South African lingo

(Image: Gauteng Tourism Authority)

While English is the lingua franca, cultural diversity has created a South African language of its own. Key words include:

  • Biltong – like beef jerky, just much better
  • Boerewors – sausage made with minced meat and spices
  • Born-frees – children born after the advent of democracy in 1994
  • Braai – both the act of coal-grilling meat, and the event at which it is eaten. A barbecue
  • Bro or boet – brother, meaning friend
  • Howzit – how are you?
  • Ja – yes (originally Afrikaans)
  • Jol – to go out on the town; to party
  • Just now – any time in the near future
  • Lekker – tasty or cool
  • Mzansi – a Zulu word meaning "south", used to refer to South Africa
  • Pap – a stiff porridge made with maize-meal and best served with a tomato-and-onion gravy or a meat stew. It is a South African staple
  • Robot – traffic light
  • Sawubona – a greeting in Zulu. Sharp! Great!
  • Sho’t left – a stop close by, derived from taxi-commuter lingo
  • Spaza shop – an informal convenience store
  • Tekkies/takkies – athletic shoes or trainers
  • Yebo – yes (in Zulu)