Sooo, you've decide to come visit the beautiful Republic of South Africa... (Yeah, we are a Republic first). You're soo excited about your trip that you research on all the awesome places to see, the delish food to taste, the types (I'm talking culture here hey) of people to meet and the languages to learn, but somehow you just forgot to research on our 'slang'. Worry not good people, this guide will help you get through the lingo woes so that you can be on top of your game and have an awesomazing time.
South African English has a flavour on its own, borrowing freely from Afrikaans, which is similar to Dutch and Flemish, as well as from the country's many African languages.
abba: to carry a child secured to one's back with a blanket/towel/or any other piece of cloth that works.
Sentence: "why don't you abba him, maybe he'll stop crying".
amasi: [pronounced "aa-maa-see"] A popular drink of thick sour milk. From isiZulu. An alternative name is maas.
antie: [ant-ee] an older female authority figure.
apartheid: [a-part-hate] Literally "apart-ness" in Afrikaans, apartheid was the policy of racial separation, and the resulting oppression of the black majority, implemented by the National Party from 1948 to 1990.
ag: [agh] Generally used at the beginning of a sentence, to express resignation or irritation or even a sigh.
Sentence: "Ag no man, you again!"
aweh/awe: [aaah-weh] said in excitement.
Sentence: "Aweh; my boss said I can go home early today"
It is also used as a greeting.
Sentence: "Aweh ma se kinders (hello mates/friends/family)" or "Aweh, aweh, aweh, howsit?"
babbelas: [bah-bah-laas] A hangover.
Sentence: "It's Monday and you're babbelas?"
bakkie: [buck-key] A pick-up truck.
Sentence: "That's a nice bakkie you got there hey!"
biltong: [bill-tong] This South African favourite is dried and salted meat, similar to beef jerky, although it can be made from ostrich, kudu or any other red meat.
biscuit/biskuit: In South Africa a cookie is known as a "biscuit". The word is also a term of affection.
Sentence: "Pass me the biscuits please" or "What's up my biskuit".
blerrie/bladdy hell: [bler-ree/bloody] damn
bliksem: To beat up, hit or punch; or a mischievous person.
Sentence: "I'm gonna bliksem him" or "Hey, there's that bliksem, catch him."
blomming: Hanging out.
Sentence: "Ag, I'm just blomming outside and you?"
bobotie: [buh-boh-tee] A dish of Malay origin, made with minced meat and spices, and topped with an egg and milk sauce.
boerewors: [boor-uh-vors] Literally, "farmer's sausage". A savoury sausage, also known as 'Wors' developed by the Boers (farmers), boerewors is South African food at its most traditional.. Great with pap and relish.
boet/boetie/boeta: [boot/bootie/boota] From the Afrikaans word for 'brother', this is exactly what "boet" is all about, Brotherhood or best friends (guy friends).
Sentence: "My boet is not well hey"
bonsella: Surprise gift, something extra, or a bribe. From isiZulu.
bosberaad: [borse-bah-raad] A strategy meeting or conference, usually held in a remote bushveld location, such as a game farm.
braai: [braa-eye] a barbecue, grilled meat, used as a mainstream word in South African English.
bredie: [brear-dee] A traditional South African mutton stew, first brought to the country by Malay immigrants. It now refers to any kind of stew.
bru: [brew] A term of affection, shortened from Afrikaans broer, meaning "brother".
Sentence: "Hey, cheers bru?"
bunny chow, also known as kota: Delicious and cheap food on the go, bunny chow is curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of bread, generally sold in cafes.
cafe: [kaf-fee] The small neighbourhood convenience store, often found on street corners or someones house and stocks cigarettes, cold drinks and newspapers.
cherry: cute girls "meddie".
Sentence: "Are there nice cherries?"
chill: Relax. Take it easy.
china: To most people, China is the world’s most populous country, but to a South African it can mean something entirely different. China means "good friend".
Sentence: "heyyy, howsit my china"
chommie: Friend, from the English word, "chum".
cool drink, cold-drink: This is the common term for a soda, such as Coca-Cola. Ask for "a soda" in South Africa, and you will receive a club soda, so rather ask for a 'Coke', 'Fanta' or 'Sprite'