(Alone, solitary) To be by yourself. E.g “I was on my ACE at the club last night.”Ag ('A*g')
A form of expressing irritation, indicating the cuteness of a baby or even used when experiencing slight pain.
(No way, absolutely not). From indigenous Nguni language meaning “No”.
(Greeting) "Aita brah!" – what’s up ? Originated in the townships among the youth, and still used.
(Abbreviation for Avocado)
(Greeting) "Aweh my bru" (Hello my friend) Also howzit, yooit, hoesit, yo.
The hangover from hell, and sometimes fondly referred to as a Barbie.
Ballie (with the “ball” part with a “u”, as in “lull” – bâllee)
(Parents, your folks, old people) Eg. “My girlfriend’s ballie is really old.”
(Bank packet) The plastic packets that banks issue coins in are used to sell dagga in. Don’t act like you guys don’t know what this is.
(From Afrikaans - Wild, crazy, excellent pr even describing the sanity of an individual) We all know someone that I befokked.
(Good, higher quality or even denoting more of something you are drinking – specifically alcoholic beverages) Bliksem
(Afrikaans - Strike, hit, punch) In Afrikaans, a “bliksemstraal” is a bolt of lightning. E.g I will bliksem you if you don’t listen to me.
(Money) Bob is based on the old monetary system in South Africa. Five bob was five shillings.
(Afrikaans - Bush) But also crazy , also making reference to South African soldiers who were psychologically damaged in the Angolan war. "Going bos" , "Going bossies" or being “bosbefok” (going bush crazy)
(Diminutive of “boy”, having used the Afrikaans method to indicate “small”) Could be used by older males affectionately towards younger males. However it was sometimes used during apartheid as a derogotary term.
(Surf brother, associate, peer, colleague, friend in liquid solidarity) In fact, anyone on this planet.
Bru ('Broo'), broer , brah, bro, bree, brahdeen
(Brother, friend, mate, china, buddy) This is another famous, popular South African word. Variations include brah, bru, broer, bror, bro, bra, brra and brah. It's from the Afrikaans word for brother (broer), which is pronounced 'broo' with a roll of the rrr at the end. That's why lazy English speakers adopted only the 'broo' sound. Variations in tone emanate from all over South Africa. It is now spelt bru by most SA surfers. In the Eastern Cape, a semantic hotbed of slang, it’s often pronounced 'brorr', 'bree', 'bra' (same as underwear) and 'braaah', with a drawn out vowel.
Indian or Malay curry inside a hollowed out loaf of white bread. Surfers from Durban grew up on this food. You get served the curry in the bread, with a square chunk taken from the inside, which you can use to dunk in the curry. Best when the bread is fresh. Bunny chow can also refer to "slap" (soft) chips in bread.
When you get caught. Another meaning is to "bust" a pipe, ie, be the first to smoke the pipe.
(Screwed, broken, done over) "Greg wiped out in 15' Dungeons. It was carrots for him." (Greg took a heavy wipeout). "If you hit my dog again, I will give you carrots." (I'll beat you up)
(Indian person) Common in Durban. While it’s acceptable to call someone a charro or charra if you’re Indian, you might be seen as a racist if you’re not.
(Look, do you see?) "You check" (See what I mean? Do you follow? Are you with me?) or "Check this out" (Look at this) or "Are you checking me skeef?" (Are you looking at me crooked - do you want to fight me?)
(Woman) "Check that cherrie China." (Did you see that woman over there friend?) Old word.
(A friend) And a colleague or acquaintance, or someone you don’t know at all. It can be used aggressively. "Are you tuning me kak China?" (Are you giving me shit, mate?)
(Talk, communicate with) It's the correct way to pronounce tune! "I choon you bru, she digs me lank!" (I tell you what mate, she is really into me!)
(Depart, leave, go, split, waai) "Let's chuck."
(Excessive vomiting) "After dopping (drinking) three bottles of Tassies (cheap wine brand), Tommie chundered all over my cabbie (car)."
