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Afrikaans Slang Words and Phrases

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Afrikaans, a language that evolved from the Dutch spoken by settlers in South Africa, is peppered with unique slang words and phrases that can be both entertaining and insightful to learn. Here are some of the most popular Afrikaans slang terms that you might come across, along with their definitions and examples of how they are used in everyday conversation.

Lekker
In Afrikaans, “lekker” is a widely-used term that means “good,” “great,” “tasty,” or “enjoyable”. It is used to express approval or to say that something is pleasant or enjoyable.
Die kos is rêrig lekker vanaand!

Now-now
A common phrase in Afrikaans is “now-now,” which can be slightly confusing because it actually means “in a bit” or “soon,” rather than immediately.
Ek sal jou nou-nou bel, ek’s net besig om klaar te maak met werk.

Howzit
“Howzit” is a casual greeting that is the equivalent of “how are you?” or “how is it going?” Despite its use in many English-speaking countries, the term is deeply engrained in South African lingo.
Howzit my vriend! Lanklaas gesien!

Ag
“Ag,” which can be compared to “oh” or “uh” in English, is a multipurpose expression of resignation or irritation. It’s also used just to start sentences for no particular reason.
Ag, moenie worry nie – alles sal regkom.

Braai
A “braai” is the Afrikaans word for a barbecue. South Africans take their braais very seriously, and it’s a social event as much as a way to prepare food.
Kom ons hou ‘n braai Saterdag – die weer gaan perfek wees.

Eish
“Eish” is an expression of surprise, shock, frustration or exclamation, much like the English “oh my!”
Eish, het jy gesien hoe duur is die petrol hierdie maand?

Ja-nee
Literally translating to “yes-no,” this phrase is often used to confirm what someone has said as in agreement or acknowledging a statement’s complexity.
Ja-nee, ek verstaan dit is ‘n moeilike situasie.

Robot
In South Africa, traffic lights are often referred to as “robots,” which may confuse first-time visitors.
Draai regs by die volgende robot, dan’s jy amper daar.

Kyk Noord en F*k Voort
This phrase translates as “look north and keep going forward”. It’s a humorous way to say keep on going, or keep up the hard work.
Die eksamen was moeilik, maar nou moet ek maar kyk noord en f*k voort met die studies.

Jol
A “jol” is a party, club, event, or simply a good time. It can also be used as a verb meaning to party or have fun.
Ons gaan vanaand ‘n lekker jol hê by Jan se huis!

Aweh
“Aweh” is a versatile slang term that can mean “hello,” “goodbye,” “yes,” or “okay.” Its meaning changes depending on context and intonation.
Aweh, sal jy vir my ‘n guns doen?

Bakkie
A “bakkie” is what South Africans call a pickup truck. It’s a staple vehicle in many households and is used for everything from transporting goods to carrying people.
Laai als agter op die bakkie – ons ry strand toe!

Learning these slang words and phrases will not only enrich your vocabulary but also provide you with insight into South African culture and help you communicate on a more personal level with Afrikaans speakers. So why not give them a try in your next conversation? Just remember, the secret to mastering slang is to listen to how native speakers use it in context and mimic that. Lekker leer!

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