A postcard from South Africa
With the World Cup taking place in South Africa this year, and having just returned from my holidays in and around Cape Town, I thought I'd fill you in on a few bits and bobs that you might find interesting about the country.
Did you know that as well as English, there are ten other official languages in South Africa? Although English is the country's lingua franca, it is only the fifth most commonly spoken language. In fact, if you are of Dutch descent, you would probably understand much of Afrikaans, a very widely spoken language (especially in the west of the country) which has its roots in 17th century Dutch.
When most people think of South Africa, they probably think of its troubled and often turbulent past, but the South Africa of today is a modern, vibrant society which, despite it's many problems, attracts almost ten million visitors annually. Of course, this trend looks set to continue with the country hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We visited the stadium in Cape Town and it is an amazing building in a fantastic location with the famous Table Mountain as a backdrop. I hope that the tournament is a success, both on and off the field.
We spent most of our time in Cape Town, though we also travelled around the Western Cape from the coast to the desert! Everywhere we went we were given a very warm welcome, had great weather, ate delicious food and visited some amazing places. In other words, the perfect holiday!
- to fill somebody in - (phr. v.) to update sby, or to give them some new information
- bits and bobs - (n. phr.) random assortment of things (informal)
- lingua franca - (n.) a common language used by speakers of different languages (from Latin)
- to be of Dutch descent - (fixed expression) to come from The Netherlands
- turbulent - (adj.) difficult, unsettled, sometimes violent
- annually - (adv.) every year
- backdrop - (n.) the scenery behind something
- warm welcome - (adj. n.) friendly welcome
This post was written by Andy, from The London School of English
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