(Taken out, get into trouble, die, fail) "Bru, if you look at my old lady like that again, you're going to come short." (Mate, if you look at my mum like
that again, I might have to take you out)
Connection, conneko, kanoni
(Friend, buddy) "Jimmy's my big connection bru. We surf together every day."
Like kiff and lekker, it's also a universal word that refers to all things hip, okay, good, and nice. He is cool because he wears funky shades (fashion).
That’s cool (affirmation). We had such a cool time at Jay Bay (enjoyment). The latest variation is kewl, pronounced koo-el, which comes from Internet
(Go to sleep) "Do you want to crash at my porsie?" (Do you want sleep at my place?)
(Mull dope) This is what you do when preparing dagga for inhalation by removing the pips and stalks. It is achieved by rubbing the koppe against the palm of your other hand.
(Cousin, mate, friend) This is Durban slang, and another way of saying "bru".
(Marijuana, dope) South African word for dope. Originates from the Khoikhoi word dachab
(Flatten, punch) "I decked him after he dropped in on my wave."
(Suspicious) "That oke is lank dodgy" (That guy is very suspicious). "His comments about being super hot are a bit dodge".
(Afrikaans – “not bright”, “dull”) Stupid. Dunce. Someone who is dof, is not necessarily that way all the time. It is often used to describe a temporary
loss of brain cells. "Don’t be dof, you stupid doos." (Don’t be a complete moron, you stupid c**t). It can also be used as a noun. "You doffie." (You stupid person)
(Dope, joint, spliff) "Let's make a doobie." The Doobie Brothers named their band after the word "Doobie", a word for dope that originated in California in the 60s, maybe before. Joints were also called numbers (as in "one is the loneliest number you will ever do" by Three Dog Night in 1969). In those days, you bought "lids" and "cans" not grams or bankies like you do today.
(Afrikaans - Female genitalia) "You are such a doos." This means you are a complete idiot. Not to be confused with another Afrikaans word, dosie (box)
1. Booze, drink (Afrikaans) "One dop too many" (One drink too many). The word dop is used in its most common context when referring to drinking, the national pastime in South Africa next to soccer and rugby. In the bad days of Apartheid, many wine farmers used the Dop System, whereby labourers were paid in cheap wine. This created a generation of winos, of which the Bergie may well be a sad consequence, in part. “Dop” may have come from “doppie”, which is the cap of a screw-top bottle (one tot).
(Sleep) "I dossed on the beach until a cop chucked me in the chookie for trespassing."
(Left, departed) "As soon as I checked the boere pull in, I ducked." (As soon as I saw the police arrive, I left.)
(Wipeout) A closeout wave dumps you, or you go to the toilet to take a dump.
Smallish brown beer bottle. You drink your dop out of a dumpy. In rural areas, people build walls with empty dumpies, embedding them in cement.
The name awarded one of South Africa’s choice grade cannabis vintages. Grown in KwaZulu Natal, this dagga is minty, almost peppery, and "makes on". (Makes you totally wasted)
(Durban) Affectionate name for the surf capital of KwaZulu Natal, home of bananas, sugar cane and classic beach breaks.
(Afrikaans - Dreamlike state, confused) This word describes that vacuous, blank state a person gets into sometimes, especially after sleep deprivation. "I have been in a dwaal today after downing that half-jack of whisky last night."
(Afrikaans - Ouch) Widely used. You can shout "Eina!" in sympathy when a shark haps your buddies’ buttocks while surfing in the Kei.
(Zulu expression) Surprise, bewilderment, shock. "Eish. Voetsek! I am not sleeping with you!"
(Afrikaans – lit. a short distance) A cigarette or a joint, as in "Score me an entjie bru"
Ek sê ('Eck sair')
(Afrikaans – “I say”) “I tell you”. An affirmative phrase to add impact to what you are communicating. Used in a fascinating variety of contexts all over the country. "Let’s hit the jol ek sê."
