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Africa Travel Association in South Africa

Indaba 2003 is in Durban, South Africa, May 3 to 6. If you are an agent, interested in selling more African destination travel , make sure your calendar is circled. Many positive things have been happening in South Africa these days that have made our job even more enjoyable. The big news is that there are now three thriving ATA Chapters, with highly capable professionals at the helm. We will interview the South African Chapter Presidents soon and feature them in Africa Travel Magazine's Congress Edition.

Photo (right ) is of Rube Khan, President of ATA East Cape Chapter. Her company, Cape Doctor Health and Tours, a highly specialized tour operation, is based in Cape Town.

Photo (below) is of the ATA South Africa Chapter representatives who attended the Africa Travel Association (ATA) 6th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium in Fes, December, 2002.

On the left are Mira Berman, ATA Executive Director, New York, NY, USA and Benachir Akli of ATA Morocco Chapter. Watch this page for happenings at all three South Africa Chapters of ATA and of even more launches in future.






Background on South Africa

Culture. South Africa's greatest treasure is the cultural diversity of its people. The contrasting influences of the African, European and Asian heritages create a mosaic of influences throughout the arts, crafts, dance, music, food and sports of South Africa. There are many indigenous people who have lived in South Africa for thousands of years. Three quarters of South Africa's 49 million people are Blacks whose ancestors ñ many of them farmers and herders ñ began arriving from Central Africa some 1,500 years ago.

Most fall into two major ethnic groups: the Nguni, which consist of Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi peoples, and the Sotho, which includes the Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho or Basotho and Venda peoples. Blacks often speak several languages, including that of their own ethnic group and English. Many Blacks reside in cities and townships living a more modern western lifestyle, while rural dwellers often wear unique costumes and maintain their ancestors traditions and customs. In addition ceremonies play a very important part in the lives of Black South Africans.

The European influence of South Africa is primarily rooted in the Afrikaners, who were descendants of Dutch settlers. They developed their own language 'Afrikaans' which is based on Dutch, but also has Malay, French, German and Black influences. About 6 million people, or roughly 15% of South Africa's population are of European descent. The British and Germans also played an important part in the country's development. The Coloureds, a mixed-race people, are descendants of Europeans, Blacks and former slaves from Dutch colonies in Africa and Indonesia. Indians came to South Africa initially as indentured servants and today make up the largest community of Indians outside of India.

South Africa's cuisine influenced by many different cultures, combines tasty African traditions with spices and cooking techniques from around the world. All of South Africa's cuisine is built around the country's abundant supply of fresh seafood, meats, vegetables and fruits. It also harvests its own internationally celebrated wines. Festivals are one of the best ways to experience the local cultures of South Africa.