You have come to hunt in Africa a few times, got to
know us a little and perhaps even came to like us - but now we want
to take our relationship to the next level: we want to share our
language with you.
This is no small honor - we are inviting you into
the inner sanctum of Afrikanerdom (our boer psyche).
Here is your first assignment. Learn these words by heart.
Ag - a useful South African words. Pronounced
like the "ach" in the German "achtung", it can be used to start a
reply when you are asked a tricky question, as in: "Ag, I dont
know." Or a sense of resignation: "Ag ok, Ill have some more
Aikona not on your life / never / no
Bobotie (Pronounced buh-boor-tea) served with
yellow rice and raisins, this is a spicy traditional Malay mince
with an egg custard topping
Babbelas (Pronounced bub-elas) South African
Afrikaans for hung over or tender
Bakgat when something is done correctly
Bakkie (pronounced "bucky") can refer to a
small truck, pick-up or Tupperware container. If a young man takes
his "girl/bokkie" (date) in a bakkie it could be considered as a not
so "lekker" form of transport because the seats cant recline
Biltong - dried, seasoned meat, similar to jerky
Bioskoop (Pronounced bio-skoowp the Cinema
Biscuit South African Afrikaans for cookie,
used as a term of affection Claudia, you biscuit!
Bliksem hit or punch
Bitter koud (Pronounced bitterrr-coat South
African Afrikaans for very cold
Boer Afrikaans word for farmer
Boerewors (boerie) spicy South African
Boetie (Pronounced Boettea South African
Afrikaans for little brother, this can also be used as a nickname.
Bokkie a small buck, or affectionate name for
a female (my bokkie)
Bra Afrikaans word for male friend - dude in
Bru male friend (from Afrikaans, broer
Braai a BBQ
Cell mobile phone
Choc township slang for R20 note
Chommie / china my friend
Chow to eat
Cozzy (Pronounced cozzie) swimming / bathing
Dikbek sulking / pouting
Diski South African township slang for
football e.g. Learn the Diski Dance for 2010
Donner - A rude word, it comes from the
Afrikaans "donder" (thunder). Pronounced "dorner", it means " to
beat up". A team member in your rugby team can get donnered in a
game, or your wife can donner you if you come back from a braai at
three in the morning.
Dop - This word has two basic meanings, one good
and one bad. First the good: A dop is a drink, a cocktail, a
sundowner, a noggin. When invited for a dop, be careful! It could be
one sedate drink or a blast, depending on the company. Now the bad:
To dop is to fail. If you "dopped" standard two (Grade 4) more than
once, you probably wont be reading this.
Doss a nap
Dorpie (Pronounced door-pea) a town small in
Droλ wors (Pronounce Drew-a-voars) dried
sausage, similar to biltong
Eina! - (Pronounce A-nah) Widely used by all
language groups, this word, derived from the Afrikaans, means
"ouch." Pronounced "aynah". You can say it in sympathy when you see
your friend the day after he got donnered by his wife.
Eish! (Pronounced aysh) a phrase of
exclamation e.g.. Eish! I am so tired
Gatvol fed up, had enough
Gelukkige Verjaarsdag (Pronounced Ggeluk-kighe
Ferrr-yaars-dag) South African Afrikaans for Happy Birthday
Gogga - bug in Khoikhoi
Gooi (Pronounce g as a rolling gggg almost
like a cat purring)
Chuck to throw something
Gat - backside or hole. When used in the phrase
"Hes going to see his gat" it means he is in for a really bad time.
Hardegat - to have an inflexible attitude
Heita (Pronounced hey-tah) a greeting
Hey - Often used at the end of a sentence to
emphasise the importance of what has just been said, as in "Youre
only going to get donnered if you come in late again, hey?" It can
also stand alone as a question. Instead of saying "excuse me?" or
"pardon me?" when you have not heard something directed at you, you
can always say: "Hey?"
Highway motorway / freeway
Howzit A universal South African greeting, and
you will hear this word throughout the country. It is often
accompanied with the word "Yes!" as in: "Yes, howzit?". In which
case you answer "No, fine."
Hundreds excellent, good Hi buddy how are
you? I am hundreds
Indaba from the Zulu language meaning a matter
for discussion or widely known in South African English as
Ja-nee - "Yes No" in English. Politics in South
Africa has always been associated with family arguments and in some
cases even with physical fights. It is believed that this expression
originated with a family member who didnt want to get a klap or get
donnerred, so he just every now and then muttered "ja-nee". Use it
when you are required to respond, but would rather not choose to
agree or disagree.
Ja well no fine - A great conversation fallback.
Derived from the four words: "yes", "well", "no" and fine", it
roughly means "ok". If your bank manager tells you your account is
overdrawn, you can, with confidence, say: "Jawelnofine."
Just now interchangeable meanings which could
be just now tomorrow... or perhaps never
Izit? - This is another great word to use in
conversations. Derived from the two words "is" and "it", it can be
used when you have nothing to contribute if someone tells you
something at a braai. For instance, if someone would say: "The
Russians will succeed in their bid for capitalism once they adopt a
work ethic and respect for private ownership." It is quite
appropriate to respond by saying: "Izit?"
