12 SA Expressions That Drive The World Crazy

South Africa remains home to such a unique culture, foreigners are often left baffled by some of the things we say. Whether we tell them we would like a spot of “normal tea” or bought the newspaper at the robots, we’re sure to confuse someone at some point in time.

WIN your money back with The Entertainer here

Use as many of The Entertainer vouchers as you can before the end of the year and you could win all of your hard-earned cash back! Click here to purchase The Entertainer for 30% off.

So what everyday SA expressions are simply mad to the rest of the world?

1. The Plaster Story



Like the name clearly states, “Band-aid”. Why South Africans still insist on using the word PLASTER is baffling to the rest of the world.

2. The “Now, Now” Expression


The word “now” generally has one meaning, but like everything in South Africa, we’ve changed it up completely. It could be “Now”, or “Now, Now”, or “Just now”, which all mean different things, that range from now to later, or anywhere in between.

EXAMPLE: Put on the kettle so long; we’re having tea with your grandparents now, now.


3. The Boot and Bonnet

Around the world, a boot means this:timberland-6-premium-waterproof-boots-mens.jpg

In South Africa, we put groceries and luggage in a boot:


A bonnet around the world is this:


In South Africa, we use the second meaning in dictionary, which is this:



4. The Gherkin VS The Pickle



The rest of the world uses the word pickle for this tangy delight, South Africans use the word Gherkin.


5. Orange, Mango – Naartjie (Wait, what, huh?)


These little babies are delicious and South Africans call them naartjies. The naartjie is not native to South Africa which means the rest of the world probably has a different name for it, for example;  tangerine, satsuma or tangelo. 


6. Let’s Dice!

No, not this.



Not this either.



Yes, this!

maxresdefault.jpg (2)


7. Let’s Throw A Wrench In The Works


How about throwing a spanner instead? When something happens to ruin a particular situation, you will most likely hear a South African say, “Oh, well that is a spanner in the works!”

You know what really is a spanner in the works? Having an accident and realising you are not covered! Get a free car insurance quote today and you could WIN PETROL FOR A YEAR!

8. Robots Exist In South Africa


“I saw him at the robots.” – You what?! Robots are actually traffic lights in South Africa.




9. The Matter With Takkies

takkies (1)

This confuses the living daylights out of most people because the rest of the world refer to sportswear shoes as either trainers or sneakers.


10. Shame


“Awww shame, he is so cute!”

Many South Africans use, “shame” when something is impossibly cute, endearing or just all together wonderful.


11. Give That Baby A Dummy


Most people use the word ‘pacifier’ for a baby’s soothing aid. In South Africa, we call it a dummy.


12. I’m Going To Cut A Fringe

Not this?



Yes this:





Insurance Guru

Insurance Guru is here to help you simplify the complicated world of insurance, so you can make smart insurance decisions and get the best insurance deals for your situation.

View all posts by Insurance Guru →