South African Slang

South African Languages

South Africa has 11 official languages:

Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sesotho sa, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga.

Our slang comes from a mix of these languages, and is understood by everyone in South Africa…

Here are some words to help you ‘speak South African’

Aweh — hello or “howzit”. A slang way of greeting someone
Bru — brother/friend, similar to ‘bro’ but cooler. Hey, my bru, howzit?
Boerewors — braai sausage. Afrikaans for “farmer-sausage”. Also referred to as Boeri or Wors
Boet — male friend, dude. See also: bru.
Biltong — dried meat which is delicious. Similar to beef-jerky but tastes better.
Babbelas — a hangover.
Ballie — old man/father; as in: My ballie is a kiff oke
Braai — barbeque. Hey Bru, we’re having a braai tonight, bring some dops.
Bunny chow — a loaf of bread filled with a curry stew.
Choon — to tell someone something. I chooned Mike to come to our braai.
Chow — to eat. Hey boet, what you chowing for lunch?
Cozzie — swimming costume. (Usually a speedo). Grab your cozzies, we’re going to the beach just now.
Doff — stupid. Don’t be doff bru!
Dop — an alcoholic drink or to drink. I’m going for a dop, you keen?
Droë wors — Afrikaans for ‘dry sausage’, similar to biltong
Doss, dossing — sleep or nap. I’m lank tired, I really need a doss
Eish! — an interjection expressing resignation. Eish bru, sorry about that
Fundi — expert (Zulu, ‘umfundisi’ meaning teacher or preacher) – That oke is a fundi on cars
Gogga, goggo — a crawling insect or bug.
Graze — food. Let’s get some graze before we head out
Heita –- “hello” / Howzit or “hi”.
Hundreds — good, fine. (As in 100 percent) I’m feeling hundreds after that doss
Howzit — THE South African greeting. How are you/Hello/How is it. Howzit boet!
Ja — yeah. Afrikaans for ‘Yes’
Jol — to party, play, or have fun. Are you jolling tonight? or We had such a jol fishing today
Just now sometime in the near future, but not necessarily immediately. Ok cool, I’ll see you just now
Kak — Afrikaans for Crap/Shit. Rubbish or nonsense. Stop talking kak or I’m feeling kak hey
Kiff — (adjective) cool, awesome, neat, great, wonderful. That’s such a kiff t-shirt!
Kwaito — genre of music, a mixture of South African hip hop, R&B, disco, reggae, house
Lank — a lot, very. I’m lank tired after that run or He has lank meat for the braai
Lekker — nice, good, great. Afrikaans for ‘tasty’. It was lekker to see you again boet
Mal — crazy, mad.
Mfowethu — brother. Zulu for “brother”. Awe mfowethu!
Mielie — corn on the cob / maize.
Muti – medicine, typically traditional African medicine. (Zulu muthi). I need some muti for my cold
Now-now — sometime in the near future, but not necessarily immediately. (Sooner than Just now) From the Afrikaans expression nou nou. I’ll call you now-now
Oke — guy/dude. Howzit okes, what’s up?
Pap — traditional maize porridge. Can also mean ‘deflated’. We’re having pap and wors at the braai or Your tyres are pap – go and pump them up!
Pozzy — house, home. Where one lives or hangs out. I must head back to my pozzy
Robot — traffic-light. (Not a humanoid machine that vacuums or plays chess)
Slap chips (slup chips) — French fries, usually soft, oily and covered in vinegar, served in a brown paper bag. ‘Slap’ is Afrikaans for “limp”
Sharp — goodbye. Shap mfowethu
Shot — thanks, thank you. Shot for the help bru!
Shebeen — township drinking-establishment. Sells cheap beer.
Shweet — sweet/cool. That’s a shweet t-shirt!
Slops — flip-flops, thongs.
Siff — disgusting, gross or ugly. Vrot tomatoes taste siff!
Shongololo — millipede (Means ‘to roll up’ in Zulu)
Stoep — porch, verandah, porch.
Sosatie — a kebab on a stick. Great for braais.
Vrot — Rotten, smelly. Or drunk. A vrot banana is not so lekker
Vying — going. I’m vying home tomorrow
Yebo — Yes. Means “yes” in Zulu
Zaamie/Sarmie — a sandwich. That was a lekker ham and cheese sarmie!