(Coincidence, lucky break, by chance) If you never get barrelled, or tubed, but somehow get slotted by closing your eyes inside a closeout wave, and
suddenly find yourself in the open air again, your friend could legitimately say: "That tube was a vloek". Similarly, if you need a bullseye on the dart
board to win, and you hurl the dart at the board without aiming, and it hits the bullseye, then it's a fluke.
(Parents) "My folks won't let me go to the jorl."
(Afrikaans - Fed up) Literally, "Hole full" (filled to the brim). "He was gatvol of the crowds at Jay Bay."
A piece of silver foil from a cigarette box, or the cardboard from the box, that is laid out square, rolled up and bent into a circle. This is then wedged in the bottom of the bottleneck so the dagga doesn’t fall out when you bust it or take a hit. If it's too loose, expect a smouldering wad of tobacco, dagga, pitjies and gerrick to slam into the back of your throat.
(Afrikaans - Drunk). Humans “drink”, animals “suip” – to be gesuip is to be drunk to the point of aversion.
(Afrikaans - Poison, cool) Not a computer image. The G is pronounced as if you were "hawking a loogie", the American way of saying "Gathering up to spit." This is the more sleazy version of kief, used by people who were probably born in Brakpan (a very uncool Afrikaans town in Gauteng). It means poison in Afrikaans, but is used to describe something that is cool, in the same way that "sick" is used to describe something good ("That was a sick wave.")
With words like firing, smoking, barrel and going off, it’s a natural progression to ballistic. "It was going off. It was firing. The waves were smoking.
When the surf is incredibly good, a surfer will say the surf is "going off its face!" See also cooking, firing, pumping, smoking and going ballistic.
(Stoned) "That spliff made me so goofed."
(Place of work) "Where do you graft?" "At my graft, I sit next to a sumo wrestler who sings in the choir."
(Aggravation) Usually used in this context: "Don't tune me grief." (Don't aggravate me, or talk irritating nonsense to me)
(From Zulu - Cigarette)
(Half-bottle of spirits) "Me and my chick scored a half-jack of Klippies and klapped it on the koppie." (Me and my girlfriend bought a half-bottle of Klipdrift brandy and drank it on the hill.)
(Radical, extreme, over the top) "That footage of the oke frying on the electric chair was hectic bru."
Used for emphasis. "So you're a surfer, hey?" or on its own as a way of saying "excuse me?" or "pardon?"
This is not used in the mafia sense in South Africa, much. Apart from it’s other meanings (to give someone a smack), it is widely used to denote a take on a joint. "Give me a hit of that joint please." Another way to ask would be to replace "hit" with the word "drag".
(Stink) See hum. "Your feet hone bru"! (Common in the Eastern Cape.) "That ou has a serious lung hone bru." (That guy's breath stinks mate.)
(Laugh) "He was hosing himself when he fell in the pool."
The famous South African greeting. Short for "How is it?" Try and refrain from saying, "It's fine, thanks". This will only lead to a funny look. A suitable reply is: "No, fine", which actually means "Yes, I am fine". The word "no" is often taken to mean "yes". A real Afrikaner might reply to a "Howzit", with this bewildering response: "Ja, well, no fine". This is merely a more emphatic but long-winded version of "No, fine". Also ahoy, aweh,
yooit, hoesit, yo.
(Good, excellent, enjoyable) "Hey bru, I skeem the jorl was kiff. What do you skeem?" Answer: "Ja, bru, it was hundreds."
This conversational word is used widely and in response to just about anything. Derived perhaps from the English way of saying "Is it really?" If you don't feel like participating in a conversation with a dik ou at a braai, but don't wish to appear rude, just say "Isit" at appropiate gaps in his description of how he decapitated a Kudu with his bare hands.
Jol ('Jawl'), jorl
The word jol, like the word kief, is a generic South African word. It refers to having a good time and is used in any context. "I am going on a jol
(party)." "I am having a jol (good time)." "That spectacular wipeout at Super Tubes was a jol (rush)."
(In a little bit) Universally used in South Africa, it means that the action will get done "eventually", but it might mean "never". If someone says he will do it "just now", be warned. It might be in 10 minutes, 10 hours or never. "I'll clean my room just now, Ma." If someone says "now now", you're making progress. It won't be done immediately, or instantly, but probably less than 10 minutes, barring distractions that relegate it back to "just now".
