Home South Africa You Know You’re in South Africa When You Hear These 6 Words

You Know You’re in South Africa When You Hear These 6 Words

by Anna Stember
South Africa landscape

After spending just under one month in South Africa, I have realized that this country definitely has quite a few similarities to my home in Portland, Oregon. People are friendly, coffee is a must, green trees line the streets, and eating delicious food is a priority. Although there are (surprisingly) plenty of comforting parallels to home, there are often things that make me stop and remind myself that, “yes, Anna, you truly are in Africa.”

Here are 6 slang words that you hear and you know you are in South Africa:

  1. “Howzit”: just another term for “what’s up?” or “how is it going?” Short, convenient, and squishes a couple words together into one easy phrase. I am definitely planning on bringing this slang word back home with me from South Africa.
  2. “Darlings”: First off, I LOVE how often South Africans use the word “darling.” It is a greeting, a way to get a group’s attention, and a compliment. Your teacher will call you darling, the person working the register will call you darling, a passerby will call you darling. I have to say, I do not mind it one bit!
  3. “Module”: This is just another word for a university course or class. Unexciting, but it took me a few tries to realize the professor was referring to the course and not a math problem.
  4. “Tea”: My teachers will use this word to signify a break from class. Unfortunately, it does not often involve actual tea, but (wow) I wish it did.
  5. “Braai”: Braai is a term for a South African barbecue. People will buy different kinds of meat to cook over the hot coals. It takes plenty of focus, a knack for knowing when the meat is sizzling just perfectly, and a motivation to make the best meal for your friends. It is delicious and one of the best things you can do while you are here!
  6. Lekker”: this means good, nice, great, fine, quality- you get the point!

Slowly but surely, my goal is to adopt some of these words into my regular vocabulary. Hopefully it will make me feel like I get to bring a little piece of South Africa home with me at the end of the semester!

This post was contributed by Anna Stember, who is spending her spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

South Africa Slang | AIFS Study Abroad

1 comment

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1 comment

Betty Johnson March 4, 2018 - 6:03 pm

Oh, Anna darling,
I just love hearing about your amazing experiences in South Africa. I know you will always remember these precious memories.

Thank you Anna for sharing.

Grandma Betty

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