Back when I spent time in the UK, I was eating breakfast in a hotel one morning when the waitress carrying a coffee pot asked if I would like some coffee. "Just now" I replied with my glintiest grin. "Ok" she said and promptly poured the coffee into my cup.
I was on the verge of a massive irritation attack - something which I am prone to at times - when I realised this poor Moldovan/Polish/Czech/Hungarian/Bulgarian/Serbian woman had probably never heard the term in her life before. In fact, no one outside of South Africa knows what it means. And that's not the only time we confuse them: walking kaalvoet in the lank rainy weather, picking up stompies, stupid mamparas etc leave them scratching their heads, wondering what the devil we're on about.
So for the benefit of those arriving in South Africa for the World Cup, a quick course is required in learning to understand the South African babble we throw your way.
Much like original English adopted (stole) tonnes of words from other languages, South African English has ripped words from the dialects and tongues abundant in this beautiful land of ours.
Afrikaans would be the language from which English has borrowed the most words here. We drive bakkies, not pickups, utes or light delivery vehicles. We eat biltong, not jerky. The flossies make salads while the okes cook the braaivleis, after downing a few Klippies. It's pretty shweet.
Collectively, our friends/pals/tjommies' names are bru, boet and china.
When we shout "chips" we mean watch out, but if we say it we're giving you either crisps or French fries. Oh, and our farts don't smell - our baffs hone.
Thin people are skraal and old battered cars are skedonks. While you deal with other people's drama, we deal with their snot en trane. Your pictures hang skew while ours are squiff, and you wear trainers instead of tekkies. We waai when we're woes. You leave when you're angry.
YOU arrive at your friend's house to see their young mongrel, and are hungover after a meal and a few drinks. WE pull in at our mate's pozzie, and when we meet their new pavement special puppy we go "ag shame" or we think it's sif. After a graze and a few dops we feel a bit sat and we crash, expecting a babbelas in the morning.
Coming from KZN where most people in the province speak Zulu, it took me moving to Johannesburg before I referred to a bulldozer as anything other than a gandaganda (correct word is ugandaganda). To this day I still refer to a doctor as the dokotela and an injection as a jova (umjovo). Meetings are often referred to as indabas (a bastardised plural form of the word), motorbikes as istootoot (terrible vomity Anglicised version of isithuthuthu) and trains as stimele (another bad adoption of isitimela). When we're sick we take muti and then dudu.
Isitemela. Photo by iguide.travel
So although it may sound like we're speaking foreign, it's not too higher grade. Print this useful piece out and keep it as you flit around our good land, come across our good people, and wish you were South African.