South Africa has a very rich cultural population, which embodies the meaning of “diversity”. This speaks true for the various slang words that almost every South African knows and loves. Taken from the eleven official languages of South Africa, these slang words are some of the funniest and most expressive phrases in the world!
A Zulu phrase meaning not on your life. Usually said with a lot of shock and disbelief.
Example “Aikona man, did she really do that?!”
Ag no man:
This is the Afrikaans version of the phrase no-man. This is usually said with emphasis on the “gggg” sound, and used when someone is expressing pity, irritation, or resignation.
Example: “Ag, no man, stop it”
Taken from the iZulu word ‘ibhabhalazi’, Babbelas is used to describe a very severe hangover. This is often the consequence of n really good Braai.
Dried cured red meat which is a delicacy in South Africa. The meat is cured, spiced, and dehydrated and is usually made from game, beef, or ostrich. It’s much loved by all South Africans and especially enjoyed during a Springbok rugby match.
This is the national pastime of South Africans. It’s similar to a barbeque where meat or other food is roasted on an open fire using a grid. To have a braai means to have a party where meat will be braai’d and a few traditional South African beers will be drunk.
A South African Indian dish that consists of curry that’s placed inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread. The curry is usually quite strong, even the mild option!
Two contradictory Afrikaans words that translates into “yes-no”, which is generally used in conversation to agree or disagree with someone.
Example: “Ja Nee, I don’t know hey”
A saying that can be quite confusing to non-South Africans. This phrase means somewhere in the “possible” near future. This can either be in a few seconds, or a few days.
Example: I’ll be there now now (After I wash my hair, clean my room, and eat dinner)
The South African words for a traffic light.
No, we don’ have dedicated crossings for Zebra’s, it’s the word that South Africans use for a pedestrian crossing as it has the same stripe pattern as Zebra.
Ready to test your South African slang? Book a stay at your favourite ANEW Hotel & Resorts property and experience authentic South African culture in action.