Master the Art of Dating or: ” LOVE: THE 12TH LANGUAGE IN SOUTH AFRICA”

“I know I can make it on my own if I try, but I’m searching for a great heart to stand me by, underneath the African sky, a great heart to stand me by,” sings famous South African musician Johnny Clegg.

In South Africa where population speaks 11 languages, the language of love is the most popular one. In a country where no major natural disasters, earthquakes, tornados and tsunami’s occur, the oldest disaster known to humankind, the state of not loving and not being loved, is still perilous for the Rainbow Nation. The Rainbow Nation, which based on the 2017 mid-year population estimates by Statistics South Africa comprises 28.9 million women (51%) and 27.6 million men (49%), experiences a number of dating challenges.

Common traditional and modern challenges include interracial bias, social stigma of one-night stands, potential dangers of online dating sites, trustworthiness and reliability of matchmaking agencies, intolerance of gay and lesbian couples, age-related barriers, and more..


Does your screen still reveal gorgeous Charlize Theron from Gauteng making November of millions of people over the world sweet?

Does your mature and hopelessly romantic heart crave for dating and meeting the right South African men and/or women to make your 12 months shweeter?

Do you simply look for a woman and/or man sharing your short-term relationship goals with no strings attached attitude?

Are you a LGBT South African both struggling for your sexual orientation or gender identity and suffering from the scarcity of proper online and offline dating platforms?


Are you a protagonist of a classic chocolate-vanilla romance looking for someone special to be the hero or heroine of your interracial love story?

Or maybe you’re just an observer of dating culture in South Africa interested in current dating trends, patterns and possibilities?

Well, if you belong to one these categories, it’s time to cut back on question marks and proceed with the article! We’ll help you reduce the dating stress by presenting the present situation of modern dating, provide with necessary information and tips that will help you orient better in the modern dating environment and adopt more effective strategies to attract your significant other.


From Ballroom Courtship to Screen Romance

Since the launch of the Internet, relationships and dating habits have undergone radical changes. There are more than one billion Internet users around the world, with more than five million people in South Africa (Christopherson, in press; Internet world stats, 2006).

Though the contemporary digital era offers so many dating options to singles, many people still struggle to find love. One of the reasons that contribute to the typical singlehood might be natural air of confusion. People are baffled about a wide variety of choices ranging from old-fashioned style of meeting someone with help of friends to modern online dating tools, such as internet dating, dating sites and apps and Facebook dating. With modern pros of apparently easy dating possibilities, the latter is full of specific dangers and scams.

The popularity of online dating relationships is increasing in South Africa. Numerous dating sites form a huge crowded digital marketplace in which the interaction with hundreds of users becomes a really exhausting and tedious process.


Where do South Africans Find Love?

Recent studies show that South Africans succeed in finding love and dating mostly through Social media, Facebook, Twitter, mobile app, or traditional online dating site. Marketing firm Jana  involved 1,500 18 to 30-year-old participants from nine countries, including South Africa, to find out their online dating habits. Based on the study results, 58% of South Africans use Facebook and 17% use Match. Twitter was the third option, constituting 14% among South Africans. Based on Jana findings, roughly 50% of South Africans also reported that they have met someone online. As to online matchmaking service in South Africa, DatingBuzz is considered the most popular followed by MSN Match ( (Thomas, 2004).

Every successful modern digital meeting leads to traditional dating. Online relationships are a mixed mode relationships, which means that they may improve and migrate to the realm of face-to-face communication (Ellison et al., 2006).

Many South Africans feel more confident and secure initially using online dating services as they avoid face-to-face rejection common to culturally, racially and ethnically diverse environment. There are even clubs, organizations and blogs arming South African men with dating tips to help them alleviate the stress of approaching women. Pick-Up Artist South Africa (PUA SA) instructors who help men win a girl at least for one night, share tips for dating South African women.


