The Hofstede Model for Cultural Understanding

Result for the Hofstede model aplicated to Colombia and South Africa

With the image above, its possible analyze each dimension of the Hofstede Model:

Power Distance: As you can see, Colombia gets in this indicator 67. This means that Colombians perceive their society with a “natural” inequality and with hierarchy that is difficult to change. Is a fact in their lives. In the case of South Africa, this country gets 49, a little less than Colombia.

Individualism vs Collectivism: According to the results, Colombia gets 13 in this dimension, what places the country as one of the most collectivist in the world, only behind Ecuador, Panama and Guatemala: the Colombia´s people values much the importance of feel part of a group. In the other hand, South Africa gets 65. This means that in this society the considerations about the social progress are concentrate in individuals, noy so much in the groups like the family.

Masculinity vs Femininity: In this dimension, Colombia (64) and South Africa (63) shame the same category: in both countries, the people live for work. Both are competitive societies, but the colombian people are more collectivist than the people of South Africa.

Uncentainty avoidance: Colombia gets 80 in this dimension, which means that this country have many mechanism to prevent the uncentainty. Colombia is a conservative and religious country, and the score in this dimension reflects this fact. In contrast, South Africa gets 49 in this category. South Africa has a low prefence to uncentainty, so it is a more relaxed society than Colombia.

Long term orientation: Both societies are more normative than pragmatic societies. Colombia (13) is a country with a culture that seeks to establish an absolute truth. Is a culture that respect the traditions. Similarly, Colombia is a society that expects to see quick results. In the case of South Africa, the score in this dimension is 34. South Africa shares the same characteristics of Colombia, despite the score.

Indulgence: Both societies demonstrate that both have a culture of indulgence. Colombia (83) is an optimist country, where the people try to do their wishes and their impulses in the enjoyment of their life. South Africa (63) also is an optimist country, but to a lesser extent than Colombia.


Subcultures in South Africa

Like any other country, South Africa also has a many subcultures that demostrate the vast and rich South African culture. I will highlight two of them

Skhothanes or Izikhothane

The Skhothans are (or were, depending on who is asked) a subculture that “boasted” their material possessions, especially in relation to clothing and the consumption of “high-priced” alcohol, despite their financial situation. This subculture was developed in Soweto, near to Johannesburg. The main objective of this subculture was to show the rich people that they – the Skhothans- could also have expensive clothes and drink alcohol from the best brands of the world. The final of this subculture arrived when the media made public many behaviors of the skhothans, such as burn the own skhothans clothes in many neighborhoods of Soweto and Johannesburg, what connected this group with violence, crime and burning, according to Vice.

The comsuption of “high price alcohol” is one of the many desmostrations of the
Izikhothane persons


The popular rap group Die AntWoord

The subculture “Zef” try to do a social critics for the actitude of many people of the upper class and the middle class that have a bad perception of many white working class people in South Africa, especially in the zone of Cape Town. The world fame of this subculture began when the video Enter the Ninja, of the rap group Die Antwoord, went viral in 2009. The name “Zef” comes from the name of a car widely used in South Africa in the sixties: the Ford Zephyr. This car was used by many people of the white working class (also known as “white trash”) in Cape. Despite having a pejorative origin, today the word “zef” is a source of pride for many people.

South Africa and the Lewis Model

For me (and for many specialists), South Africa´s culture and society are a multi-active in the Lewis Model, in general terms. For many south african people, express their feelings is natural. For South African people, talk, sing and dance is special because this help to keep their traditions alive. They are people who like to talk much in their daily life. Also, they are very relaxed with the time and the meetings. But there is an exeption in South Africa culture´s: the dutch people. The afrikaneers/boers (descendants of dutch people), present since the 17th century, follow the pattern of the Linear active in the Lewis Model, like many cultures in the north of Europe.

I don´t think that, in principle, there should be problems between both cultures, because both cultures follow the same pattern in the Lewis Model. Maybe the afrikaneers can be have some problems, specially in the good use of time or the respect of time for many citizens of Barranquilla. But I don´t think that this prevents a good cultural integration for foreigners in our culture and our society.

Gender roles in South Africa and Colombia: a short comparison

In many ways, the gender roles in South Africa and Colombia are similar. The position of power of man is determiant for the configuration of the social relationships, to get a job in the labour market, gender violence or have visibility in certain public offices, like the presence of the women in the Parliament or in the Governement. But there are many differences. In many ways, Colombia is a “modern” country (western expression), like the secularism is essencial in the relation between the State, several churches and the society, specially some like the young people or women. This secularism has made that women adopt different practices in their daily life, no necesarilly stay in house and take care the children like in the past. For example, Woman can use contraceptive methods without much prejudice as in South Africa. But despite the advances and progress, Colombia is a conservative and traditional country. In theory, in South Africa the situation is the same, but the role of the tribes is key to understand the gender roles in this country. Also, the presence of dutch and britain people makes that there are different types of roles, according to the race and the economic income, and the legate of Apartheid is important yet to understand the gender roles, which in many cases are more similar to other african countries than american countries, such as Colombia.

My Stereotypes about South Africa

For me, South Africa always has been an unknown: like a latin American person, South Africa is very strange and distant for my culture or my language. Is the “other” for many latin American and European people. About the drawing, I had many stereotypes on South Africa: for me, the inequality is one of the most important problems of this country. Not only the economic inequality, but also from a racial point of view. The history of the Apartheid is one of the more representative’s images for many westerners about South Africa. This racial inequality is relational with the life conditions of   many people in South Africa: the black and native people are poor, they have more kids and live in ghettos. In the other hand, the white and European (British and Dutch) people are part of the middle class and the upper class. The white people has better hospitals, schools, parks or streets than the black people, althought they are the majority of the population.

Who am I?


I’m Alejandro Porras. I study Economics at the Universidad del Norte. I’m a person who like so much read, specially about history or politics. For this reason, I’m going to do this blog to investigate more about Nelson Mandela’s country: South Africa.

I’m going to analize several aspects about South Africa’s culture: their languages, their food, their religions, the way of life or the different people who live in the country or the relationship of this country with other african countries.

I hope that you enjoy with my post!