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You have come to hunt in Africa a few times, got to know us a little and perhaps even came to like us - but now we want to take our relationship to the next level: we want to share our language with you.

This is no small honor - we are inviting you into the inner sanctum of Afrikanerdom (our boer psyche).

Here is your first assignment. Learn these words by heart.

Ag - a useful South African words. Pronounced like the "ach" in the German "achtung", it can be used to start a reply when you are asked a tricky question, as in: "Ag, I don’t know." Or a sense of resignation: "Ag ok, I’ll have some more mieliepap then."

Aikona – not on your life / never / no

Arvie – afternoon

Bobotie (Pronounced buh-boor-tea) – served with yellow rice and raisins, this is a spicy traditional Malay mince with an egg custard topping

Babbelas (Pronounced bub-elas) – South African Afrikaans for hung over or tender

Bakgat – when something is done correctly

Bakkie – (pronounced "bucky") can refer to a small truck, pick-up or Tupperware container. If a young man takes his "girl/bokkie" (date) in a bakkie it could be considered as a not so "lekker" form of transport because the seats can’t recline

Biltong - dried, seasoned meat, similar to jerky

Bioskoop (Pronounced bio-skoowp – the Cinema

Biscuit – South African Afrikaans for cookie, used as a term of affection – Claudia, you biscuit!

Bliksem – hit or punch

Bitter koud (Pronounced bitterrr-coat – South African Afrikaans for very cold

Boer – Afrikaans word for farmer

Boerewors (boerie) – spicy South African farmers’ sausage

Boetie (Pronounced Boet–tea – South African Afrikaans for little brother, this can also be used as a nickname.

Bokkie – a small buck, or affectionate name for a female (my bokkie)

Bra – Afrikaans word for male friend - dude in English

Bru – male friend (from Afrikaans, broer meaning brother)

Braai – a BBQ

Cell – mobile phone

Choc – township slang for R20 note

Chommie / china – my friend

Chow – to eat

Cozzy (Pronounced cozzie) – swimming / bathing costume

Dikbek – sulking / pouting

Diski – South African township slang for football e.g. Learn the Diski Dance for 2010

Donner - A rude word, it comes from the Afrikaans "donder" (thunder). Pronounced "dorner", it means " to beat up". A team member in your rugby team can get donnered in a game, or your wife can donner you if you come back from a braai at three in the morning.

Dop - This word has two basic meanings, one good and one bad. First the good: A dop is a drink, a cocktail, a sundowner, a noggin. When invited for a dop, be careful! It could be one sedate drink or a blast, depending on the company. Now the bad: To dop is to fail. If you "dopped" standard two (Grade 4) more than once, you probably won’t be reading this.

Doss – a nap

Dorpie (Pronounced door-pea) – a town small in size

Droλ wors (Pronounce Drew-a-voars) – dried sausage, similar to biltong

Eina! - (Pronounce A-nah) – Widely used by all language groups, this word, derived from the Afrikaans, means "ouch." Pronounced "aynah". You can say it in sympathy when you see your friend the day after he got donnered by his wife.

Eish! (Pronounced aysh) – a phrase of exclamation e.g.. Eish! I am so tired

Fundi – expert

Gatvol – fed up, had enough

Gelukkige Verjaarsdag (Pronounced Ggeluk-kighe Ferrr-yaars-dag) – South African Afrikaans for Happy Birthday

Gogga - bug in Khoikhoi

Gooi (Pronounce ‘g’ as a rolling ‘gggg’ almost like a cat purring) –

Chuck to throw something

Gat - backside or hole. When used in the phrase "He’s going to see his gat" it means he is in for a really bad time.

Hardegat - to have an inflexible attitude

Heita (Pronounced hey-tah) – a greeting

Hey - Often used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the importance of what has just been said, as in "You’re only going to get donnered if you come in late again, hey?" It can also stand alone as a question. Instead of saying "excuse me?" or "pardon me?" when you have not heard something directed at you, you can always say: "Hey?"

Highway – motorway / freeway

Howzit – A universal South African greeting, and you will hear this word throughout the country. It is often accompanied with the word "Yes!" as in: "Yes, howzit?". In which case you answer "No, fine."

Hundreds – excellent, good – Hi buddy how are you? I am hundreds

Indaba – from the Zulu language meaning a matter for discussion or widely known in South African English as conference

Ja-nee - "Yes No" in English. Politics in South Africa has always been associated with family arguments and in some cases even with physical fights. It is believed that this expression originated with a family member who didn’t want to get a klap or get donnerred, so he just every now and then muttered "ja-nee". Use it when you are required to respond, but would rather not choose to agree or disagree.

Ja well no fine - A great conversation fallback. Derived from the four words: "yes", "well", "no" and fine", it roughly means "ok". If your bank manager tells you your account is overdrawn, you can, with confidence, say: "Jawelnofine."

Just now – interchangeable meanings which could be just now tomorrow... or perhaps never

Izit? - This is another great word to use in conversations. Derived from the two words "is" and "it", it can be used when you have nothing to contribute if someone tells you something at a braai. For instance, if someone would say: "The Russians will succeed in their bid for capitalism once they adopt a work ethic and respect for private ownership." It is quite appropriate to respond by saying: "Izit?"

Klap - Pronounced "klup" – an Afrikaans word meaning smack, whack or spank. If you spend too much time in front of the TV during exam time, you could end up getting a "klap" from your mother. In America, that is called child abuse. In South Africa, it is called promoting education. But to get "lekker geklap" is to get motherlessly drunk. Lekker: An Afrikaans word meaning nice, this word is used by all language groups to express approval. If you enjoyed a braai thoroughly, you can say: "Now that was lekk-errrrrrr!" while drawing out the last syllable.

Kombi – a minivan

Kwaai (Pronounced kw-eye) – a homonym meaning – cool, excellent or angry in South African Afrikaans

Monkey’s wedding – a rain shower when the sun is out

Plaatjies (Pronounce ‘tj’ as an ‘ck’) – flip slop sandals (also see slip slops)

Laaitie (Pronounces as lighty) – a young person, usually a young male such as a younger brother or son

Laduma! (Pronounced la-doom-a!) – it thunders in Zulu - used when a goal is scored in South African soccer matches

Larney – fancy / designer

Lekker – great / tasty

Makarapa – a modified, decorated miners’ helmet used by South African soccer fans

Mielie – corn on the cob

Moer - to hit or mother. See Donner.

Naartjie - tangerine, mandarin

Now now - In much of the outside world, this is a comforting phrase: "Now now, it’s really not so bad." But in South Africa , this phrase is used in the following manner: "Just wait, I’ll be there now now." It means "a little after now".

Ou Ballie – South African Afrikaans for old man

Oke (Pronounced oak) – a guy / bloke Padkos – food for the road / journey Pap / mielie meal – ground maize Pavement – sidewalk

Oom - Afrikaans for Uncle. A respectful form of address to any (much) older man of about the same age as your father.

Pasop - From the Afrikaans phrase meaning "Watch Out!", this warning is used and heeded by all language groups. As in: "The boss hasn’t had his coffee yet – so you better pasop boet". Sometimes just the word "pasop!" is enough without further explanation. Everyone knows it sets out a line in the sand not to be crossed

Rock up - To rock up is to just, sort of arrive (called "gate crash" in other parts of the world). You don’t make an appointment or tell anyone you are coming – you just rock up. Friends can do that but you have to be selective about it. For example, you can’t just rock up for a job interview.

Robot – traffic light

Rondavel – free-standing round building which usually has a thatched roof

Saamie - This is a sandwich. For generations, school-children have traded "saamies" during lunch breaks. In South Africa you don’t send your kid to school with liver-polony saamies - they are impossible to trade.

Sangoma – South African traditional healer

Scale -: To scale something is to steal it. A person who is "scaly" has a doubtful character, is possibly a scumbag, and should rather be left off the invitation list to your next braai.

Sjoe - (Pronounced Shhh as in be quiet and the ue of blue, but shorter) An expression of amazement or indicating heat

Shongololo – millipede

Siff – Used in South African English to describe disgusting, horrible, ugly or expired – "This milk is siff!"

Skinner – gossip

Skop, Skiet en donner - Literally "kick, shoot and thunder", this phrase is used by many South African speakers to describe action movies. A Clint Eastwood movie is always a good choice if you’re in the mood for a lekker skop, skiet en donner flick.

Slap chips – French fries

Slip slops / slops – flip slop sandals

Spaza shop / cafe (Pronounced caffie – convenience store

Stoep – veranda

Sosatie – a kebab on a stick

Swak (pronounced – swuk) – South African Indian slang for bad. Also weakness

Tackies - Sneakers or running shoes. The word is also used to describe automobile or truck tyres. "Fat tackies" are really wide tyres, as in: "You’ve got lekker fat tackies on your Vτlla (VW beetle), hey?"

Tannie – Afrikaans for aunt. A respectful form of address to any older woman of about the same age as your mother.

Tekkies – sneakers

Tokoloshe – evil spirit

Toyi-Toyi - South African Zulu for protesting and dancing in the street. We do this when we need a raise or just want to have some fun.

Tsotsi (Pronounced Tzotzi – a person who does no good, gangster, layabout

Tune – to give a person lip – Don’t you tune me

Veld – bush / grassland

Veldskoens / vellies (Pronounce ‘v’ as an ‘f’) – traditional Afrikaans outdoors shoes made from hide

Vrot - Pronounced "frot". An expressive word that means "rotten" or "putrid" in Afrikaans, it is used by all language groups to describe anything they really dislike. Most commonly intended to describe fruit or vegetables whose shelf lives have long expired, but a pair of old tackies (sneakers) worn a few years too long can be termed "vrot" by some unfortunate folk which find themselves in the same vicinity as the wearer. Also a rugby player who misses important kicks or tackles can be said to have played a vrot game – opposite of a "lekker" game (but not to his face). A movie was once reviewed with this headline: "Slick Flick, Vrot Plot."

Vuvuzela – An annoying bugle-like instrument used to make a noise at soccer games

Windgat - Arrogant, full of yourself

Yster - Iron. When used ion the phrase "My Toyota Land cruiser bakkie is an yster" (a phrase used ad nauseum by professional hunters) it means really tough or built to last.


• Fate of the Leopard •
• Don Juan of Mozambique •
• Marshpig’s Father •
• Bowhunting Namibia •
• Diving with Death •
• The Parable of the Warthog and the Wildebeest •
• The Ancient Craft •
• Safari Fashion •
• This is Africa! •
• Learn English •


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