By Heather de Wit – Founder of Inspiring South Africans
I left out the swear words, as I thought I may get into trouble ... !
ag – used for any response – commiseration, joy, comedic, just about anything.
bakgat – an expression of appreciation for something very well accomplished e.g. ‘cool’.
bakkie – truck, pickup truck.
biltong - dried meat, similar to jerky.
boerewors - popular type of sausage in South Africa.
boet - male buddy - from Afrikaans boetie, meaning brother.
boytjie – a guy – What a guy !
braai – noun: a barbecue - verb: to barbecue, from the Afrikaans braaivleis.
brak - mongrel dog, also brackish water.
bru - a term of affection, shortened from Afrikaans broer, meaning brother.
china - a friend or buddy
chommie - a friend or buddy - similar to the English 'chum'.
dagga - most commonly used word for marijuana.
dikbek - grumpy, in a huff.
dinges - a 'thingamabob' 'wotzit' or 'whatchamacallit.
dof - stupid or slow to understand
donner - to beat up, from the Afrikaans 'donder'
droewors - dry sausage, similar to 'biltong' from Afrikaans
eina - Ouch ! - probaby from Khoisan origin.
eish - to express everything, ranging from frustration to surprise, to disapproval, displeasure, but also just everyday acknowledgement of things you cannot change.
gatvol - fed up.
howzit - general hello greeting.
is it - Is it so ?
ja – Yes from Afrikaans
kwaito – popular genre of music - a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B reggae and a heavy dose of house-music beats.
lekker – nice, good, great – from Afrikaans.
loskop - airhead, clumsy forgetful person.
madiba - globally the name Madiba denotes South Africa. It is the name of the Thembu clan to which the belated Nelson Mandela belonged, derived from a 19th century chief. All the members of this clan can be called Madiba. Nelson Mandela was called Madiba as a sign of both respect and affection.
moegoe - a stupid person, coward or weakling.
moer - to hit or fight with.
mzansi – Xhosa word for South Africa.
now now – in a minute, shortly, in a bit.
outoppie – father or older male figure.
shame – could be compassionate, happy, adoring – just about anything.
skelm – do things on the sly - a crook or trouble-maker a mistress or secret lover.
skinner - gossip.
skraal - very hungry or very broke. Derived from the Durban region from Afrikaans for 'thin' or 'emaciated'.
slaptjips - similar to thick-cut British chips - usually soft, oily and soaked in vinegar.
sosatie - a kebab on a skewer.
stoep - a porch or verandah, like the American English stoop.
stompie - a cigarette butt or a short person.
stukkie - a woman from Afrikaans meaning 'a piece' - mostly used when referring to a woman that you have casual encounters with.
tata - means father in Xhosa. An affectionate name for the belated Nelson Mandela, who was referred to as the father of the nation.
toppie - an old man.
vellies - veldskoene - a traditional Afrikaans outdoors shoe made from hide.
vuvuzela - inspired from a Kudi horn - A plastic horn, which produces a loud monotone note and allows pitch variation, depending on the blowing technique and pressure exerted. It is commonly used at South African football matches.
ubuntu – Used in South Africa and all of Africa - means I am because you are, Human kindness, Human-ness, I am human because I belong to the human community and I view and treat others accordingly, people are people through other people.
yoh - an expression of surprise.