Friday, June 25, 2010

Game on! FIFA, Vuvuzelas & South Africanisms...

It's been an exciting and extraordinary World Cup so far, many of the favourites having been knocked out in the opening round of the FIFA tournament.  Then again, it’s still game on for England, so start your safari in the Rainbow Nation with a match and a pint or two, and get your eyes round some useful South Africanisms. Live and direct from the Backpackers Guide To South Africa  - we'd like to kick off with a big shout out (and blow on the old vuvuzela, which is very much here to stay!!!) to Alun Blumenfeld and team! 

BABBELAS (BUBBLE-US): Hangover. Usage: "Jeez, I had too many dops last night. I've got a hectic babbelas."

JA-WELL-NO-FINE: Nobody really knows what this means, because it doesn't really mean anything. But we like saying it.

BLIKSEM (BLUK-SEM): If you're in a pub and you accidentally spill a beer belonging to a man with a thick neck, he may say: "Do you want me to bliksem you?" Don't respond. Just run. Run for your life. It's the Afrikaans word for hit or strike or punch.

BOET: Means "brother" in Afrikaans. An affectionate (though not too much) term for a friend. It's like saying "dude" or "buddy".

DINGES (DING-US): An indeterminate, nondescript thing or term for an object whose name you've momentarily forgotten. Like this: "Please pass me my dinges there." "What?" "My dinges. I want to blow it." "You mean your vuvuzela?" "Yes, my vuvuzela."

DOP: If someone says "Do you want to go for a dop?" always say yes. It means you'll be going for a drink.

GATVOL: Literally means "hole fill" in Afrikaans. Means you've had enough of something that's making you angry. Usage: "Boet, I'm gatvol of this ref's bad decisions." Again with the harsh "g".

HUNDREDS: Normally repeated twice in a sentence as in "Hundreds, bru, hundreds." It expresses either total agreement with what someone has just said, or confirmation that your life is all good (eg: "How are you?" "Ah, hundreds, man, hundreds"). Can also be used as a way of simply saying yes.

EINA (AY-NA): Expression of pain, as in "ouch". 

JUST NOW: An indeterminate amount of time. If a waiter says "I'll be with you just now", it could mean anything from five minutes, to 10, to never.

LADUMA: Celebratory exclamation when a goal is scored. For best effect, try to hold the "u" for as long as possible on one breath, so that the "ma" comes out as a desperate choke.

LANK: Beyond cool is lank cool. Also means a large amount of, as in "There were lank vuvuzelas at the game last night."

EISH (AYSH): Common term that denotes a wide range of emotions from joy and surprise to confusion and anger. When in doubt, use it.

EITA (AY-TA): Casual African greeting, like "Hey". Actually, it's the same as "Howzit".

IS IT?: Actually pronounced "uzz ut". It's a casual way of saying "Oh really?".

JOL: Party. Can be used as either a noun or verb, as in "That was a lekker jol" or "I went jolling last night :)

LEKKER (LAKKA): Great, awesome, amazing.

MZANSI: Popular term for South Africa. Best describes our country's gritty energy and loud African spirit.

NOOIT (NOYT): Expression of disbelief or disdain. As in "Aah, nooit! There's chewing gum on my seat!"

NOW-NOW: Not to be confused with "Just now". Now-now is a much smaller indeterminate amount of time. Hmm. Don't worry - you'll get it.

PHUZA (POO-ZA): A drinking session. "Phuza Thursday" is a noble tradition in South Africa. Try to uphold it while you're here.

ROBOT: When you're asking for directions and someone says: "Left at the third robot," it is not because our streets are overrun with menacing cyborgs made by Japanese scientists. No. A robot is simply our word for traffic light.

SHARP-SHARP!: Okay. This is a complicated one. An expression of agreement. Or a greeting. Or a way of saying goodbye. Or a way of saying "Okay, sure." Or a way of ... forget it.

SIFF: Gross, disgusting. "Check, that guy is picking his nose." "Siff, boet."

Still not decided on your dream safari in South Africa - start here...

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