Basic Facts – South Africa

Everything you need to know about health, romance, women’s rights and safety in Grahamstown, South Africa.


Health

Feminine Hygienic Products

Moon cups are becoming increasingly popular as a part of the recent menstrual activism. Pads and tampons are very expensive and tampons do not come with applicators. The drugstore, Clicks, or Checkers all have items.

Birth Control

I lived on my university’s campus, so I would visit the sanitarium (doctor’s office) and under student health insurance that was required through my study abroad office, it was free. For other females, I know they could pay for birth control pills for $15 USD. Free condoms were ubiquitous around my campus, but could be easily purchased at drugstores or grocery stores.

Gynecologists

Did not see anyone while I was there but friends told me it was not very different from the States.


Romance

Dating Locals

Inter-racial dating is still not very prevalent. Be cautious of very forward guys–they move a lot faster than in the States. I would meet guys who would ask me to be their girlfriend after one date.

Types of Men

There were many rugby guys, as well as guys who were hard partiers, very studious, or just fun to chill with. It was very easy to discern the types of guys.

Gay-friendly?

Yes, very open in Grahmstown.


Women's Rights

Women’s Rights

Women’s Day is becoming a very celebrated holiday in South Africa. It is a national holiday, so school and lots of places were closed. The country is moving towards becoming a nation of equality, while moving from a place filled with suppression.

Local Women

Gender-normativity is hard to break in South Africa. This is clear from the expressions you might get when wearing pants around town on the weekend when all the local women are dressed in pants or skirts.

Perception of American Women

Local men really liked American accents, and men would not express any interest in me until I spoke. Just be cautious because it does get you a lot of attention–wanted or not.


Safety

Transportation

Do not take the bus. Public transportation is not really available, so travel with others using taxi cars or vans. Hitch-hiking is very prevalent.

Shady Areas for Women

Some clubs–be cautious of areas that men want to take you.

Clothing

Nothing is really off limits and you can find anything you’d find in the US in South Africa. Just be careful with cultural appropriation if you are wearing something that is representative of someone else’s culture. Be informed.

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