Thursday, 20 November 2014

The South African Lingo Book: A Guide to Our Slang pt3

I'm back with part three :). I hope you have familiarised yourself with A-J and now know how to use them and when to use them. Let's recap a little:

"Ek se bra, I'm gatvol of this Pretoria weather, let's go to Durbs instead?"
"Jaa-nee, Saturday's jol was great hey!"

I'm sure you know what that means :)

Here's the rest of it


kasi: [kaa-see] Shortened form of lokasie, "location" in Afrikaans, the older word for township. Refers to the low-income dormitory suburbs outside cities and towns to which black South Africans were confined during the apartheid era.

kak: Literal translation : shit. crap, rubbish, nonsense (vulgar), of very wide usage. Also used as a way of further expressing one's feeling in language. 

klankie: [clunkie] unpleasant smell. Also said as just "Klank". 

klap: [clup] to smack. (From Afrikaans). "He got klapped in the bar". Like a "b**ch-slap".

kif: Cool, neat, great or wonderful. From the Arabic kayf, meaning enjoyment or wellbeing.

knobkierie: [k-nob-kee-ree] A fighting stick with a knob on the business end. From the Afrikaans knop ["knob"] and the Khoi-San kirri or keeri, meaning "stick".  

koeksister: [kook-sister] A traditional Malay and now also Afrikaner sweet, made from twisted yeast dough, deep fried and dipped in syrup.

 kwaito: [kw-eye-toe] The music of South Africa's urban black youth, a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B, ragga, and a heavy dose of house music beats.

kwaai – cool, excellent (Afrikaans: "angry". Compare the US slang word phat.)


laduma!: [la-doo-mah] A popular cheer celebrating goals scored at soccer matches, from the isiZulu for "it thunders".

lappie: [luppie] A cleaning cloth.

laaitie: [lie-tea] a younger person, esp. a younger male such as a younger brother or son.
Sentence: "that's my lighter you talking about!"

laanie, larny/larnies: (n) boss, used in a different tones. (adj) fancy/rich
Sentence: "Oh the larnies are here."

lekker: [leck-irr with a rolling r] Nice, good, great, cool or tasty.


Madiba: [maa-dee-baa] An affectionate name for former President Nelson Mandela, and the name of his clan.
make a plan/ maak a plan (Afrikaans) : devise a way to overcome difficulties. "Leave it to me, I'll make a plan."  

mal: [mull] Mad, from Afrikaans.  

mampara: [mum-puh-rah] An idiot, a silly person. From the Sotho languages.  

mampoer: [mum-poo-er] Extremely potent brandy made from peaches or other fruit, similar to American moonshine.

mealies: [me-lease] Maize or corn. A mealie is a maize cob, and mealie meal is maize meal, the staple diet of South Africa, which is mostly cooked into pap. From the Afrikaans mielie.  

moegoe: [moo-ghoo] A fool, buffoon, idiot or simpleton.  

moffiemale homosexual (derogatory)

mos – Afrikaans, implies that what has been said is well known or self-evident (a formal part of grammar, the closest English equivalent would be "duh!").
Sentence: "Mos I said I'm coming at 2". Used at the end of a sentence: "...Jy weet mos." ("...Obviously, as you know ... ")

muti : [moo-ti] Medicine, typically traditional African medicine. From the isiZulu, umuthi.

Mzansi: [m-zun-zee] A popular word for South Africa.

naartjie: [nar-chee] The South African word for tangerine, Citrus reticulata.

nappy: A baby's diaper.

nca: Fine, beautiful. Pronounced with a downward click of the tongue.

nĂȘ: [neh] "Really?" or "is that so?" Often used sarcastically.  

nogal: of all things. Term expressing a measure of surprise.

now-now: Shortly, in a bit or in a moment.
Sentence:  "I'll be there now-now."

oke, ou: A man, similar to "guy" or "bloke". The word "ou" [oh] can be used interchangeably.

ousie: [ow-see] Term used to refer to a maid, usually a black female; Also used by black females to call/refer to each other as in 'sister'.

pap: [pup] The staple food of South Africa, a porridge made from mealie meal (maize meal) cooked with water and salt to a fairly stiff consistency, stywepap being the stiffest. "Pap" can also mean weak or tired.  

papsak: [pup-suck] Cheap box wine sold in its foil container, without the box.

pasop: [pus-op] An Afrikaans word meaning "beware" or "watch out".
Sentence found on someones outside fence: "Pasop vir die hond!" (Beware of the dog) 

pavement: South Africans walk on pavements and drive cars on the road [at least that's the idea]. The pavement is the sidewalk. 

potjiekos: [poy-key-kos] Traditional Afrikaner food, generally a rich stew, cooked in a three-legged cast-iron pot over a fire. The word means "little-pot food" in Afrikaans.

puffadder: A viper or adder of the species Britis arietans. From the Afrikaans pofadder.

rand: The South African currency, which is made up of 100 cents. The name comes from the Witwatersrand (Dutch for "white waters ridge"), the region in Gauteng province in which most of the country's gold deposits are found.  

robots: Traffic lights.  

rock up: To arrive somewhere unannounced or uninvited. It's the kind of thing friends do: "I was going to go out but then my china rocked up."

rooibos: [roy-boss] Afrikaans for red bush, this popular South African tea made from the Cyclopia genistoides bush is gaining worldwide popularity for its health benefits.

rooinek: [roy-neck] English-speaking South African, from the Afrikaans for red neck, but without the connotations given the term in the US. It was first coined by Afrikaners decades ago to refer to immigrant Englishmen, whose white necks were particularly prone to sunburn.  

