Tag Archives: Travel

Language tips if you visit South Africa


Ag (ah-ch): An expression of irritation or resignation. “Ag no man!” “Ag, these things happen”

Awê (ah-weh): A greeting. “Awê, brother!”

Babbelas (bah-bah-luss): Derived from the isiZulu word, ‘i-babalazi’, meaning drunk; adopted into the Afrikaans language as a term for ‘hangover’. “I have a serious babbelas!”

Bakkie (bah-kee): 1. A bowl. “Put those leftovers in a bakkie.” 2. A pick-up truck.  “We all jumped on the back of my dad’s bakkie and went to the beach.”

Befok (buh-fawk): 1. Really good, amazing, cool.

2. Crazy, mad, insane. “You tried to put your cat in the braai? Are you befok?”

Bergie (bear-ghee): Derived from berg, Afrikaans for ‘mountain’. Originally used to refer to vagrants living in the forests of Table Mountain, the word is now a mainstream term used to describe vagrants in Cape Town.

Bra (brah), bru (brew): Derived from broer, Afrikaans for ‘brother’; a term of affection for male friends; equivalent to dude. “Howzit my bru!”“Jislaaik bra, it’s been ages since I last saw you!”

Braai (br-eye): Barbeque (noun and verb). “Let’s throw a tjop on the braai.” “We’re going to braai at a friend’s house.”

Duidelik (day-duh-lik): Cool, awesome, amazing. “That bra’s car looks duidelik!”

Eish (ay-sh): isiZulu interjection; an exclamation meaning ‘oh my’, ‘wow’, ‘oh dear’, ‘good heavens’. A: “Did you hear? My brother got into a fight with a bergie!” B: “Eish! Is he hurt!”

Ek sê, Eksê (Eh-k-s-eh): Afrikaans for, ‘I say’. Used either at the beginning or end of a statement. “Ek sê my bru, let’s braai tomorrow.” “This party is duidelik, ek sê!”

Eina (Ay-nah): An exclamation used when pain is experienced, ‘ouch!’. “Eina! Don’t pinch me.”

Entjie (eh-n-chee): A cigarette. “Come smoke an entjie with me.”

Guardjie, gaatjie (gah-chee): The guard who calls for passengers and takes in the money on a minibus taxi.

hhayi-bo (isiZulu), hayibo (isiXhosa) (haai-boh): An interjection meaning ‘hey’; ‘no way’.“Hayibo wena, you can’t park there!”

Howzit (how-zit): A greeting meaning ‘hi’; shortened form of ‘how’s it going?’

Is it?: Used as acknowledgement of a statement, but not to ask a question – as one might assume. Most closely related to the English word ‘really’. A: “This guy mugged me and said I must take off my takkies!” B: “Is it?”

Ja (yaah): Afrikaans for ‘yes’. A: “Do you want to go to a dance club tonight?” B: “Ja, why not?”

Ja-nee (yah-near): Afrikaans for yes-no. Meaning ‘Sure!’ or ‘That’s a fact!’ Usually used in agreement with a statement. A: “These petrol price hikes are going to be the death of me.” B: “Ja-nee, I think I need to invest in a bicycle.”

Jol (jaw-l): (noun and verb) 1. A party or dance club. “We’re going to the jol.” “That party was an absolute jol!” 2. Used to describe the act of cheating. “I heard he was jolling with another girl.”

Jislaaik (yiss-like): An expression of astonishment. “Jislaaik, did you see that car go?”

Kak (kuh-k): 1. Afrikaans for ‘shit’.  Rubbish, nonsense, inferior, crap or useless. “What a kak phone.” “Your driving is kak.”  2. Extremely, very. “That girl is kak hot!”

Kwaai (kw-eye): Derived from the Afrikaans word for ‘angry’, ‘vicious’, ‘bad-tempered’.  Cool, awesome, great. “Those shoes are kwaai.”

Lekker (leh-kah): 1. Nice, delicious. “Local is lekker!” 2. Extremely, very. “South Africans are lekker sexy!”

Mielie (mee-lee): Afrikaans term for corn, corn-on-the-cob.

Nee (nee-ah): Afrikaans for ‘no’.

Naartjie (naah-chee): Afrikaans term for citrus unshiu, a seedless, easy peeling species of citrus also known as a ‘satsuma mandarin’.

Potjie, potjiekos (poi-kee-kaws): Afrikaans term for pot food/stew comprised of meat, chicken, vegetables or seafood slow-cooked over low coals in a three-legged cast iron pot.