We call this the ‘inner game’, looking at why there might be a fear of rejection, what rejection is, how you feel about yourself. It’s important to know your ‘inner game’ before learning your ‘outer game’, which is about bringing out your strengths and concealing weaknesses,” says Peimer.


Most South African men are conservative in their style of dating and courtship. Meeting someone online and developing interest, they prefer immediate interpersonal face-to-face interaction over forms of ongoing impersonal online communication. Maria Montgomery, who has lived in Sweden, France, America, Canada and England, and currently resides in South Africa, tells about dating differences. “Most South African guys tend to pay the bill for a woman. South Africa is a bit more European than, well, America though, so it really depends,” says Montgomery in her article Dating South African Men

The places fertile of dating opportunities range from South African bars, nightclubs, and discotheques to groceries, exhibition halls, and the gym based on your personality traits and relationship goals.

If you’re an intellectually curious person, there is a high chance to meet your ideal partner in libraries and bookstores. Searching a gripping book and exploring the person whose fingers are simultaneously running across book covers will not be a challenge. This scenario seems to have only advantages, including the possibility to have almost a ready topic to discuss while leaving the library for a cup of good coffee. Hogsback Library in an Eastern Cape small mountain village is a great spot, and is believed to be the smallest library in the world. National Library of South Africa, Main Library in Port Elizabeth, CL Marais Library erected on Stellenbosch University’s campus are the most popular libraries in South Africa that unite singles sharing thirst for knowledge.

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The Power of Demographics

While we agree with an African-American singer Chris Hart that all the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of a smile, we can use some data to explore the areas in South Africa with a higher percentage of singles. Based on The Statistics South Africa, the higher concentrations of unmarried women are in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and Cape Town , such as Meredale, Cottesloe, Melrose, Robin Hills and Rossmore, Bosonia, Bellville West, Springbokpark, and Mouille Point. As to unmarried men, they can be found in Droste Park, George Goch, Denver, Riverbend AH, Harbour Island, Weltevreden Valley North and Bellville Central.

The grocery stores in these areas will no doubt be teemed with beautiful South African singles. The grocery store is a more challenging place than a library, where the purpose of talking and interest is obvious. However, if you have an observational eye and a good imagination, you can turn this challenging place into a perfect spot for your romantic encounter.

The combination of a number of smart gestures and actions at the right may lead to a pleasant conversation and even the first date! Selecting the same product from the shelf, asking for advice, “unintentionally” dropping an item, asking for help to take something from the top aisles, showing that you have similar tests and follow the same diets will bring you closer!


Internet Dating: Finding your “Mating Market”

Online communication has proven to be enjoyable due to accessible visual cues, close relationship formation, interpersonal nature, the experience and expression of emotions and rich meaning (Ben-Ze’ev, 2004). There are online dating sites for all categories of singles looking for love: students, seniors, LGBTs, and people of the same culture and lifestyle. Matching personalities, gender, age, profession, levels of education and other variables are considered in any high-quality online dating sites.

There are even dating sites uniting individuals with the quirks, uncommon habits and unique preferences. Matching algorithms are improving day by day. So probably there are dating sites specifically for people who hate the number 4. If you sneeze with your eyes open, it will not take a long time to find such filter in dating site that shows only profiles of people with the same habit. Or wait, is there already such an option?


Beware of Fraudsters!

Many singles meet online and form strong romantic bond. Unfortunately, some are destined to experience financial and emotional damage, such as misrepresentation, catfishing, lousy matching, objectification and projection due to unsuccessful online encounters. Victims of online dating usually express more regret about emotional attachment rather than financial loss.

The scammers usually state that they are looking for a permanent relationship, not a short-term fling and try to build an emotional bond.
Many online dating scammers are sentenced in South Africa. One particular case is about a Nigerian man, arrested in Cape Town who pretended to be a student and used an online dating site to scam women out of more than R1.2m.

“My total loss was R120 000, where he said he was robbed and required the funds to release the container. After that there was no more contact from his side,” says 55-year-old Alberton au pair.

