A few days here is South Africa at a backpackers in Cape Town and you can’t but help pick up a bit of the local lingo and the way things are said here is SA. Ja ja I hear you think. See you already have got it!
You might have realised by now that South Africa is a melting pot and the way we talk is from all our peoples. So you are going to find even in our English some Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Greek, Portuguese, Flemish, Dutch, French, or Gaelic words. (this list is not exhaustive!)
Firstly instead of hello, Good day you should say Howzit? This is one word. Say it with joy. That’s what we do.
Delete BBQ and replace with Braai. On a Braai you cook Oepsies, boerewors and other yummies. That is if you haven’t spoilt your appetite with all that biltong that you just ate . So translation: Oepies are these amazing sticks of bacon with really yummy chutney.. and they are extremely more-ish. Boerewors are superior sausages and biltong is a dried meat if you have ever had jerky this is much much better. Biltong is really lekker!! That guy/girl/person of attraction at Ashanti’s pool is also lekker. 😉
Of course when you get directions people are going to talk about circles and robots. Too cool – the whole country is full of robots!! It’s a bit disappointing when you realise that they are traffic lights and the circles aren’t something done by aliens in field but roundabouts.
If someone thanks you, say Pleasure … but remember to roll that r. And smile. Everyone in Africa smiles. And why wouldn’t you when you are staying at Ashanti backpackers extraordinaire!
If you want to relax … well man you just want to chill. Don’t go disturbing that vibe. Of course our rooftop bar is the best place to have a Savanah and look at that tablecloth on the mountain. (the table cloth is the cloud on table mountain) Of course you may have a favourite possie at the bar and when you get there tonight someone might be sitting in your seat!
But you may want to go joling. Now you got to say it like this Jaaawling. Joling is going out and having fun, a bit of a dance, a party, a great night out. Of course the bar at Ashanti is a complete jol.
The one phrase that is really takes some getting use to is “is it” .. just whack that out there in a middle of a conversation to let the folks know you are paying attention. This will really play with your head for a while!
Of course sometimes you are going to be told something is kak. Now if you are Irish the words the same but you know here is beautiful South Africa well we say it much better with more meaning. Try and put an ak with it and my my you may never go home.
You know you are getting the hang of it when you ring home and your Mum has no idea what you just said. Come and try it and find out for yourself!