it is to be educated about different cultures on campus, she responded by saying that with understanding others cultures, you are also able to understand the person. This enables you to get along better with that person. She went on further to say that with knowledge of their culture, you are able to respect their values and behaviour, which makes it a lot easier to converse and work together.

After asking Etienne Oliver, a 20-year-old student studying Civil Engineering , to comment on the matter he said that: “By knowing other’s backgrounds, you can work with people and know your boundaries and respecting their culture you can make it easier to work with other people – which benefits you in the future.”

My view on this topic, as a Christian, is that I consider it highly important to learn about other cultures in order to have a clearer understanding of others, as well as gain a deeper respect for them.

Dylan Oktober

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