This time the platform was not an online dating site, but Facebook. During seven months of online communication, a South African man claimed to be an artist from London with two kids, who is going to have exhibition in Cape Town. The woman, however, states that the greatest loss was not money, but the emotional connection as they used to pray together every day.

Online dating sites have taken South Africa by storm. You may recognize the good online dating site by a number of members, easy interface, the membership plans, and a decent male to female ratio.

Here are the best online dating sites in South Africa!
AfroIntroductions has been running since 2002. 15 years of matchmaking history has made AfroIntroductions a great platform with extremely friendly user experience and pairing goals for over 2.5 million members looking for companionship. AfroIntroductions is a part of the popular Cupid Media network comprising over 30 dating sites in USA, UK, Germany, France and African countries such as Kenya, Cameroon, South Africa Nigeria, Ghana, Madagascar and Cote d’Ivoire. The active members of AfroIntroductions community can fully customize their profiles including privacy and notification settings. The female members are usually asked to prove their identity. The cons of the AfroIntroductions include standard layout, which means it is not customized to its audience as some other ethnic sites. Users also complain that the membership plans are too expensive without the bonuses.
The 98.3% of the Datingbuzz users are South Africans with approximately 564260 visitors monthly. The website has a range of features allowing free account holders to communicate. Being a classic online dating website, Datingbuzz enables to create a profile with a username, upload images, state a number of details about your personality and lifestyle and your preferences in the opposite sex. Though service is generally free, search refinement options require between R100 and R180 per month.
Premium membership allows to find out the views of your profile, see who is online, use anonymous email box and share images with people you talk. Due to its popularity, the website, unfortunately, attracts many scammers.
Single2Meet is considered one of the most trustworthy dating sites. It is the one of the rare online dating sites that is 100% free and has no hidden costs, as well as one of the few dating services created by South Africans. Unique features include sending anonymous email to other members. Disadvantage is that the users cannot mention external contact information in their profiles, such as URLs, email addresses, telephone numbers, street addresses and even last names!
Like, is a 100% free dating system having about 20,000 to 25,000 members. While you can upload pictures, video uploads are impossible. One of the disadvantages of the website is the lack of matching questions that can ease the process of finding someone similar. However, this might not be a problem, considering that online meeting process will be more interesting if you meet someone having other personality traits and hobbies. After all, opposites attract! Unfortunately, does not have an instant messaging service, and you’ll have to check the Inbox to find the letters. Fortunately, you can get e-mail notifications!

EliteSingles is one of the leading global dating sites, earning the trust of over 13 million singles and creating 2000 new couples each month worldwide. EliteSingles is the most detailed online matching system that uses a questionnaire comprising 29 personality traits. The user profiles are comprehensive profiles and similarities are highlighted in order to help people with similar interests and character traits find each other. Privacy, filtering, and verification settings are highly developed reducing the possibility of scamming. One of the cons is the signup process which is relatively complicated and takes more time than signing up in other standard dating sites.

The other disadvantage is as unique as the advantages –the website does not have a search option. And finally, you’ll have to pay in order to have access to most unique options offered by EliteSingles.


What about Matchmaking Services?

Nowadays South African online dating sites and apps are more popular than matchmaking agencies due to specific reasons. Physical meeting with the matchmaking agents to answer to a number of personal questions certainly takes more time than browsing a page online and defining filters. There are also follow-up meetings with a matchmaker after a date with a match to tell them about the success of the date. To ensure you won’t waste time on future dates, you should be specific about your likes and dislikes; and the matchmaker must have good insight into human psyche to understand your preferences.

Another key factor making South African online dating sites and apps more comfortable is the cost. Matchmaking agencies usually require more finances in exchange for a perfect man and/or woman. Many South African high-quality online dating services have premium membership plans and aren’t cheap options; requires R100 and R180 per month, and Premium costs R249 per month for 3 months, R169 per month for 6 months, or R129 per month for a 1 year subscription. However, with above mentioned prices, they are still more pocket-friendly options than matchmaking agencies with equal quality.

