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