rubbish bin: Alternatively dustbin or dirt bin. Garbage can.

samoosa: [suh-moo-suh] A small, spicy, triangular-shaped pie deep-fried in oil. Originally made by the Indian and Malay communities, samoosas – known as samosas in Britain – are popular with all South Africans.

sangoma: [sun-go-mah] Traditional healer or diviner. 

sarmie: Sandwich. 

shame: Broadly denotes sympathetic feeling. A South African admiring a baby, kitten or puppy might say, "Ag shame!", to emphasise its cuteness.  

sharp: Often doubled up for effect as sharp- sharp! , this word is used as a greeting, a farewell, for agreement, or just to express enthusiasm.
Sentence: "How are you? I'm sharp and you?"

shebeen: A township tavern, illegal under the apartheid regime, often set up in a private house and frequented by black South Africans. The word is originally Gaelic.  

shongololo: Large brown millipede, from the isiZulu ukushonga, meaning "to roll up". I hate theses shongololos, they make me jumpy.

sjambok: [sham-bok] A stout leather whip made from animal hide.  

skebenga: [ska-beng-gah] Gangster, crook, criminal. From the Nguni word for gangster. See also skelm.

skelm: [skel-lem] A shifty or untrustworthy person; a criminal.
skinner: [skinner] Gossip, from Afrikaans. A person who gossips is known as a skinnerbek: Sentence: "Jislaaik, bru, I'm going to donner that skinnerbek for skinnering about me." Translation: "Gee, my friend, I'm going to hit that guy for gossiping about me."

skollie: [skoh-li] Gangster, criminal, from the Greek skolios, meaning crooked.  

skop, skiet en donner: [skorp, skeet en donner] Action movie. Taken from Afrikaans, it literally means "kick, shoot and beat up".  

skrik: Fright.
Sentence:"I got a big skrik yoh" means, "I got a big fright".

skrik vir niks: Scared of nothing.
slap chips: [slaap chips] French fries, usually soft, oily and vinegar-drenched, bought in a brown paper bag. Slap is Afrikaans for "limp", which is how French fries are generally made here.  

smaak stukkend: Love to bits. In Afrikaans smaak means "like", and stukkend means "broken".
Sentence: "Ek smaak jou stukkend."

snoek: [like Snooki, but without the 'i'] A popular and tasty fish, often eaten smoked. A snoek braai is a real South African treat.  

sosatie: [soh-saa-tee] A kebab, often lamb on a stick.

sommer: for no particular reason, just because.

span: [spun] work or workplace.
Sentence: "I'm going to span man."

spaza: Informal township shop.
stoep: [stoop] Porch or verandah.
stompie: A cigarette butt. From the Afrikaans stomp, meaning "stump". The expression "picking up stompies" means intruding into a conversation at its tail end, with little information about its content.

struesbob: [s-true-ss-bob] "As true as Bob", as true as God, the gospel truth.

takkies/tekkies: Running shoes or sneakers. "Fat takkies" are extra- wide tyres.

tannie: [taan-ni] An Afrikaans word meaning "auntie", but also used to refer to any older female of authority or mother.
Sentence: "My tannie's coming now-now."

taxi: Not a metered car with a single occupant, but a minibus used to transport a large number of people, and the most common way of getting around in South Africa.  

to die for: An expression popular in the affluent suburbs of Johannesburg and Cape Town, denoting enthusiastic approval for an object or person: "That necklace is to die for."
toppie: Old man or father.
Sentence: "Ek se bra, my toppie said I can't go."

townships: Low-income dormitory suburbs outside cities and towns – effectively ghettos – to which black South Africans were confined during the apartheid era.

toyi-toyi: A knees-up protest dance.

tsotsi: A gangster, hoodlum or thug – and the title of South Africa's first Oscar-winning movie.

tune grief: Cause trouble.

ubuntu: Southern African humanist philosophy that holds as its central tenet that a person is a person through others.
vaai: slang for "to go". Durbanites like to say "Hey, let's vaai pozzy." = Let's go home

veld: [felt] Open grassland. From the Dutch for "field".  
vetkoek: [fet-cook] "Fat cake" in Afrikaans, vetkoek is a doughnut-sized bread roll made from deep-fried yeast dough. Mainly served with a savoury mince filling, it is artery-clogging and delicious.  

voetsek: [foot-sak] Go away, buzz off.  

vrot: [frot] Rotten or smelly.

vry – to make out or courting (equivalent to American "necking", British "snogging" or Australian "pashing")

vuvuzela: [voo-voo-zeh-lah] A large, colourful plastic trumpet with the sound of a foghorn, blown enthusiastically by virtually everyone in the crowd at soccer matches. According to some, the word comes from the isiZulu for "making noise".


yebo: Yes. Used to show agreement or approval. From isiZulu. SAinfo reporter. Additional information sourced from Wiktionary, Wikipedia and the Rhodes University Dictionary Unit for SA English.

yohan expression of surprise e.g., "Yoh, that was rude" "Yoh, you gave me a fright!", (Police-chief talking about the poor physique of his policemen) "They should look at our men and say "yoh!".

zol: a homemade cigarette rolled with old newspaper or rizlas (likely marijuana-filled) joint (equivalent to American "doobie")

...and that's a wrap. I hope you will use this guide wisely to get through the trying times in South Africa. We are an awesome bunch of people and our lingo proves it. Hope you enjoy your stay here. Toodles :)

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