Colourful South African Words

It’s true in South Africa the language as colourful as the people and that comes as no surprise when you consider South Africa boosts with 11 Official Languages. Know you I know you’ll get by with not knowing these words/phrases, but I’m pretty sure you’ll make a lot more friends if you do…

Ag man, a phrase used with more than a hint of frustration.

Aikona, not on your life, “You are staying at home today?” Aikona, I’m going on a jol.

Aita, [ai-tah’], A greeting, to say hello.

Boerewors, we eat boerewors, not sausage. A boerie roll is lekker.

Babbelas, [bub-elaas’) – Hangover, when last night was better than you planned for.

Bokkie, A small buck, or affectionate name for a female, Hey my bokkie, that’s a nice dress.

Bra/ Bru, A word for a male friend – “dude” in English. Hey, bra are we staying at the Junction?

Biltong, A favourite South African snack made from dried and salted meat.

Braai, [br-eye] the correct word for BBQ or grill. We’re having a braai tomorrow.

Check, Look at this, pay attention. Check that hot chick over there.

Chalk, A township slang for a 20 Rand note. Give me chalk, I wanna go to the shop.

Cozzy, [cozzie] Swimmin short or bikini or full-body costume. Grab your cozzy, we’re going to the beach.

Dop, is slang for an alcoholic drink. Pour me a dop.

Eish, [aysh] is a colloquial exclamation of surprise, disapproval, exasperation or regret. ‘Eish, my dop is done.

Eina, [a-na’] – Ouch! What people say when they get hurt. Eina! I just bumped my toe.

Gatvol, When fed up, had enough. Now, I’m gatvol of this referee.

Howzit, A greeting, to say hello.

Ja Nee, [Yes / No] – Used to confirm something. Do you think we should have a braai? – “Ja nee, that’s a great idea

Jol, [jawl]A party, a get-together. It’s gonna be a jol when we arrive in Plett.

Just now or now-now, means much later. Your wife might ask, “Will you please come fix the sink?” and you will reply “Now now baby”.

Kwaai, something you like. That is a kwaai motorbike Frank bought.

Lekker, [lek-uh] If there is the one you learn that this is the one! A word that is used to describe anything that is awesome, great, and good. That’s a Lekker car.

Pap, is porridge. Let’s go get some pap and vleis.

Potjiekos, A dish prepared outside, cooked in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot while stoking coals to keep the temperature just right. On Sunday we’re having potjiekos at my place.

Sies or Sis, An expression of disgust. Sies, don’t talk like that.

Slaptjips, [slup chips] Thick-cut, deep-fried potatoes. I feel like fish and slaptjips.

Skinner, [skuhn-her] This one is for the girls, a better word for gossip. Don’t you dare skinner about me.

Sho’t left, If you want your driver to stop by the next corner for you to get out. Hey, driver … sho’t left.

Vetkoek, Deep-fried bread dough balls. Directly translated to “fat cake” and goes with any topping. I’m definitely gonna have a vetkoek when I get to South Africa.

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