The top 20 silly questions tha

The top 20 silly questions that foreigners ask South Africans

Myths and stereotypes about South Africa and its people continue to thrive in some countries. We count down the top 20 actual questions foreigners have asked our readers about our country.

The top 20 silly questions tha


Although our country has been welcomed back to an increasingly globalised world after the end of apartheid, some foreigners continue to harbour romantic ideas about life in Africa.

Certainly, one would not expect anyone outside South Africa’s borders to have an in-depth knowledge of the country or its history, but it’s surprising how many crazy myths and stereotypes about our land and its people continue to thrive.

Not even the publicity surrounding Nelson Mandela’s death and his involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle have succeeded in enlightening some people about the multiracial nature of SA society.

As a result, South Africans living or travelling abroad often face some ridiculous questions. We count down the top 20 actual questions our readers have been asked about their homeland:

20. Do you have the internet/ phones/ roads/ cars/ post/ shops/ schools/ money in South Africa?

19. Do you own a gun?

18. Do you have lions in your garden?

17. Do you ride around on elephants?

16. Why would you want to come here (UK, USA, etc)?

15. Can you see Kilimanjaro from your house?

14. Oh you’re from Johannesburg – do you know my friend Peter in Nairobi?

13. How many wives does your husband have?

12. How does it feel to wear clothes?

11. Have you ever had Aids?

10. Which tribe do you belong to?

9. So you’re down next to Australia, right?

8. Do you speak African?

7. Did you have a slave in South Africa?

6. But you don’t have a South African accent? (not understanding that there are a lot of different accents)

5. I know that you lived in South Africa but where were you born? You must have been born somewhere else.

4. How did you learn to speak English?

3. Which country in South Africa are you from?

2. Are you black?

1. Why are you white?

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to poke fun at others’ ignorance but is simply a light-hearted take on something we’ve no doubt all experienced. What’s encouraging is that people are curious enough to ask. While it’s tempting to respond with sarcasm (or fiction), giving an honest answer will ultimately help to show what South Africa is really like. Just don’t be a whingeing expat, please!

Have you faced any of these questions before? What’s the most ridiculous question you’ve been asked about South Africa? Let us know below!