The selection of potential mates is wider while using online dating sites and apps used by millions of people around the world. Moreover, high-quality and prestigious matchmaking services also have strict filters, designed criteria and defined rules that leads to even more limited options.

Certainly, matchmaking agencies have specific advantages and may be preferred to online dating sites and apps. Matchmaking agencies have higher standards and quality control. You meet match who has already been selected by another person, making them a more reliable option for you. While using online dating sites and apps, you have more freedom in your preferences and can spontaneously ask something to find out similarities and differences, matchmaking agencies are less risky.


Cupid’s Arrow across the Color Line

Keeping it Short and Sweet, Senior Dating, Struggles of LGBT Romances and Other Challenges of South Africa Dating Culture


In the 21st century post-apartheid South Africa, “interracial” dating is still a challenge, but love is not black and white! Suzanne Leclerc and Protas Madlala are known to be the first interracial married couple in South Africa, informs Los Angeles Times.



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Although the rate of mixed-race marriages and relationships is rising in South Africa, and many White Afrikaner families have mixed racial ancestry (Jacobson et al., 2004), interracial couples still have to struggle with scrutiny, discrimination and disapproval. Some parts of the country are multicultural and tolerant, while others will not feel shame to voice their racist views. Johannesburg, for example, is said to have more interracial couples, while Cape Town is not so open to interracial intimacy.

“We’ve been lucky and I think Joburg is much more multicultural than other parts of the country –- we are more cautious when we are in Pretoria, for example, and Cape Town is still very white so we are aware of being in an interracial relationship when we are elsewhere,”

says Pippa Tshabalala, a white woman married to her black husband Sekwa Tshabalala in The Huffington Post South Africa’s interview




The data from the South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) shows attitudes towards inter-racial marriage, 2003-2015 (Wilkinson, 2017).
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Many studies have found that even if interviewees and participants want to represent themselves in a positive and favorable light of racial and cultural tolerance and open-mindedness, they are quite biased. Fortunately, interracial online dating websites are growing, and Cupid’s arrow won’t hesitate to cross the color line!

The University of Liverpool have found that men with facial scars are more attractive to women seeking short-term relationships. No, we do not suggest that if you lack a scar, then you will not achieve your goal of short-term dating. Finding a woman with the same relationship goal might be easier in the right place at the right time! A number of apps help to find mates for short-term relationships, open relationships, hookups, casual sex, sexting and simply friends with benefits. Finding a woman sharing a short term relationship goals might not be that difficult for South Africans that has been found to be the top sexting nation in the world by the researchers at the Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute and the Berlin-based women’s health start-up, Clue.

“It is totally not surprising we’re on top of the world. I think it is because we don’t have a foundation of sexual education. We’re really uncomfortable talking face-to-face, so it becomes easier to do it online,” says Dr Wasserman

How to find Short Term Relationships?

iHookup and NSAdatingsite,  are highly recommended for no strings attached type relationships.

For the modern purpose of short term relationships, we encourage the old-fashioned style of offline meeting in specific places, such as bars, clubs and the gym in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and other large cities. According to Psychology Today , bars, clubs and restaurants are perfect places where women are more approachable, and don’t mind engaging in short-term relationships. Alcoholic drinks, loud music, dance and crowds engaged in small talk and focused on fun usually don’t promote serious relationships. During night life, such places are full South African beauties who like to get noticed, actively flirt, don’t shy away from sexual touching, reply positively to aggressive pick-up attempts, and are direct in their intentions of short-term relationships.

Dating isn’t the mere interest of the young restless people; later in life, mature individuals find themselves back in this passionate, yet sensible game. Getting old does not mean a person ceases to want to hold hands, dance and love.

Hopefully, digital society addresses the needs of South African seniors, making them one of the fastest growing sectors of online daters.


Senior Dating Websites

Sadly, surveys show that seniors are vulnerable and at higher risk of being scammed. According to the Guardian,  the single women aged 45-65 looking for a long-term relationship and trusting, sympathetic and receptive to sob stories are most likely to be victims of a romance scam. That furthers the need of trustworthy dating sites for mature people.

