How to Talk Like a Capetonian

Cape Town is a melting pot of different cultures, that’s why our food is so tasty and our language so colourful. Here’s a quick guide to speaking like a local when in the Mother City.


Pronounced: eye-t

An exclamation of praise or surprise similar to ‘nice’ or ‘heeeeeeeyyyyyy’!

Eg: Aitsa! Look at you looking so neat my bru!


Pronounced: ah-

A casual greeting or way of agreeing with someone.

Eg: Aweh, my bru, how are you?


Pronounced: ah-yoh-ba

A word of approval that’s cooler than cool and better than great! Could also be a greeting if you’re having a lekker day.

Eg: Sho! Those dance moves are ayoba!

Chommie definition


Pronounced: day-duh-lik

A word of confirmation also meaning cool, awesome, great, hip or dope. In English, it translates to “clearly”

Eg: You look duidelik today!


Pronounced: ace-sh

An emotive word used to describe anything from shock to awe or disapproval.

Eg: Eish, too much traffic!

The definiting of gaatjie


Pronounces: gh-he’s

An Afrikaans word for “spirit” often used to describe a great vibe.

Eg: I like this place, it has gees!


Pronounced: luck-

A word used to describe all things good, great and tasty

Eg: We’re going to a lekker party tonight! Lekker lekker man!


Pronounces: muh-oi

An adjective for something or someone that is beautiful.

Eg: I love this view! It’s mooi!


Pronounced: m-zhan-si

isiXhosa word for “south”, lovingly adopted as our unofficial name for South Africa.

Eg: Mzansi fo sho!

Definition for Now Now in our guide on how to speak like a Capetonian


Pronounced: row-bots

How South Africans say “traffic lights” because “traffic lights” is too long and doesn’t sound futuristic enough.

Eg: Next stop! At the robot!

Shame / Shem

Pronounced: sh-em

A much-used phrase to express all kind of emotions like sympathy, empathy, tenderness or regret.

Eg: Ooh shem, you shouldn’t sing

That dog is so cute, shame!

Shisa Nyama

Pronounced: she’s-san-yah-mah

To braai or barbeque meat or a place where you eat braaied meat and have lots of nice drinks.

Eg: This weekend we’re going to have a lekker shisa nyama!

About Us

Cape Town Tourism is the city of Cape Town's official Regional Tourism Organisation, responsible for tourism marketing, visitor and industry services.

Recent Posts

Top Categories

Share with your friends!

Sign in

Send Message

My favorites

Discover the Magic of Cape Town!

Subscribe to our emailer and unlock the hidden gems of this breathtaking holiday destination. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, pristine beaches, and iconic landmarks that Cape Town has to offer. 

Don’t miss out on the adventure of a lifetime – join our mailing list now and let the journey begin!

Popup newsletter form

"*" indicates required fields



Sign in

Send Message

My favorites