(Afrikaans expletive - Shit) This is used in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways, in exactly the same way as the word "shit". Hence, "Don’t talk kak"
or "Don’t give me kak" or "You're so full of kak” or “Having a kak day” or “He is in the kak” …
(Friend, buddy) "Hy my kanala, have't checked you for a while."
(Afrikaans – lit. to hit, slap) Slap, partake in, peform an act) "Ek sal jou a snotklap gee" (I will hit you hard enough to make the snot fly). But also,
"let's klap another klippies." (Let's have another brandy.)
Klippies and coke
(Brandy and Coke) Named after Klipdrift, a popular, cheap brandy.
Vomit, park a tiger, bark the dog, spew, puke, make a technicoloured yawn.
(Weak, feeble) "That was a lame excuse."
(Fancy, designer clothes, snob, friend) A number of variations on a word denoting someone who is well-dressed, or designer clothes, or a well-to-do function. The person can be larney. The clothes can be larney as in "Jees, you are wearing larney clothes." or "Why are you dressed so larney?" or a high-class dinner do as in "We went to a larney party that had caviar for pudding."For coloured people in the Cape, it means "Friend". "Hoesit my larnie!" (Hello there my friend!)
(Afrikaans - Nice , pleasant, stoned, fun, lovely, good, pretty) It is used by all language groups to express approval, often to cover up a limited vocab.
If you see someone of the opposite sex who is good-looking, you can exclaim: "Lekkerrr!" while drawing out the last syllable. Cars can be lekker. You can have a lekker time. You can feel lekker. Holidays are lekker. It's lekker when the Springboks occasionally win a match. And of course, you can have a lekker boerie on the braai.
(Hero, good guy, classy oke) Down in the Eastern Cape, when the party is ripping, and everyone starts getting all soppy and sentimental, they might start calling each other "legends". Also heard when someone pulls off a lank clever move. "Jono, you LEGEND!" his friends might say. Can be shortened to "lej". "That session was lej, broer!"
(Youngster) "That lightey is a pretty good surfer, for a grommet." (That boy surfs well, considering he belongs to a lower caste) Also laaitie
(Afrikaans: "Loose Head") Absent minded, forgetful . Someone with plenty of space between the ears for the brain to rattle around in.
(Afrikaans - Mad) "That ou is mal".
(Money) "Jissus broer, you got lank marcha for the larney kittes ek se." (Wow brah, you have a lot of money to buy fancy clothes hey?)
(a hassle, a schlep) "School is such a mission." (School is too much like hard work.)
(Tobacco to dilute strong dope)
(Afrikaans - Hit, punch) Another Afrikaans word meaning to hit someone. "I will moer you if you take off on my wave."
(Mosquito) "That mozzie is powered by a lawnmower engine."
To prepare the dope before you smoke it.
(Afrikaans – never) No way, oh no!)Another way of saying no, but also a sign of incredulous response. If you have just heard that a South African won the
world surfing champs, you would say, "Nooit! Are you serious?"
(In a little while) "We're going surfing now now." (We're about to go surfing. Exactly when? Well, that depends on how long we take to finish watching
the video and putting on the roofracks). The good thing about Now Now is that it is probably going to happen quicker than the even more flexi-time "Just now."
(Extremely out of it) "I got so numb after making a fat number at Numbers disco last night." (I got so stoned after smoking a big joint at Numbers disco last night)
Oke ('Oak'), ou, o (as in “owe)
(Guy, chap, bloke) Despite being low on letters, oke or ou are huge words. This word, or its variant, is one of South Africa's most common words for a
male human. Probably comes from the Afrikaans "Ou pel" (Old mate), but the adjective became the noun after the "pel" was dropped. Only a male can be an "oke" or an "ou", pronounced "Oh." "That ou says he can paddle around Seal Island with one leg."