Klap - Pronounced "klup" an Afrikaans word
meaning smack, whack or spank. If you spend too much time in front
of the TV during exam time, you could end up getting a "klap" from
your mother. In America, that is called child abuse. In South
Africa, it is called promoting education. But to get "lekker geklap"
is to get motherlessly drunk. Lekker: An Afrikaans word meaning
nice, this word is used by all language groups to express approval.
If you enjoyed a braai thoroughly, you can say: "Now that was
lekk-errrrrrr!" while drawing out the last syllable.
Kombi a minivan
Kwaai (Pronounced kw-eye) a homonym meaning
cool, excellent or angry in South African Afrikaans
Monkeys wedding a rain shower when the sun is
Plaatjies (Pronounce tj as an ck) flip
slop sandals (also see slip slops)
Laaitie (Pronounces as lighty) a young person,
usually a young male such as a younger brother or son
Laduma! (Pronounced la-doom-a!) it thunders in
Zulu - used when a goal is scored in South African soccer matches
Larney fancy / designer
Lekker great / tasty
Makarapa a modified, decorated miners helmet
used by South African soccer fans
Mielie corn on the cob
Moer - to hit or mother. See Donner.
Naartjie - tangerine, mandarin
Now now - In much of the outside world, this is
a comforting phrase: "Now now, its really not so bad." But in South
Africa , this phrase is used in the following manner: "Just wait,
Ill be there now now." It means "a little after now".
Ou Ballie South African Afrikaans for old man
Oke (Pronounced oak) a guy / bloke Padkos
food for the road / journey Pap / mielie meal ground maize
Oom - Afrikaans for Uncle. A respectful form of
address to any (much) older man of about the same age as your
Pasop - From the Afrikaans phrase meaning "Watch
Out!", this warning is used and heeded by all language groups. As
in: "The boss hasnt had his coffee yet so you better pasop boet".
Sometimes just the word "pasop!" is enough without further
explanation. Everyone knows it sets out a line in the sand not to be
Rock up - To rock up is to just, sort of arrive
(called "gate crash" in other parts of the world). You dont make an
appointment or tell anyone you are coming you just rock up.
Friends can do that but you have to be selective about it. For
example, you cant just rock up for a job interview.
Robot traffic light
Rondavel free-standing round building which
usually has a thatched roof
Saamie - This is a sandwich. For generations,
school-children have traded "saamies" during lunch breaks. In South
Africa you dont send your kid to school with liver-polony saamies -
they are impossible to trade.
Sangoma South African traditional healer
Scale -: To scale something is to steal it. A
person who is "scaly" has a doubtful character, is possibly a
scumbag, and should rather be left off the invitation list to your
Sjoe - (Pronounced Shhh as in be quiet and the
ue of blue, but shorter) An expression of amazement or
Siff Used in South African English to describe
disgusting, horrible, ugly or expired "This milk is siff!"
Skop, Skiet en donner - Literally "kick, shoot
and thunder", this phrase is used by many South African speakers to
describe action movies. A Clint Eastwood movie is always a good
choice if youre in the mood for a lekker skop, skiet en donner
Slap chips French fries
Slip slops / slops flip slop sandals
Spaza shop / cafe (Pronounced caffie
Sosatie a kebab on a stick
Swak (pronounced swuk) South African Indian
slang for bad. Also weakness
Tackies - Sneakers or running shoes. The word is
also used to describe automobile or truck tyres. "Fat tackies" are
really wide tyres, as in: "Youve got lekker fat tackies on your
Vτlla (VW beetle), hey?"
Tannie Afrikaans for aunt. A respectful form
of address to any older woman of about the same age as your mother.
Tokoloshe evil spirit
Toyi-Toyi - South African Zulu for protesting
and dancing in the street. We do this when we need a raise or just
want to have some fun.
Tsotsi (Pronounced Tzotzi a person who does no
good, gangster, layabout
Tune to give a person lip Dont you tune me
Veld bush / grassland
Veldskoens / vellies (Pronounce v as an f)
traditional Afrikaans outdoors shoes made from hide
Vrot - Pronounced "frot". An expressive word
that means "rotten" or "putrid" in Afrikaans, it is used by all
language groups to describe anything they really dislike. Most
commonly intended to describe fruit or vegetables whose shelf lives
have long expired, but a pair of old tackies (sneakers) worn a few
years too long can be termed "vrot" by some unfortunate folk which
find themselves in the same vicinity as the wearer. Also a rugby
player who misses important kicks or tackles can be said to have
played a vrot game opposite of a "lekker" game (but not to his
face). A movie was once reviewed with this headline: "Slick Flick,
Vuvuzela An annoying bugle-like instrument
used to make a noise at soccer games
Windgat - Arrogant, full of yourself
Yster - Iron. When used ion the phrase "My Toyota Land
cruiser bakkie is an yster" (a phrase used ad nauseum by
professional hunters) it means really tough or built to last.