São Tomé / Príncipe: code of ethics

On São Tomé and Príncipe, the people are in general very friendly and relaxed, but manners and etiquette are important to them.

Amongst the inhabitants of São Tomé and Príncipe, greeting a person and inquiring about his or her health and family is essential in social encounters. Recognizing and paying deference to the status of a person is important. Older men and women tend to be treated with great respect, particularly if they have many children and grandchildren. Entry into a person’s home or garden is a privilege, and acquaintances often converse in the road or across a garden hedge rather than enter a house or yard.

However, as a visitor on the island, the people of São Tomé and Príncipe are unlikely to be offended if you do not approach them in this manner. If you speak a bit of Portuguese, it will be appreciated and enhance the experience, but even with hands and feet, you will be able to have a great time. One thing that is always good to say is: ‘muito lindo’ (‘very nice’) when they ask you what you think about their country.

Source: Bradt Travel Guide, July 2008

São Tomé people 3
São Tomé people 4


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