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  • NRL Makaleng


This is a series of posts you definitely do not want to miss out on, especially if you are planning a trip to South Africa soon! WanderfullySo will be telling you what makes our beautiful country so unique. We will be starting off the series with something truly unique to South Africa, and that is the slang!


A South Africanism is a word or phrase which is a characteristic of, particular to or originating from magical South Africa. When visiting South Africa or taking a WanderfullySo virtual tour, you will hear a lot of different and strange sounding words that are uniquely South African and it can become very confusing, even to us locals at times!


The best way to describe South Africanisms is to teach them to you, so below are a few of the common ones in alphabetical order.


Ag shame: This indicates shame, pity, or cuteness. For example, if someone told you that they were feeling a bit under the weather, your response could be “Ag shame, hope you feel better soon”. You can also use it when saying a baby is cute, for example, “Ag shame, your daughter is so cute.”


Babelas: Everyone has experienced one of these at least once! Babelas, pronounced bubba-luss, is what we call a hangover. If you are going to be doing a lot of partying, expect to hear and use this word a lot. Here is an example: “I had too much fun at the braai last night, I am so babelas!” Before we continue, braai is also a South Africanism for barbeque.


Check: When a South African tells you “to check” something, it means that they want you to look at it or pay attention to them. “Check these awesome virtual tours WanderfullySo has to offer!” is a great example!


Dop: Expect to hear this one quite a bit, especially if you are visiting during December, otherwise known as Festive. An alcoholic beverage is also called a dop in South Africa. How would you use this in a sentence? “Let’s go have a dop or two at the bar?”.


Eina: Pronounced ay-na, simply put this means ouch or what you would say to represent getting hurt. In a sentence you can use it like this: “Eina! My finger!”


Gesuip: This means very drunk. You pronounce it ghe-sayp. “I was gesuip at the New Years Eve party.”


Howzit: Another way we South Africans greet each other. Basically, it’s hello and how are you combined, making your greeting shorter. “Howzit my bru?” My bru, is also slang for my brother, which we use when referring to our friends.


Just now: Before we start with this South Africanism, it is important to remember that there are three different versions of now! When a South African tells you “just now”, it means soon, like roughly in the next 1-3 hours. “I’ll be taking an important phone call just now.”


Lekker: Another South Africanism that has multiple meanings such as delicious, nice and cool. How do you pronounce it? Leh-kerr, you need to make sure you roll the “r” at the end.


Now-now: The second version of now. When we use this term, we mean we will get to a task sooner than just now, like within the next 30-60 minutes. For example, “We will be leaving for the beach now now.”


Pap: Pronounced pup, this is maize meal porridge which is a staple for many South Africans. It can be eaten as breakfast, lunch and supper. You will often come across it at a braai as well.


Right now: The last version of now for South Africans. This means either immediately or within the next 5-10 minutes. “I am going to book a free concierge session with WanderfullySo right now!”


Sjoe: This word is used as a general exclamation and is pronounced shoe. An example of this in a sentence could be, “Sjoe! It is hot in Cape Town today!” or “Sjoe! I enjoyed my WanderfullySo virtual tour so much!”


Yebo: This is another way of saying yes. You will hear a lot of South Africans say yebo yes when exploring the beautiful cities, whether from your home or in person.

Now that you are a bit clued up about South African slang, you are ready for your holiday! Do not forget that you can also use virtual travel as a means of touring Cape Town, or even to help you plan for an upcoming trip you might have planned, whether it be for work, study or play. So make sure to book your free concierge session with WanderfullySo to get you started!


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