10 South African Slang Words And Phrases You Should Know

If you’re visiting South Africa any time soon, it’s useful to know a few turns of phrase to help you along the way.

Thanks to the variety of languages spoken in South Africa, locals tend to borrow words from each language, resulting in slang words or phrases known as ‘South Africanisms’. If you’re visiting South Africa any time soon, it’s useful to know a few turns of phrase to help you along the way.

Lekker

Lekker [lek-uh] is a widely used term indicating that something... ‘great’ or … ‘nice’. For example, ‘The food was lekker’, or ‘We had a lekker day...

Howzit? 

Forget spaces and extra syllables when asking someone how it’s going – smash it all into one word, howzit.

Yebo: 

Yebo is “yes” in Zulu and commonly used for anything affirmative. Are you coming out tonight? Yebo!

Shap shap/sharp sharp: 

All good, everything’s in order.

Eish(!): 

An exclamation. If you’re hurt or exasperated, or surprised as someone’s telling a story – eish!

Shame: 

As in “what a shame.”

Braai: 

Braai is Afrikaans for barbecue. But traditional braai (as with barbecue) should be cooked with wood or coals, never propane! What’s on the braai? Steak, choppies (pork or lamb chops) or boerewors.

Yoh: 

Expresses surprise. Yoh! You scared me.

Now: 

Now and time are a flexible concept in South Africa, which is why “now” can be a bit confusing. There are three main versions of it: now, just now and now now.

Robot: 

Street light/traffic light (turn left at the robot).

Posted by on September 26, 2019

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