A Traveler's Guide to South African Slang
Every country has its unusual and strange phrases – that give local languages flavour and character. But unless you’re a native speaker, local slang can be tricky to grasp.
South Africa having 11 official languages has a diverse and rich slang culture. Unless you are a local some of these terms will be hard to grasp let alone even pronounce.
To help all of our international friends we have compiled a list of some of the words you may hear on the daily and help you along the way.
- Ag - ( Agh) Equivalent to "Oh Man" Often used to express pity or irritation.
- Aikona - (Ey-Kho-Na) A Zulu term used to express shock or disbelief when talking to friends or family.
- Arvie - (Arv-ee) South African term of Afternoon
- Babbelas - (Bub-Ba-Las) A really Bad Hangover
- Bakkie - (Buk-Kee) South African version of a pick up truck
- Biltong -( Bil- Tong) Spiced, cured and dehydrated meat, similar to (but much tastier than) beef jerky
- Bliksem - (Blik-Sem) To hit or punch,
- Boet - Brother, usually used when talking to friends
- Boerewors - ( Boo-Rah-Vors) outh African farm-style sausage commonly braaied
- Braai - An equivalent to a BBQ but better
- Donner - (Don-Neh) Beat Up
- Dop - Alcoholic Beverage
- Eina - (Ay-Na) Ouch
- Eish - (Aysh) General exclamation that can be used in positive and negative contexts
- Howzit - (Hows-It) Greeting, often used instead of hello. Combines hello and how are you, so it saves time.
- Ja - (Yah) Yes
- Jislaaik - (Yis-Like) exclamation of wonder or surprise
- Jol - (Jo-rl) Can refer to a party, or to a general good time
- Lekker - (Lah-Car) Nice, delicious, fun – anything good
- Now Now - Second meaning for now. It also means sometime soon, although sooner than just now, like within the next 30 to 60 minute
- Robot - Traffic Light
- Shebeen - (Sha-Been) An informal Pub
- Sies - (Sis) n expression of disgust, can be used to refer to something yucky or gross.
- Takkies - (Tack- Keys) Sneakers / Sport Shoes
- Vrot - Rotten, Bad or Blind Drunk
- Vuvuzela - (Voo-Voo-Ze-La) Loud trumpets blown at sports events, made famous (infamous) at the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
- Yebo - ( Yeah-Boh) Yes
We hope the above serves you well on your Journey through our beautiful country South Africa that we call home.
We hope to see you soon.