Kid Questions and Answers

South Africa has changed dramatically in the last few years. See what students at Atholl Heights in Durban and Sunridge Primary School in Port Elizabeth had to say about life in the new South Africa. They were interviewed by Scholastic users in 1998.

Customs and Culture

What is the religion that most people follow in your country? The main religions in South Africa are Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.

What is a favorite food that you eat?
We like American food here as well — perhaps burgers and hot dogs. We have a McDonald's near us now — it opened a month ago.


What products does South Africa produce?
South Africa produces lots of different things. We have lovely fruits from the Cape and we mine precious metals like gold.

What do you see when you look out your school's windows?
We see what you possibly would see — houses. Our school is in a suburb, so we basically see people's gardens and roads, etc.

What kinds of pets do you have? Here people mostly have dogs, cats, birds or lizards.
Most children have dogs and cats and birds. Some have fish.

Are you afraid of sharks at the beach, even though you know there are nets to protect you?
Yes, I am afraid of shark attacks, because of recent shark attacks caused by broken nets, and also because the Sharks Board doesn't have enough money to buy new nets.

Have you ever seen a lion or an elephant? If you did, were you scared?
We see elephants and lions in our game reserves. Most children at our school have seen them at one stage or another, but only in reserves.

What do you know about the United States? If you could visit here, where would you like to go?
We know about Disneyland, Hollywood, McDonald's, and the Statue of Liberty. We would like to go to Disneyland, Hollywood, and New York.

History and Government

Which changes are important in your country since Mandela became president?
There are many changes in our country. The crime rate is high, the education cost is high, but our country is a rainbow nation.

What is good and bad about your government?
A difficult question. The government is doing very little to ease the violence and crime here. Many people are needlessly killed on a daily basis.

Is racial discrimination a big problem in South Africa?
There is a problem because some black people don't like white people and some white people don't like black people.

What do the colors in your flag stand for?
The colors in our flag stand for our rainbow nation: the blue for the blue sky, the gold for the gold mines, green for our green grass, black and white and brown for the different people.

School Life

How many kids are there on average in each of your classrooms?
There is an average of 30 pupils in each class.

Sports and Leisure

What sports do you play in South Africa? Here, we mostly play basketball, baseball, and football.
We mostly play rugby, tennis, cricket, and soccer.

We talked to kids in New Zealand last month and they said that they play rugby too. Who is better at rugby, South Africa or New Zealand? Do you ever play each other? Who wins?
South Africa is better. We won the Rugby World Cup final in 1995 against New Zealand. We are world champions. The last Test Series was won by New Zealand. New Zealand is better. South Africa and New Zealand are equal.

What do you do for fun? Here where I live, we go to basketball games and parties.
We like discos and parties. We love shopping at the malls as well as sports such as cricket and rugby. We have also started enjoying basketball.


How hot does it get there?
In South Africa it gets very hot in summer. Sometimes you have to have a swim to cool off. Most houses have pools for people to cool off.

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Were you surprised by any of the answers? Which ones surprised you and why?