Friday, February 26, 2010

South African Slang; Pasop, bra!

From the Guardian:
Ag (a-ch). Exclamation similar to the English urgh. Pronounce the Afrikaans "g" as you would "ch" in loch. "Ag, no man! He's missed a sitter!"
Amasi (a-mar-si). Or simply maas. Traditional drink made from soured milk. It can be drunk on its own or served with phutu – plain cooked maize meal – and sugar for breakfast.
Babbelas (bub-a-lars). Hangover - usually rather a bad one. From the isiZulu word for hangover isibhabhalazi. "Hello, hello. Great party last night. How's your head? Are you a bit babbelas?"
Bra (brah) or bru. Nothing to do with underwear at all, but an informal term for "my friend" or "mate", deriving from "brother". 'He's my bra but that team he supports is rubbish." Bru stems from the Afrikaans for brother, broer.
Chips! Chips!. Nothing you'll find in the kebab shop around the corner but an expression of alarm or warning. "Chips! Chips! He's off-side"
Doing a Bafana (bah-fah-nah). To demand more money for average service. Derives from the reputation of the weak South Africa side, the Bafana-Bafana, which has yet to make it beyond the first round of a World Cup. "A tip? You're doing a Bafana!"
Diski (dis-ky). Football in township slang. "I love diski. I watch as many games as I can."
Dwaal (dwahrl). To not be paying attention, or for one's mind to wander. Derives from the Afrikaans meaning "to wander". "I got lost in Moses Mabhida Stadium; I was in such a dwaal I didn't look at the signs."
Eish (ay-sh). An isiZulu and isiXhosa expression good for everything from resignation, to exasperation, to pleasant surprise. "Eish! I can't believe they're playing so badly," or, "Eish! That goal was incredible. Think this could be our year."
Eina (ay-nah). Ouch or sore. Afrikaans, but possibly from Khoikhoi before that. "Eina! Did you see where that ball hit him?" or "Is your head eina?"
Fundi (foon-dy). An expert or knowledgeable person, from the isiZulu and isiXhosa word for teacher, umfundisi. "Eh? You're bit of a fundi on the stats then, aren't you?"
Gatvol (gut-foll). Fed up and irritated. Literally meaning in Afrikaans "hole full". Pronounce the "g" as the Scottish "ch" in loch. "We've been here for hours and this queue isn't going anywhere. I'm gatvol."
Gogga (gog-ga). Any insect or creepy crawly. Pronounce the "g" as the Scottish "ch" in loch. "Did you see that gogga in the hotel room the morning? It was walking away with my shoes."
Howzit?. Common informal greeting that is a contraction of "how is it?'" More of a greeting than a specific enquiry. "Hey! Howzit man? I haven't seen you since the Confederations Cup."
  Hayibo (hi-ie-boh). Expression of disbelief or irritation. "Hayibo! Ferdinand? Captain?"
Isit (iz-it). An exclamation of surprise, similar in meaning to "is that so?". "Isit? Really? I didn't know Beckham's first match for England was against Moldova."
Jawelnofine (yar-well-no-fine). Means anything from "yes" to "ok, yes, but I think you're being an idiot". "Jawelnofine. Stay out until 4am tonight but remember we're flying to Port Elizabeth at 8am tomorrow."
Jol (jorl). From the Afrikaans meaning "to party" or "to have a good time". "C'mon bru, we're going jolling tonight."
Laduma! (la-do-muh). He scores! Shouted at every goal and originates from the isiZulu for "it thunders". "It's in! It's in! Laduma!"
Kif. Geat, good. "That was such a kif game. I'm so glad we came."
Koeksister (cook-sister). Confectionary similar to Indian gulab jamun made of plaited, risen dough deep-fried and dipped into ice-cold sugar syrup. Brought to South Africa by Malay workers, the name derives from the Afrikaans koek (cake) and sissen (to sizzle), after the sound the hot dough makes upon meeting the cold syrup.
Lekker (lack-er). From the Afrikaans meaning great or good - an expression of approval. "Lekker man. You have a jersey signed by Steven Pienaar? Very cool."
Makarapa (mak-ah-rah-pah). Highly decorated headgear worn by football fans - fashioned out of hard hats and customised to match team colours. Makarapas have their roots among migrant labourers working on Johannesburg's gold mines.
Mampara (mum-pa-ruh). Fool or idiot, suspected to be Sotho in origin. "Hey, Rooney! Stop behaving like such a mampara."
Muti (moo-ti). Medicine, from the isiZulu muthi. "I need to get some headache muti; I'm seriously babbelas."
Now-now. Reference to something that will happen soon, usually within a few minutes but also within in a couple of hours. "We need a goal and it's coming now-now. "
Oke (oak) and ou (oh). Bloke or guy, from Afrikaans. "I couldn't see that penalty; that oke in front of us was standing up."
Pasop (pus-orp). Watch out. "Pasop! Carry on and you'll get a red card."
Quagga (kwa-gh-uh). An extinct species of zebra (Equus quagga) that once habituated the Cape but was hunted out in the 1800s. Pronounce the Afrikaans "g" as you would "ch" in loch. "Bafana-Bafana? Win the World Cup? You're seeing quaggas, mate."
Robot. Traffic light. "There are hawkers selling great caps near the robot."
Shibobo (she-bor-bor). To nutmeg an opponent and make a fool out of them. "Heh! Look at that shibobo."
Skollie (skor-ly), skelm (skeh-lim) and skabenga (ska-beng-ga) Criminals or people up to no good. "Did that skollie pinch your wallet?' or "What a skabenga – he's headbutted him." "Bunch of skelms!"
Tekkies (tack-ies). Trainers. "Hold on, I'll just grab my tekkies."
Taxi Sometimes a car, but usually refers to mini-bus taxis, which are used throughout South Africa. Taxis are not always roadworthy and can be driven dangerously.
Ubuntu (oo-boon-to). Southern African philosophy with the central tenet that a person is a person because of other people – no man is an island. Ubuntu was central to the post-Apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. From the isiZulu word for goodness. "I gave away my tickets in the spirit of ubuntu."
Vuvuzela (voo-voo-zeh-la). A long, plastic horn blown loudly at every football match in South Africa and thought to have been modelled on an antelope horn. No self-respecting football fan should be without one.
Wena (where-nuh). You, from isiZulu. "Hey wena. Would like a beer?"
Wors (vors). Traditional Afrikaans sausage now eaten by everyone. Flavoured with spices such as coriander and chilli, the full name is boerewors, which translates directly as farmers' sausage. A wors roll is a length of wors in a white bread roll, topped with onions, mustard and tomato sauce. You may also have pap (cooked maize meal) and wors with a tomato and onion sauce.
Xhosa (korsa). South African tribe dominant in the Eastern Cape province. The letter "x" is pronounced with a click emanating from the sides of the mouth, as if you were clicking at a horse. "My friend Lusanda is Xhosa; she speaks isiXhosa."
Yebo (yeah-boh). Yes, yeah. "Yebo – I've got the match tickets in my pocket, don't worry."
Zakumi - the official World Cup mascot. Designed by Andries Odendaal, Zakumi is an anthropomorphised leopard with green dreadlocks. His name comes from "ZA", the code for South Africa, and "kumi", which means 10 in various African languages.


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