Slangs are words that are coined by the natives of a particular area and their use suits the context of how the word came into existence. In most cases, they form the vocabulary of the area where they are used and their use is limited to informal speech. For instance, different popular South African slang words are used in the different parts of the country.
Slang words in most cases are coined from the native languages of the area where they are used. For instance, the popular South African slang words are derived from the eleven official languages in the country. Some of these languages that have attributed to the slang words are English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Ndebele, Xhosa, Northern Sotho, Tsonga, Venda, Tswana and Swazi. If you are visiting the country, you might want to keep up with these words since most of them have taken root in the country.
Most popular South African slangs
If you happen to visit South Africa, these are the most common words that you ought to find out the meaning of since they are commonly used:
Wors: pronounced as vors, is a delicacy that is served in the country. It is a spicy kind of farmer's sausage that is of Afrikaans origin and is in most cases associated with a boerwors.
Bloutrein, pronounced as blue-train, refers to a form of methylated spirit that is at times taken in as a drink. This term could also be used to refer to a luxurious train that travels from Pretoria and Cape Town.
Babbelas, pronounced as bub-a-las, is a slang word from Zulu that is used to refer to hangover.
Believe it or not, Isit, pronounced as Iz-it, is a "Is it" in English. South Africans have made it a slang word to mean 'really'. It is one of the most commonly used phrases in the country.
Quagga is pronounced as Kwa-gh-uh is another South African slang word. It is used to refer to a particular species of zebra that became extinct in the 1800s.
Boerwors, pronounced as boor-uh-vors, refers to a special dish indigenously known as 'farmer's sausage.' The meal is enjoyed during the braai festivals.
Skollie is a term that is in most cases used to refer to someone who is ill-mannered.
Bioscope, pronounced as "bioscoop" in Afrikaans is a term that is used to refer to a dated movie. It could also be used to refer to the cinema.
You must have thought of Ubuntu as an operating system. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. Pronounced as "oo-bun-to" is a Zulu term that could be used to emphasise the spirit of humanity. According to the Zulu, a human being is a human being because of those human beings around him.
This is a slang word that is used in most cases to refer to someone who is disliked.
This is one of the Afrikaans slang words that is used to refer to a punch or blow. It is one of the most commonly used Afrikaans curse slang words. It could also be used to express astonishment, especially in a rude manner.
Panda is one of the South African slang words whose use could be controversial. The term was first used to refer to a white male for positive reasons. It is currently being used to refer to white males for the wrong reasons.
13. Kiff or Keif
Kiff or Keif, pronounced as kif, is a term that is used to refer to cool. In most cases, you will hear people say, "That is a keif outfit".
This is a work-oriented slang word that is used to refer to a boss.
15. Slap tjips
If you ever get to a restaurant, slap tjips is the ideal meal to order. It is a special kind of chips that is thicker and is usually made by soaking the chips in vinegar before they are prepared.
Bergie is a slang word that refers to the Berg mountain. The word is in most cases used to refer to a group of homeless people who are situated in Cape Town.
Eish, pronounced as aysh, is one of the most common slang ones that a visitor will notice. The term is mostly used to express astonishment. The term is derived from isiXhosa and isiZulu.
Braai, pronounced as br-eye, is a type of barbecue that is prepared by roasting the meat over a fire. The meat is roasted outdoor using coals in a fire. It is a common delicacy that most people enjoy to feast on, especially at outdoor festivities. Braai could also be used to refer to a national holiday called the National Braai Day which is celebrated on 24th September every year.
Bakki is pronounced as Bah-ki and is used to refer to a special kind of truck. It could also be used to refer to a special kind of container.
20. Just Now
If you ever happen to converse with a South African and they happen to use the term 'just now' in a context that refers to completing a task or duty on time, that will not be true. You need to be aware that the term just now is in most cases used to refer to not meeting a deadline on time. It is used to refer to completing the duty way later after the deadline.
21. Slap chips
If you happen to visit a restaurant and hear people order slap chips, do not think that they are referring to any special dish. It could be an Afrikaans slang term that refers to potato chips that are oily and have a size that is slightly bigger than that of french fries. In most cases, they are sold in restaurants and most seafood joints.
Shebeen is in most cases referred to as sha-bean. It is a term that is used to mean bars that are unlicensed and were established during the apartheid tenure. These bars were in most cases frequented by the blacks.
Lekker, pronounced as lek-uh, is a term that you will frequently hear most people in South Africa say. It is used to refer to 'great.' You will hear someone say: "That was a lekker experience".
24. Sho’t Left
This is a term that you should expect to hear if you are into the taxi business. The term is commonly used to mean "I want to get off just around the corner".
If you want to know that a South African is mad at you, be sure to check out for this term. The term is pronounced as agh!
If you happen to be in South Africa and hear any of these words being mentioned, do not mistake them for Afrikaans insults. Some could be used for contexts that do not mean to be offensive. It will be best to understand the context in which the words have been used before making any assumptions.
If you thought that the funny Afrikaans words are majorly the terms to consider as South African slang words, you are wrong. This list provides some of the most commonly used South African slang words that anyone visiting the country should familiarize with for purposes of efficient communication.