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Are we proudly South African?

With Heritage Day around the corner, Ipsos releases poll results revealing that four out of every five South Africans say they are proud to be South African.
As South Africans look forward to celebrating their cultural heritage with "braai" and sunshine over the long weekend, we reflect on some attitudes pertaining to being 'Proudly South African'. In 2012, the majority (80%) of South African citizens state that they are proud to be South African.

These results form part of Ipsos's "Pulse of the People" poll series, conducted between April and May this year with a representative sample of adult South Africans.

While this is a very positive indication, it is worth noting that a similar Ipsos survey conducted in 2007 yielded far more positive results than the current 2012 results. "The sentiment of being 'Proudly South African' has yielded a lower agreement rate at 80% compared to 95% in 2007," comments Mari Harris, Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos. "The last few years have been characterised by a growing discontent with various aspects of the South African economy, service delivery and political uncertainty which could be reasons for the decline in national pride."

It is generally the trend for the younger generation to be more optimistic and patriotic and issues facing the government. However, the results from our 2012 "Pulse of the People" appear to buck the trend as the younger generation demonstrates lower levels of pride than older South Africans do. "As age increases so too does national pride," comments Harris. "78% of those aged between 15-34 years old are proud to be South African, compared to 81% in the 34 - 49 year age group and an even higher 83% in the 50 years + age group. Although these differences are not huge, it has to be seen against the background of higher levels of unemployment amongst young people and the fact that they grew up in a more globalised world."

Analysed along racial lines, Indian South Africans appear to be the most patriotic with 90% stating that they are proud to be South African. The coloured population show the lowest level of national pride with a comparatively lower percentage (77%) proud to be South African. There is no difference between the figures for blacks (80%) and whites (81%) - indicating congruency on this issue between the two biggest population groups in the country.

"There is also little difference in patriotism when looking at the opinions of supporters of the two largest political parties," states Harris "83% of ANC supporters are proud to be South African compared to a very slightly lower 81% of DA supporters."

"However, there is a noticeable difference in patriotism depending on where South Africans live" comments Harris. "Those living in metropolitan areas show higher levels of pride (83%) no doubt due to the more visible aspects of development and superior service delivery in these parts."

Are we proudly South African?

Lastly, in the provincial 'Battle for the Proudest', KwaZulu-Natal comes out tops with 92% of its inhabitants being proudly South African - indicating strong support from president Zuma's heartland. This is followed by Mpumalanga (82%), Gauteng (82%) and the Western Cape (80%).

Are we proudly South African?

Technical aspects
  • Fieldwork was carried out from 13 April to 18 May 2012 by trained and experienced fieldworkers.
  • Face-to-face in-home interviews were conducted with a randomly chosen sample of 3 565 South Africans, 15 years and older, interviewed in the language preferred by the respondent.
  • The results were weighted and projected to the universe (i.e. adult South Africans).
  • Respondents had to indicate whether they strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree or strongly disagree with the statement: "I am proud to be a South African"

Strongly agree53
Neither agree nor disagree13
Strongly Disagree2
Don't know1

About Ipsos
Ipsos is the second largest global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals that assess market potential and interpret market trends for over 5,000 worldwide clients to develop and test emergent or existing products or services, build brands, test advertising and study audience responses to various media, and, measure public opinion on issues and reputation. With over 9,100 employees working in wholly owned operations in 64 countries, Ipsos conducts advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting and a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services in over 100 countries. Founded in 1975 by Jean-Marc Lech and Didier Truchot, Ipsos has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2008, Ipsos' revenues totaled €979.3 million. Listed on Eurolist by NYSE - Euronext Paris, Ipsos is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-100 Index and is eligible to the Deferred Settlement System. Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

27 Sep 2012 10:02