(Stoned) "Busting that neck made me so on." (Smoking that bottleneck pipe made me very stoned)
On a mission
(A quest to complete a task) When you’re determined to complete a task, you are "on a mission". If you try and persuade your "bru" to "pull in" to the
"jorl" with you, he might say, "Nooit bru, it's exam time, I'm on a mission."
(Nice one) You are lank cool if you say "One time". You're super cool if you say "One time, shoeshine". Commonly used by young urban types.
(Afrikaans – lit. “road food”) Food for the journey. Padkos is usually a few sarmies (sandwiches), some cooldrinks, chips, fruit and maybe a lekker stukkie biltong.
(Afrikaans – porridge) Boiled corn meal. It is the staple diet of many South Africans. Eaten mostly in the townships, it is often found at braais. It has
the appearance of wet plaster or drying cement, but is delicious when scooped through gravy (known as “Pap-en-Sous”. Pap is versatile. It's eaten as sweet porridge, or as part of a main course.
(Chill out) When you park off, you sit down and relax. "Shall we park off and watch the Rip Curl Search video for the 40th time?" It can also mean to sit
down, as in, "Donovan, why don’t you park here?"
(Afrikaans – origin uncertain.) While the literal Afrikaans meaning is “to stick” (with glue), this context refers to mindset. This is an interesting
word. For instance, you say to someone who has just delivered obscure reasoning for doing something, "How’s your plak?" (Where are you coming from?) The variation to this is, "How’s your mind?" Plak refers to a distracted, even deranged, state of mind. "He was on a plak when he dived off the roof." (He was on some kind of weird trip when he dived off the roof.)
(House, spot, place) "Should we watch videos at your porsie?”. Maybe from “position”?
(Taking a drag) "Can I have a pull on that pipe bru." (Can I have a hit, drag, toke on that pipe mate)
To enter the barrel or the tube is to "pull in". It is also used as an invitation. "Pull in to the jol tonight broer" (Come with us to the party tonight,
bro). It can also mean "scoring" with a member of the opposite sex, as in "She pulled into him last night." Another classic way to say this is "She got
off with him last night."
(To arrive) The more old fashioned way of saying "pull in". You don't tell anyone you're on the way, you just rock up.
The classic South African reference to "being cool". Pretty much outdated. A skollie would say, "Safe my mate" (Cool buddy)
(Hassle, hard work) "It's such a schlep working for someone."
(Rip off, betray, stab in the back) "He was schnaaied by his buds when they tipped off the cops that he had five kilos of Rooibaard in the back of his
(Cocaine) "Let's score some schnarf." (Let's buy some cocaine) Onomatopoeic word that emulates the sucking sound as the powder slurps up the nostril.
When you go and buy something, usually drugs. "Hey bru, check this bankie I scored from my mert!" (Hey mate, take a look at this plastic packet of
marijuana that I just bought from my dealer." Or when you get something for nothing, as in "I scored a luck with Marie last night", or "hey bru, score me a entjie (cigarette)", or "My mom scored me R20 for condoms".
(Part of a wave, part of a joint) When you hit a section called Impossibles at Jay Bay, you get pitted in an awesome barrel from which you will be lucky
to emerge. When you hit the gooey rooibaard section of a six-blade slowboat in the Kei, you will also be lucky to emerge, with wits - and IQ - intact.
(Expression of sympathy) "These piles are lank sore." "Ag shame man!"
(A-1, affirmation, everything is cool) Popular, trendy word among young blacks, who also say "Sharpshoot" as a way of affirming something cool that's
(Thanks, goodbye, yours sincerely) "Shot bru", "Shot Dot", "Shot". You will end your letter, "Shot, Peter" You will say "shot bru" when you say goodbye
to a friend. You will also say, "shot" when your bru (mate) buys you a brew (beer)
(Excellent, radical, good) Another example of how humans mutate meaning. A "sick" wave is a really juicy, clean, hard-breaking wave, not a wave that
(Yuck) "Sis, man, you just kotched on my wetsuit." (Yuck, man, you just vomited on my wetsuit)
(Afrikaans expletive) "Sjoe broer, that wave was awesome." Also shew and shewee.
