Thursday, November 15, 2007

Useful South African words & phrases

Amanzi (Zulu) - Water
Biltong - Dried meat of various game
Boet - (Afrikaans) Friend
Braai (General SA) – Barbeque
Braaivleis -
Bunny Chow – Curry in a dugout loaf
Chaffed (Indian SA) – Satisfied, happy

Charou - Indian South African people
China (General SA) - Friend (affectionate) "Howzit my China?"
Chow (Indian SA) – Eat "Let's chow/let's have a chow" (food)
Doose - (Afrikaans) Derogatory! Box/Cunt/pussy (also used for "idiot" by some...)
Dop – A drink (originally a hottentot term)
Fokken aap - (Afrikaans) F***ing monkey
Game - Wild animals
Goeie More (Afrikaans) - Good morning
Guji/Banja People (Indian SA) - Gujerati People
Hamba Kahle (Zulu) - Go well (Bye) "Let's hamba - let's go"
Hawker - Road salesman
Howzit - SA greeting
Hoe gaan dit (Afrikaans) - Howzit (How is it going?)

Inkosi (Zulu) - Chief (respectful term)
Kaffir - Derogatory for black people (or anything but white)
Kak (General SA) – Shit
Kwerekwere 1 (In Zimbabwe) - Shona People
Kwerekwere 2 (Used by South African tribes) - Foreigner
Larney/lani - Snob, upper class
Lekker - Expressing approval! Nice

Lobola (African) - Sheep/money from the groom to the bride's family
Moffie - (Afrikaans) derogatory for gay
Moor - Hit/kill, "I'll fokken moor you"
Muti - Magical medicine (made from human and animal organs/body parts)
Muti kill - Killing to get organs for muti
Muti thief - Tsotsi "blessed" by a Sangoma and given strong muti (for bravery)
Ngiyaphila (Zulu) - I am well/ok (I am alive)
Ngisaphila (Zulu) - I am still well/ok (I am still alive)
Nyama (African ?)- Animal/meat
Pap/Puto – Mielie meal mash (staple food for a lot of blacks in Southern Africa)
Potji - Traditional pot or Boer dish
Robot - Traffic light
Roti People (Indian SA) - Hindi People
Sala Kahle (Zulu) - Stay well (Bye)
Sangoma - Doctor (Which doctor)
Sawubona (Zulu) - Welcome
Sharp Sharp! - Good/OK/under control
Sulla People (Indian SA) - Muslim Indians

Tagati (Zulu) - Bewitched
Tokoloshe (African superstition) - Small creature called upon by a Sangoma to haunt you
Tsotsi - Thief
Umlungu 1 (Zulu++) - Foam on the beach made by the sea!
Umlungu 2 (Zulu++) - White Man (derogatory ?/!)
Unjani (Zulu) - How are you?
Yebo (Zulu) – Yes


hello, my name is danny. said...

hey jonny,

that's was a cool idea. i love learning foreign languages, even if it's just a few words.

i want to throw a few of these around to impress folks! LOL

Jonny said...

To be honest it was just to tidy up on my site a bit. It was always there on the right side (expressions and books and whatnot)... but I thought it was getting a bit much there, so I decided a link should be enough there... but then I needed to put it as a new post and dedicate a site for it. If there is another solution, then I am happy to receive suggestions :-) Hobby blogger/editor/designer

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this page.
I can use it in my project about South Africa

Anonymous said...

Hey jonny,

thanks for the words it's really helped me in my homework.

Your the best

Anonymous said...

i just think you should take out the word "kaffir". it's the worst possible word you can say in South Africa. it's based on hatred and if you use it, you deserve the treatment you'll get.

Jonny said...

@ last anonymous. YES and NO! I agree that it's one of the most offensive things that you can possibly say in South Africa. At the same time it's important to be aware of its full meaning, and maybe even some of its related history.

Like when I shouted out an order to my father in a Joburg café to get me a cup of coffee. In Norwegian it's "kaffe" and it sounds identical to the racist term, although it had absolutely nothing to do with it. Not all the poeple present understood that the context was a whole different matter.