Anyone that has had the privilege of experiencing South Africa for themselves will tell you just how diverse and beautifully vibrant the country is. Seated at the very south of the African continent, kissing the Indian ocean from its central to east shores, and the icy Atlantic towards the west, where it meets the great Kalahari dunes – South Africa is home to eleven official languages, an intricate but balanced and inclusive mix of culture and modernity, breathtaking landscape, and a people that moves like no other. It is considered the cradle of humankind due to history-bending archeological finds housed at the treasured site, the Sterkfontein caves. South Africa stands firmly as Africa’s economic driving force, investment hub, infrastructure champion, and has a booming tech industry.
Despite widespread industrialization, South Africa, like many African countries, is continuously at work to protect its people’s unique and widely observed traditional norms, and it’s essential for anyone looking to do business in South Africa to be wary of this to create lasting and lucrative relationships, across verticals.
In this blog, we look at the South African corporate gifting culture and highlight ways that you can wow your clients, staff, and prospects by sending corporate gifts without seeming too culture-focused, generic, or out of touch.
Some Popular Traditions in South Africa
South Africans are big on traditions that transcend ethnicity and will share these with anyone that shows a tad bit of interest. Instead of normal barbeques, they host what’s known as “braais”, and will happily partake in any feasts that include two of their widely loved delicacies, “chakalaka” – a vegetable and baked bean mixture with eye-reddening notes of chili and pepper, and “pap” – a maize-made porridge-like dish. Soccer games? Braai day. Rugby leagues? Braai day. Cricket tournaments? Braai day! Basically, any occasion calls for a braai day.
Additionally, “Southies”, as fondly referred to by Nigerians, will have milk tart, a creamy pudding both as dessert and a snack, and will offer biltong to anyone with jaws strong enough to handle all the chewing.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Sending Corporate Gifts to South Africa
While proudly and loudly traditional, South Africans are a generally pleasant bunch with a creative outlook and eagerness to explore outside their backyard, so there aren’t too many rules to follow when gifting, both in business and personally.
There are, however, a few things to consider when initiating your corporate gifting campaigns to ensure success. Let’s look at a few.
DO add elements of language and culture to your gift (for example, personalized messages written in your recipients’ first languages). This is guaranteed to strengthen the relationship and create a healthy sense of familiarity.
DO offer cross-regional gifts representative of cultures outside of South Africa. This is considered a fond form of cultural exchange and will leave a lasting impression on your recipients.
DO offer symbolic gifts. South Africans are open to new experiences and will appreciate any gift type, especially ones that show how much thought was put into them.
DO offer gifts with company logos on them, but be tactical about it. While adding a logo to your gifts might seem logical to increase brand awareness, you need to keep in mind that some gifts are meant to be about the recipient and that adding logos might take away from this sentiment. Offer branded gifts if the occasion warrants such, but opt for personalized gifts instead, whenever possible.
DON’T offer gifts that are too pricey, personal, or suggestive. Gifts create a sense of obligation, so make sure your recipient can reciprocate without breaking the bank.
DON’T offer gifts with religious or political connotations. Be as neutral as possible in your gift choices.
Make Use of South African Public Holidays for Tactical Gifting
1 January – New Year’s Day
21 March – Human Rights Day
15 April – Good Friday
18 April – Family Day
27 April – Freedom Day
1 May – Workers’ Day
2 May – Workers’ Day Holiday
16 June – Youth Day
9 August – National Women’s Day
24 September – Heritage Day
16 December – Day of Reconciliation
25 December – Christmas Day
26 December – Day of Goodwill
Why Use a Corporate Gifting Platform To Send Gifts to South Africa?
When launching your campaigns to South Africa through the Giftsenda corporate gifting platform, guesswork is eliminated from the process, and you can be sure that culturally inappropriate gifts will not make it into your cart. This is because:
- The Giftsenda team has 20 years of international gift delivery experience and a deep understanding of the gifting cultures, norms, and traditions of every region we service.
- Gift items are sourced locally in South Africa. This way, items align with cultural preferences and adhere to general gifting etiquette rules.
- With our automated gifting tools, recipients have the option to choose from a variety of gift items available in our Gift Catalog and this eliminates chances of inappropriate or offensive gift item selections.
Ready to get started with corporate gifting campaigns to South Africa or on a global scale? Book a 30-minute demo with one of our Gift Campaign Managers to see how our gifting platform works and to get access to a free trial.