Get with the lingo
With eleven official languages to draw from it should be no surprise that South Africa has a lot of slang or unique terminology for everyday words or phrases. So, to get you on board with what we mean when we talk, here are some truly South Africanisms:
Phuza – is to think or to get drunk or be drunk. You’ll often hear reference to Phuza Thursday as this is the official start to the weekend. Who cares that you have to work on Friday.
Bunny chow – a half loaf stuffed with a curry. You eat the whole tasty mess. Normally a Durban curry so it’s pretty hot. Hotter than a lot of traditional Indian cuisine. Try your best to track one down if you’re visiting.
Robot – No, we do not have drones everywhere. This is what we call traffic lights. If you’re asking for directions you’re going to hear about robots.
Lift – 1) An elevator 2) Getting, or offering a ride somewhere. For example “Can I get a lift to the nearest mall please?”
Biltong – dried meat strips/pieces. Normally beef but ostrich and chicken or venison also available. Can be a bit wet (moist) or dry. Delicious as a snack. Much nicer than the American equivalent, beef jerky. Just get some
Boerewors – meat sausage flavoured with fat and spices. Chunky and delicious. You can not come to SA and not track down a boerewors roll (cooked sausage in a roll) to savour.
Nyama – meat (can be spelt a few way depending on which African language you derive it from)
Slap Chips – Soft (not soggy) potato fries which have been feep fried in oil. Best served with salt and vinegar.
Moer – Curse word for hit or punch. Run if someone threatens to moer you. They’re probably phuzaed and you’ve obviously aggravated them. We’re African, we hit hard.
Sies – Sis, to describe something that is generally gross or bad behaviour.
Moeg – tired.
Aikona – no. Also used to mean “it wasn’t me” or “I can’t do that”
Twenty Ten – This was the year we hosted the Football World Cup. We remember the time fondly. Possibly one of the best things South Africa has ever pulled off as a nation.
The Train – Generally refers to our Gautrain system. It’s our best mode of public transport available in Gauteng. Unfortunately does not reach a lot of tourist destinations.
The Berg – The Drakensberg. A stunning mountain range which reaches its full glory in the South-east of the country.
The Mountain – Table Mountain. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Possesses a weird mystical, calming quality. One of the many reasons everyone loves Cape Town.
SMS – Text message on your cell phone.
Spaza – 1) Corner shop/grocer 2) Cheap/inferior. Don’t spend money on Spaza stuff
Now, Now now, or Just Now – This is a trap. Any of these could refer any time in the foreseeable future. All it means is that we acknowledge something has to happen in the future. For example if your ride home says “I’ll give you a lift just now” don’t get up from your seat until he does- else you may be standing in the car park for hours. If you need something done urgently then insist it gets down Right Now.
Get with the lingo