Shame: A term of endearment and sympathy (not condescending). “Ag shame, sorry to hear about your cat.” “Oh shame! Look how cute your baby is!”

Shisa Nyama (shee-seen-yah-mah): isiZulu origin – while shisa means ‘burn’ or to be hot andnyama means ‘meat’, used together the term means ‘braai’ or ‘barbeque’. “Come on, let’s go to Mzoli’s for a lekker shisa nyama!”

Sisi (see-see): Derived from both isiXhosa and isiZulu words for sister, usisi and osisi (plural).“Hayibo sisi, you must stop smoking so many entjies!”

Sosatie (soo-saah-tees): Kebabs, skewered meat. “Let’s throw a few sosaties on the braai.”

Takkies (tack-kees): Trainers, sneakers, running shoes. “I want to start running, again but I need a new pair of takkies.”

Tjommie, chommie (choh-mee): Afrikaans slang for ‘friend’. “Hey tjommie, when are we going to the beach again?”

Vrot (frawt): Rotten; most often used to describe food that’s gone off or a state of being sick.“Those tomatoes are vrot.” “Champagne makes me feel vrot!”

Voetsek (foot-sek): Afrikaans for ‘get lost’, much like the British expression, ‘bog off’. “Hey voetsek man!”

Wena (weh-nah): isiXhosa and isiZulu for ‘you’. “Hey wena, where’s the R20 you owe me?”

Wys (vay-ss): Show, tell, describe. “Don’t wys me, I know where I’m going.”


Catching up on my bucket list

I haven´t been reading (so sad) but on a good note 2015 ended in the most superb way. Husband and I took child 2 on holiday, because child 1´s words were, and I quote “Europe in the winter? I hate the cold! I´ll go next year in June when it´s warm.” Roll eyes, yes my child because nine months of summer and three of autumn are just not enough for you.

After an eleven hour flight we landed in Lisbon and took child 2 sight seeing. Lisbon is beautiful even in winter, the weather was kind to us and the temperatures were warm enough during the day to get away with wearing jeans and a t-shirt. If you happen to visit that corner of the world pop in at Sintra, absolutely gorgeous. At the Ruinas do Convento do Carmo I discovered that child 2 has a weird sense of humour when we caught her taking selfies with all the tombs and mummies……… she takes after her father. Week one goes by too fast and before we know it we´re at the airport on the way to Barcelona.

Barcelona is almost a perfect city, there are magnificent buildings on every street one next to the other. We tried really hard not to look like tourists but the constant `ooh´ and `aah´ with our heads tilted up looking at the unique and beautiful architecture of that city might have given us away. The squares with the cafés, restaurantes and the tabaco shops are filled with life for what felt like 24/7 and the people are really nice. I loved the dog culture in Barcelona, dogs in the subway, on the busses, restaurants and shops. People take their dogs to play and socialise in the squares while they sit down for coffee and chat. As soon as we stepped in to the Sagrada Familia Cathedral no one would mistake us for locals, yes, we did the tourist thing and gaped like idiots at the sheer beauty and magnificence of the Cathedral. Five days later when we had to leave child 2 was refusing to leave and demanding that we have all our things brought over and live in Barcelona.

One more airport another flight and a few hours later we land in Milano. That is just weird because Malpensa is not Milano, to get to Milano Centrale requires a train and forty-five minutes later you arrive in Milano…. Anyway, freezing cold we run to the next train on our way for a quick stop in Modena. If you´re wondering what there was in Modena, well not much except for the Enzo Ferrari Museum, we took a shuttle to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello and hubby got to drive a Ferrari, I still see him smile and a twinkle in his eyes when he talks about it. He has converted child 2 to a Ferrari fan, because it was´t enough to know the name, now she knows which model she wants to buy when she grows up.

The train service in Italy is really good and on schedule we took the train to  Firenze. My absolutely favourite city. I fell in love with Firenze, the historical city is just amazing and just to think about the people that have stepped on those same stones and touched the same walls that I did… wow, just wow! After that to Siena, the medieval town is lovely and the fact that you can see all of it in two days is great.

There is something great about travelling in winter, we avoided the ten thousand tourists and actually got to see everything we wanted to see in the museums without having to shove people out of our way to do it.

Time to return to Lisbon and visit our family which we didn´t do in the first week and back home from the cold to the scorching heat of south east Africa.

On a sad note, we had initially intended to visit Istanbul but when the situation there seemed a little unstable we changed our plans and extended our time in Italy instead. I hope that Turkey will soon be safe again .

So all that is left to say is I hope you have a wonderful 2016!