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South African Lingo!

28th January 2021 tagged blogs, braai, funny things we say and do, robots, south africa, South African blog

South African Lingo, man!

Have you ever actually taken a step back and realised what weird and funny things South Africans say and do? 

I am South African myself, however I have never really taken much notice of the lingo we use on a daily basis. Whilst speaking to a British person a couple of years ago, during work, I mentioned a ‘jol’. I didn’t catch what I had said directly after saying it and he obviously had no clue what I was going on about. It was only a few hours later when I thought of the conversation, that I realised he must have been wondering what a jol is, FYI- a ‘jol’ is a big party!

Additionally, when growing up in South Africa we used to shop at our intersections, which if you haven’t heard yet, we call robots. Shopping at these intersections provides us with a range of different products, such as cell phone chargers, juice boxes, cowboy hats, coat hangers and say if you are heading to the beach and forgot beach chairs? Not a problem bru, you can pick one up on the way. 

As for the robot thing, I suppose that traffic lights do look a little like robots. 

Johannesburg Vend

Shopping at the robots






Much like the robot story, South Africans like to call a roundabout, a circle – ‘just go around the circle’. It’s simple, I guess and you can’t really argue. 

Traffic Circles

The ‘Circle’






I am sure that if you have ever visited South Africa you would have been introduced to a bunny chow (well at least Durbs by the sea where it originated). Let me clarify, that there are zero bunnies harmed in the making of these. There are so many rumours as to how this fascinating chow came about. It is said that members of an Indian caste known as Banias initially served the dish in restaurants, and then ‘chow’ meaning food. Others have said that it was a way of transporting food and selling food to people under the apartheid law. The one I find interesting and probably the one I like the most is, some insist the term Bunny originated from the fact that the bunny chow can only be eaten with hands, imitating a rabbit. My reasoning being that I have a bunny, and he is adorable. 

We’ll never know the full truth, but one thing is known: bunny chow will live on as a Durban icon.

Bunny chow

The Durban Bunny Chow








An illustration of ‘Now, Now Now and Just Now.’


























To summarise the meaning of Now, Now Now and Just Now; Africa time!


Ever noticed how we put ‘hey’ at the end of almost every sentence? ‘I could not believe it hey’ or ‘what’s cooking on the braai hey?’ It doesn’t matter if it’s a question or a statement. It’s just weird hey! The other word is ‘shame’. We like to use this in good terms and in bad terms. Didn’t pass your exam? ‘ag shame!’ Looking at a cute puppy? ‘ah shame’. I’m not sure we understand the meaning of the actual word.

SA lingo

Language that only South Africans will understand






And last but by no means the least, it’s the braai!

As a saffa, I can tell you that we braai almost everything! From meat (all types and flavours) to ‘braai broodjies’. This consists of a sandwich placed on the braai, filled with tomato, onion and cheese! Yum!

There is one thing about a braai though, and usually this is the comparison between a BBQ and a braai. When attending a braai, please ensure you have had food before or take some snacks with. South Africans love a chat and a ‘dop’ before. You might get a little hungry waiting. There will always be a fire but whether that meat gets on the fire or not, is debatable. I have been to some braais where I have only ended up eating around midnight. They are so much fun and a great way to pass time, spend time with family and friends and maybe get some delicious food.

If your’e not sure what a ‘dop’ is, go and ask a South African if she/he would like to have one with you. The answer is more than likely going to be a yes!

Friends and Family braaiing

So there you have it folks. South African lingo at it’s finest!