(Afrikaans - Shame, embarassed) "Pieter pulled out his penis in a Pretoria petshop. That oke has no skaam." (That guy has no shame) "When you fondle my ringpiece, I feel skaam (embarrassed, ashamed)."
(Think, opinion) "You skeem?" (You think so?) "What do you skeem?" (What do you think?) "I'm skeeming we just pull another neck" (I think we should smoke
another pipe) From “scheme”.
(Afrikaans) Battered car. A really beaten up old jalopy is called a skedonk.
(Afrikaans – “skiner” - Gossip, news) The kind of gossip that goes on behind your back. Can mean news.
(New boy, fag) "The older school pupils had skivvies, who worked for them."
(Sleazy ruffian) Also referred to as a "skommie", "skate", "skebenga" or "skelm". Can be used almost affectionately when talking about a roguish friend. Choose carefully whom you call a skollie. Apparently, it is derived from "skoolverlater", which is Afrikaans for "school leaver". Also skate, skebenga and skelm.
(Afrikaans - A fright, frighteningly ugly) After being held down for 30 seconds in the kelp at Crayfish Factory, you might get a bit of a "skrik". Or
when your buddies try and give you a skrik as you walk past the cemetery. Alternatively, your lover might be called a 'skrik', but that's not so lekker.
(Spliff, to smoke, a piece of something, a French Fry) "Let's make a skyf" refers to the first.
(Afrikaans – slice) A piece of something, such as fruit.
Mostly called "slops", they are what Australians call thongs, or sandals. The proper slops are made from rubber and have a strap between your big toe and its partner.
A small amount of dope, usually wrapped in brown school book wrapping paper.
(A lot, many, much, more) This is mostly a Durban word that is used as an adjective that amplifies things. "You guys at Wavescape have left out a span of words in your slang dictionary ekse!"
When you're styling, everything clicks into place and you find yourself surfing like Kelly Slater, Tom Curren and "insert-favourite-surfer-here" rolled
(Sneakers, trainers, running shoes) Often refers to the cheap, hip kind bought in a mass clothing chain called Pep Stores. This word is also used to
describe car tires. If someone has "Fat takkies" they have a souped up car with wide-brim tyres.
(To tell, to talk, to provoke) For instance, "Don’t tune me grief" (Don’t give me your bullshit) or "Are you tuning me kak?" (Are you giving me shit?).
"Tune me the ages" (Tell me the time)
Tune grief(To aggravate someone) Whatever you do, if a big oke in a bar begins to pester you with stories of how he tore off a kudu's head with his bare hands, don't show your irritation by saying "Are you tuning me grief?" Your relatives will be in grief, indeed. And you won't be around to tune them anything.
(Puke, blow chunks, bark the dog, park the tiger, technicoloured yawn)
(Leave) See waai
(Afrikaans – lit. “wave” as in “wave goodbye”.) Go, or proceed. "Come, let's waai back to my porsie (place)." See also Vai or Vaai.
(Paralytic drunk or totally high) "I was completely wasted at the party"
(Don't be a jerk) If your friend has just spewed over the side of your car, you would call indignantly "What kind?"
(Afrikaans – vicious, wild) Wound up, aggressive, feeling strong. "Skay bru, that baboon looks woes." (Watch out mate, that baboon looks like it's going
to attack.) This is the Afrikaans pronunciation of the word, which turns "W" into "V"
(What what, blah blah, waffle waffle) This New York bagel terms has spread to South Africa, and is used interchangeably with what what, blah blah and so on.
Yissus, yerre, yussus
(Expression of surprise) Originates from the Afrikaans "Liewe Jesus ('J-ee-suss')." The same as "My God!" or "My Lord". Taking the Lord's name in vain.
Except now it's mutated away and many use it without knowing where it comes from. It's an expression of surprise, or fear, or shock.
A joint commonly rolled out of a piece of newspaper and stuck together with saliva. Many township residents smoke tobacco this way.