Speak The Lingo: Afrikaans English

The variety of the English language throughout the world is a wonderful thing, and the distinctive South African vernacular throws up a few particularly corking slang phrases to get your tongue around.
  • Howzit: hello. It is important to say this to people whenever you speak to them in person on the phone, morning, noon or night. Never say hello. Hi is acceptable although if you want to appear hip you could try the Zulu greeting Sabona (singular) Sabonani (plural).
  • Braai: (pronounced Bry): Barbeque - but never ever say barbeque. The locals will laugh a lot.
  • Sp'k 'n diesel: (pronounced "spook en diesel") local Cape brandy and coke.
  • Parktown prawn, also known as Durban prawn: not a local delicacy but a cockroach. And a candidate for Strongest Cockroach in the World. Seriously. To be avoided in the home and especially if offered on at a braai..

  • Robots: traffic lights.
  • Circle: traffic roundabout.
  • Een vir die pad? (pronounced Ian-fur-dee-pat): one for the road. Last drink of the night - until the ABF.
  • ABF: stands for Absolute Bloody Final: last drink of the night until "One for the roadblock."
  • Roadblock: usually set up on popular roads to catch out drivers who may have taken more than the legal limit of alcohol.
  • Toyi-toi: (pronounced toy-toy) dance often associated with the townships which involves vigorous hopping and jerking up of the knees.
  • Babelaas (pronounced BaBaLarce): the result of too many ABFs; hangover.
  • Naartjies: (pronounced narchies) oranges. Rugby supporters have been known to inject the orange with alcohol prior to a Currie Cup or international match for consumption during the game, usually via squeezing the orange directly into the mouth. The result is both refreshing and alcoholic with the remaining peel serving as a useful missile with which to bombard the opposing full-back.
  • China: friend. Often preceded by howzit to form the greeting "Howzit china".
  • Doll: female version of china.
  • Yebo: okay.
  • Sies man: (pronounced "suss" with the "u" tightly squeezed between the "s"s) Golly. Occasionally preceded by the phrase "Ach".
  • Soutie (pronounced sew-tea): Englishman (familiar). The original of the phrase is soutpiel which directly translated means "salt dick". The reasoning for this is that the "Engelsman" in South Africa is understood to have one foot in Africa, the other in England leaving his piel to dangle in the ocean in between.