Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jan 13, 2010 in Sport, Voted | 2 comments

2010 Training. Lesson #1 – Tipping

I have decided to do a series of off-the-cuff lessons for the unsuspecting tourists coming to our fantastic country during that World Cup thingy later this year.

Lesson #1: Tipping.

Now good service is not the first thing we South Africans expect from our “service” industry, sad hey? But when we do get it we tend to forget to show our appreciation. This is may be because our “standard” tipping rate of 10% is too high. We should rather give say 5% for average, and 10% for good service.

This is all good and well in a rest-your-aunt environment but what about the guy carrying your bags, or the driver of your shuttle, the maid cleaning your room, the author of your favourite blog site?

This is where knowledge of that persons’ cost of living will come in handy. So here is a general income vs. cost of living breakdown on a couple of employment levels in South Africa.

Driver. He/she would earn approx R3,500 – R5,500 per month depending on the type of vehicle, bla, blabla! Now considering it costs them approximately R10 per leg of a journey to work and back; a pair of nice shoes costs up to R500; school fees for a “township” child around R1,300 per year; a months rent on a “township” room R350 – R500 per month. So a R10 tip  means a “free” days travel for them; a R100 tip means groceries; and a R500 tip means he takes the whole neighbourhood out for a beer!

Cleaning lady. She would earn from R2,000 – R3,500 depending on the establishment. With the same living expenses as a driver the tip is therefore a much higher percentage of her earnings.

So now convert R3,500 into foreign currency and you have $470, £280 pound or €320. How far does that get you? Considering our LARGEST bank note is a R200, (in the US it is a $100 bill,  in Europe it’s the €500 note) the “purchase value” of our money is reasonably high.

So at the end of our first lesson, I hope you understand the “value” of our Rand better. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.

I will cover other aspects of the Rand and its’ buying power in later posts.


  1. Hell, I’m confused. Exactly how much should I be tipping folks? Like in simple rands and cents, without the excercise in economics 101?

    I’m just a simple football fan. So simplify this for me. Please.

    • As much as you wanna, but only tip GOOD service and tell them that! I would say between R20-R50 for "general" service, waiters expect up to 10% of the bill, remember though most of the bill is gonna be on drinks so I generally tip 5% on the booze part and 10% on the food part, if the beer was cold and the food was good.

Share your thoughts?