Business Culture in South Africa

>> South African Teams

South African Teams

South Africa’s self-style epithet of the Rainbow Nation is accurate and useful to bear in mind.

Although all South Africans share a love of their country, within the one country there are a number of diverse and distinct sub-cultures. All South Africans are acutely aware of the ethnic and racial divisions and these divisions can make it difficult to build teams which cross these boundaries.

People are not just white South African; they are English or Afrikaner. They are not just black South African; they are Zulu or Xhosa. These rivalries cut many ways and are centuries old. It will take a long time for these traditional thought processes to change and they can create serious and unforeseen tensions in the workplace.

Do not just assume that people will automatically work well together because it is in the company interest to do so. Putting teams together and making them work requires a great deal of sensitivity and local knowledge.

Written by Keith Warburton. Latest version updated 23rd March 2017