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.
An exclamation of praise or surprise similar to ‘nice’ or ‘heeeeeeeyyyyyy’!
Eg: Aitsa! Look at you looking so neat my bru!
A casual greeting or way of agreeing with someone.
Eg: Aweh, my bru, how are you?
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!
A word of confirmation also meaning cool, awesome, great, hip or dope. In English, it translates to “clearly”
Eg: You look duidelik today!
An emotive word used to describe anything from shock to awe or disapproval.
Eg: Eish, too much traffic!
An Afrikaans word for “spirit” often used to describe a great vibe.
Eg: I like this place, it has gees!
A word used to describe all things good, great and tasty
Eg: We’re going to a lekker party tonight! Lekker lekker man!
An adjective for something or someone that is beautiful.
Eg: I love this view! It’s mooi!
isiXhosa word for “south”, lovingly adopted as our unofficial name for South Africa.
Eg: Mzansi fo sho!
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
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!
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!