Mature Free And Single  is one of the most popular dating & friendship services for South African singles over the age of 40.
Interestingly, the online dating website was created by Paula and Tim Taylor, a couple, a husband-and-wife team who met online themselves.

We Love Dates  is specifically designed for the over 50s. with 4.1 million monthly visits, and  13.5 million monthly visits are another great online dating websites for seniors looking for love and friendship.

The most optimal way of traditional dating for South African seniors is travel. University of Arkansas’ geriatrician and author Dr. David Lipschitz told “The Dallas Morning News,” that two things contribute to senior individuals’ longevity: travel and intimacy.

South African seniors may consider the best tour agencies offering special tours for seniors. Traveltime offers “Over 50’s Tours” fitting into the range of 1 to 11 days throughout South Africa and Namibia.

Odyssey Traveller offers South Africa small group senior travel tour packages for mature travellers over 50, over 60, or over 70. Travelling may be an amazing opportunity to meet the special someone while sharing a journey!


Gay Dating

Photo credit: , Mario Tomar


Cape Town, one of the gay capitals of the world has inspired many LGBT artists, including Elton John to write one of his masterpieces – “Under African Skies!”

Unfortunately, many South African lesbians and gays are still cold-shouldered by their families, relatives, friends and colleagues due to their sexual orientation and society’s conservative views and intolerant attitude.

“My name is Terra, and I was born in Cape Town on 21st April 1989. I got kicked out of the house when I was 16 years old because I’m a lesbian. Up until then, I lived a secret lesbian life and living a lie is very difficult; you have to come out and be yourself,” says one of Julia Gunther‘s photographic subjects, who was interviewed by Huffington Post

While the LGBT relationships are not encouraged and accepted in South Africa, there are communities, clubs, companies and dating agencies, websites and apps supporting the homosexual romance.

Several South African LGBT travel clubs provide lesbians and gays with the perfect opportunity to meet. Gay Travel  offers luxury tours to Cape Town and Johannesburg and visits to several game lodges that cost $3195.00 per person.

Rhino Africa travel agency, which CEO David Ryan was appointed as the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) Ambassador to South Africa, offers numerous amazing tours for gays and lesbians.

Gays are recommended to meet during South African LGBT-oriented festivals and events. MCQP (Mother City Queer Project), Africa’s biggest gay circuit annual costume party is popular among heterosexual people as well. Cape Town Pride, a 10-day festival celebrated in late February unites hundreds of gays who want to take part in the Pride Parade.
South African gays and lesbians who share passion for cinema and art can meet through “Out in Africa,” one of the most popular gay and lesbian film festivals.

The best online dating service for South African LGBT community is due to its high-quality and scam prevention system.


As you see, South African dating culture has its pros and cons like dating in any other countries – seniors, LGBT community and interracial couples still struggle against social bias and unfavorable circumstances to find the love they deserve. Both traditional and online dating may lead to a fairy-tale-like romance and successful marriage if the singles behave wisely in dating encounters. Of course, it is not easy to be vigilant while there is a vital need to love and be loved. This was known in ancient Rome who acknowledged with famous “Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur,” meaning “

Even a god finds it hard to love and be wise at the same time.” However, following the simple recommendations presented in the article, making wise choice between dating agencies and online dating services, considering the reliable online dating sites, observing the current challenges, carefully exploring the psychology and behavior of a stranger who you exchange regular “Hello”s will definitely save you much heartache, time, finances and energy.



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Ellison, N., Heino, R., & Gibbs, J. (2006). Managing impressions online: Self-presentation

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Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 35(3), 443-459.

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University of Liverpool. "Men With Facial Scars Are More Attractive To Women Seeking Short-term Relationships." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2008. <>.

Wilkinson, A. 2017. Loving v. Virginia was decided 50 years ago, VOX, 17 June 2017. Online: