Every country has its own phrases that sets them apart. Peculiar phrases and sayings that give local languages flavour, colour and character.
South Africa is no different. With each racial group having their own unique spin on slang.
This week on Kaya Drive, Sizwe asked if you knew the origin of your slang. While many didn’t understand where the quirky lines they throw out daily originated, many shared stories behind the start of the slang they grew up with .
With 11 official languages, South Africa’s slang is pretty diverse and our lingo can be a little intimidating to foreigners visiting the country.
To the average South African however, the lingo we use on the streets resonates and many would rather opt for the slang version of the word than the regular English transcript.
Here are a few of the most common slang used in South Africa:
- Fede – Hello
- Heita – Hello, howsit?
- Ag – Can be used to express disappointment, distaste or general dissatisfaction. Other connotations include, ag man which loosely translates to oh man and ag shame which is an expression of sympathy.
- Babelas – In South African terms this is what we refer to as a hangover.
- Bliksem – To hit or punch.
- Braai – It’s the South African equivalent to what the Western world calls a barbeque.
- Bru – Similar to boet which translates to my brother
- Eina – Ouch
- Eish! – General expression of exasperation
- Gatvol – I’ve had enough.
- Jislaaik – Exclamation of excitement
- Kif – Cool
- Larny – Rich taste. Fancy pants.
- Lus – Craving
- Moer – To beat up
- Skinner – To gossip
- Tune/Choon – To talk
- Yassis – Expression of heightened
- Aweh – Form of greeting
- Dala – Do. Dala what you must.
- Jol – Party
- Haibo – Irritation or shock
- Shibobo – Soccer terminology
- Skelm – Naughty one