What culture shock did you experience when you visited South Africa?
I have been in South Africa for almost one month and there have indeed been some cultural shocks for me.
- Banks are robbers. I registered an FNB account for receiving my monthly salary here and the monthly fees are 385 rands. The counter staff established the account for me without telling me any information of fees policy. She could have offered me another type of card with lower monthly fees, like 55 Rands, which is also non-sense to me. And any bank even charges you when depositing cash through ATM. That is almost the most ridiculous thing that I have experienced with banks. They are robbers and I can't understand how South African residents are able to stand living with them and being exploited of their hard-earned money.
I spent a couple of weeks as a tourist in South Africa last December (2015). The biggest shock, especially in Johannesburg, was the obsession with security. The second shock, even for someone coming from the US, was the massive urban sprawl of Johannesburg. The combination of the two meant you had to plan your evenings very carefully. There was one evening where I stayed out late in Sandton, while staying in Rhodesfield. It wound up being too late to catch the Gautrain back (it stops running relatively early), and I wound up booking a hotel in Sandton rather than sorting out transportation back to Rhodesfield.
Cape Town wasn't quite as bad, but you still need to be on your toes there. On the short walk from the train station to the taxi rank, someone managed to slit the top of my backpack and steal my burner phone. I told the taxi driver what had happened when I realized it, he said he probably knew who was the pickpocket, so I offered him a bounty for the phone. He brought it to my AirBnB the next morning.
I am sharing link of my answer which talks about my experience and mild cultural shock I had when I had visited Jo'burg, SA.
Apartheid. I visited South Africa way back in 1967, when apartheid was thriving as the law of the land. This was REALLY a culture shock. Like the post office having separate counters "Posseels blankes" (Stamps for whites) and "Posseels nie-blankes" (Stamps for non-whites) plus... there were four or five of the first, and only one of the last - this one having a long queue while the "blankes" were served very quickly. It's changed now... but even after half a century I still (far too) vividly remember the abject inhumanity and pure, undiluted idiocy of the system.
I'm not sure if this counts since I am South African. I spent a significant amount of years living overseas, and each time coming back to South Africa, I'm saddened to see the level of service delivery. Generally, South Africans are very friendly, warm and generous people. However, I find that in places like post offices, government departments (home affairs and traffic) and supermarkets, people often don't greet or smile. This is a small thing and probably doesn't count as a culture shock, but I find it unfortunate.