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May 29, 2010

Howzit bru? Let’s waai possie and gooi a dop (and other strange South Africanisms)

Blog Featured Image

A truly laduma moment. Photo courtesy colm.mcmullan

Officially, South Africa has 11 languages, second only to India, with 22.

Many more languages are spoken in the country besides, from Greek to Gujarati and a number of local creoles and pidgins.

There are, however, some sayings that are commonly used and understood across our country, despite (or perhaps because of) its polyglot nature.

Here’s a brief introduction to some South Africanisms adapted from local languages.

aikona (aai-kor-na) no
laduma (la-doo-ma) goal
ja, nee (ya-neer) yes, no (well…)
ungaas (un-garse) I don’t know
yebo (yeah-bo) yes
gogo (goh-goh) granny
eish (a-sh) a sigh of sympathy
ayoba (ai-yo-bah) cool, nice
ke nako (kay-na-co) it is time
bafana bafana (ba-far-nah) SA soccer team
serious (see-ree-aas) really?
obvious (ov-i-aas) of course!
boerewors (boo-ra-vorse) traditional sausage
smiley (smi-lee) boiled sheep’s head
eThekweni (eh-tek-weh-nee) the city of Durban
Jozi (joh-zee) Johannesburg
Tshwane (ch-wa-nee) Pretoria
now, now (now, now) any time soon
dude (doo-d) mate
chick (chick) girl
vuvuzela (voo-voo-zeh-lah) plastic horn blown at soccer
waai (vaiy) leave
possie (por-zee) where you live
my china (my chai-nah) my friend
my bru (mai-broo) my mate
howzit (haa-zit) hey, hello
shot (shot) thanks
cheers (chee-az) thanks or a toast
later, dude (laida-dood) bye
gooi a dop (goiy a dorp) pour a drink
Klippies and Coke (clip-eez an’ coke) brandy and Coke
tekkies (tek-kees) trainers
slops (slops) beach sandals
lekker (lek-kur) good
kiff (kiff) nice, good
schweet (sh-weet) good
jislaak (jiss-laaik) expression of outrage
biltong (bill-tong) smoked beef strip
siestog (sees-togh) an expression of endearment
ag shame (agh-shaime) an expression of sympathy
lightie (laai-tee) youngster
oke (oak) guy
spook and diesel (spook-en-dee-zil) cane spirit with Coke
catch a doss (catch a dors) get some sleep
catch a wake up (catch a wake up) pay attention
snotklap (snort-clap) a smack across the face


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