The one thing us South Africans are good at is ripping ourselves off…
Please note that to some this might seem outrageous or scary, this is in fact funny and who we are, we laugh at everything…
You call a bathing suit a “swimming costume”
You call a traffic light a “robot”
The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are
The SABC TV station advertises and shows highlights of the program you just finished watching
You get cold easily. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is Arctic weather.
You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you’ve never had any.
You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them.
You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Madela
You produce a R100 note instead of your driver’s licence when stopped by a traffic officer.
You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.
You have to hire a security guard whenever you park your car.
Hijacking cars is a profession.
The petrol in your tank may be worth more than your car.
More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election.
People have the most wonderful names: Christmas, Goodwill, Pretty, Wednesday, Blessing, Brilliant, Gift, Precious, Innocence and Given.
You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction.
Travelling at 120 km/h you’re the slowest vehicle on the highway.
You’re genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it
A bullet train is being introduced, but we can’t fix potholes.
The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday.
You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital.
You have to prove that you don’t need a loan to get one.
Prisoners go on strike.
You don’t stop at a red traffic light, in case somebody hijacks your car.
You consider it a good month if you only get mugged once and had electricity for most of it…
…and then some explanations…
Okay, so this is (strictly speaking) not a joke but the true lingo of all South Africans. For those outside the country’s borders, remember these ?
There will be plenty of robots at a U.N. summit in Johannesburg this month where summiteers can pick up a few naartjies and maybe get a little respite from those wildly driven bakkies. English is one of South Africa’s 11 official languages, but English-speakers at the World Summit on Sustainable Development might have a hard time recognising some of the words common to the local version.
When a South African tells you to turn left at the robot, for example, don’t expect to see a Star Wars figure – it’s a traffic light. The pick-up trucks that race around the city like it’s a Formula One course are called “bakkies” (pronounced bucky). And the tangerines rowdier rugby fans try to chuck at referees — when they’re not tackling them — are known as naartjies.
Like a host of wooden curios, naartjies and other fruit are sold at many busy intersections. The language borrows freely from South Africa’s other main languages, including Zulu, Xhosa and the guttural, Dutch-derived Afrikaans, which has given the country words such as “lekker” (nice), “broer” or “bru” (brother) and “braai” (barbecue). Invited to a braai, newcomers will almost certainly be faced with “boerewors” (a snake-like sausage), maybe “pap” (a stiff porridge), and perhaps some “biltong” snacks to start (dried, salted meat made of anything from ostrich to warthog)
Johannesburg also has its own clutch of names: from Joburg to Jozi and Egoli (the city of gold). The city is full of okes (chums or buddies) and chinas, which is originally from the Cockney rhyming slang “china plate”, meaning mate. Some will be wearing takkies (trainers/sneakers), while the more glamorously dressed are known affectionately as kugels, a Yiddish word for pudding.
First-time visitors to the city are often flummoxed by a friendly “Howzit?”. Roughly translated as “How are you?,” the confused response from newcomers is more often “It is good”.
Those in the know could impress by instead replying “Sharp Sharp”, pronounced “Shup”, meaning great. And delegates who really want to fit in could try “yebo” or “ya” instead of yes.
Stay in the country a little longer and visitors will realise South Africans have a skewed sense of time too. “Just now” means in the near future, not immediately. “Now, now” is a little sooner than just now but still not straight away and “Now, now, now, now” probably means in a few minutes. So if the world’s leaders say they hope agreement at the Summit will be achieved “just now”, delegates will know they have a wait ahead of them.
And if any say they have “babalaas”, you know it’s been a hard night. It’s a hangover.
What can I say, it is an interesting country filled with interesting people… I now realise why it is so hard to understand me sometimes… eek