An investigation into cultural barriers in intercultural communication between Blacks and Indians at Durban Institute of Technology
This study investigates language varieties, non-verbal behaviour and language
attitudes as cultural barriers which inhibit successful communication between
Blacks and Indians at Durban Institute of Technology. The investigation reveals
that Indians and Blacks often misunderstand each other. Sometimes these
groups feel misunderstood because they use different varieties of English. To
compensate for these differences, participants use non-verbal strategies.
However, non-verbal behaviour is culturally determined and people tend to
transfer it to intercultural situations. One finds that this transfer leads to
miscommunication and negative stereotypes. Furthermore, non verbal behaviour
which does not meet the politeness criteria leads to negative attitudes and
strained relations amongst peers and supervisors. The study suggests these
solutions: the introduction of intercultural awareness campaigns for all
employees and Zulu conversational skills for all Indians. For the whole South
African community, the spirit of ubuntu should be cultivated between all racial
groups to foster mutual respect.