With South Africa being voted as one of the top BPO destinations for the third year in a row we thought we would help make life a little easier all the foreign BPO experts or clients who might now find themselves based in South Africa.
It is important that you know what’s potting when someone tells you that they will do something now, or just now or now now.
You also need to know when it’s lekker to say howzit and when it’s not kwaai. Or the difference between having normal tea or rooibos with your biltong, dry wors and chips. But never with your slap chips.
And Eeish, if you need something chop chop, from a real chop, and you don’t know how to tune him, it’s probably going to make you gatvol enough to want to bliksem him.
And bruuh, it could get hang of a tricky if you call a bra a cousin when he’s more of a bru.
So china, make sure you get to know what’s cutting or you aren’t going to get invited to rock up at too many braai’s, and you’ll end up being the only mamapara at Monday’s team meeting that isn’t sharing your babbelas stories with the okes.
Ag! (agh) – An expression of frustration, outrage, impatience or resignation. It’s generally used at the beginning of a sentence, as in: “Ag no man! I spilled coffee on my keyboard again!”
Aweh! – This is an enthusiastic “Yes, absolutely.”
Babbelas (bub-buh-luss) – Hangover. How you feel the morning after taking your new team out for drinks.
Biltong (bill-tong) – This is South Africa’s traditional dried and salted meat, similar to beef jerky, although it can be made from ostrich, kudu or any other red meat.
Boerewors (boor-uh-vors) – A traditional sausage and very popular at braais across South Africa. Also known as wors.
Boet (like book, with a t) – Generally a term of male affection, meaning brother. As in “Howzit boet.”
Bra, Bruhh or Bru – Brother, friend, mate. A bit more hip than an old fashioned boet.
Braai (br-eye) – An outdoor barbecue made with wood and a defining South African institution. Always take boerewors with you.
Check you – An informal exclamation meaning “Goodbye, see you later.”
Chop – A fool or an idiot; often used affectionately. “What a chop!”
Chop chop! – quick quick!
Cousin or Cuz – This means you friend or your mate. “Howzit my cousin!”
Eina! (ay-nuh or ay-nar) –Ouch! or Ow! Can also mean “sore”. “Eina! I just cut my finger.”
Eeish (aysh) – An expression of surprise, wonder, frustration or outrage. Example: “Eish! That cut was eina!”
Gatvol (ghut-foll) – When you are really fed up, you’re gatvol.
Hang of a – Means very or big, as in: “It’s hang of a difficult” or “I had a hang of a problem”.
Hey? – It can be used as a question meaning “pardon?” or “what?” – “Hey? What did you say?” Or it can be used to prompt an affirmation or agreement, as in “It was a kak call, hey?”
Howzit – A common South African greeting that translates roughly as “How are you?”, “How are things?”
Just now – Soon but not immediately. “I’ll see you just now”
Lekker (lek-irr) – adjective and adverb, informal – Nice, good, great, cool or tasty. From the Afrikaans.
Mampara (mum-puh-rah) – noun, informal – Idiot; stupid or silly person. From the Fanagolo. The Sunday Times newspaper celebrates the follies of prominent South Africans with its Mampara of the Week award.
Oke, ou (oke, oh) – noun, informal – Man, similar to guy or bloke. The word ou (oh) can be used interchangeably. From the Afrikaans ou (old).
Robot –Traffic lights.
rock up – Arrive somewhere, often unannounced or uninvited. Example: “I was going to go out but then my china rocked up.”
Sharp – exclamation, informal – Often doubled up for effect as sharp-sharp!, the word is used as a greeting, a farewell, for agreement or just to express enthusiasm.
Shot – Good, yes, it’s been done.
Shweet –Good, yes.
Slap chips (slup chips) –French fries, usually soft, oily and vinegar-drenched.