• Elton Cilliers

Introduction to “South African”

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

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It occurs to me that some ‘South African’ may occasionally pop up in my writing/spouting, so I thought it may be useful to provide you with a quick ‘glossary’ of common South African words and/or phrases you may encounter throughout this blog.


South African flag at sunset

Lekker (Lack-er) –A word that I’m sure you’ve heard if you spend any amount of time in London. It is a word of many meanings and emotions, one of my favourite words ever.

  1. YOU: “How was the steak?” , ME: “Lekker!” – Great, awesome!

  2. YOU: “How are you?”, ME: “I’m lekker my bru/china*” – Fine, Good. *see bru and china below

  3. YOU: “Here’s that £10 I owe you”, ME: “Lekker bru!” – Thank you.

  4. YOU: “Thanks for the lift”, “ME: Lekker” – No problem, You’re welcome.

Bru / Brew (brew) – Brother (not necessarily blood related), mate.

  1. “Thank you my bru” = “Thanks bro”

  2. “My bru!” (in a happy/excited tone) = “Hey Bro!” – “Hey mate”

  3. “My bru!” (in an annoyed / angry tone) = “Dude!” – “Bro!”

Howsit (Eng) (How-zit) / Hoesit (Afrikaans) (whose-it)– Hello, Hi, hey, how are you?

  1. “Howsit my bru!” = “Hello bro” – “Hello mate”

  2. “Howsit.” = “Hello”

China (China) – Mate, Bro

  1. YOU: “How was your weekend?”, ME: “Lekker China” = “It was good thanks”

  2. YOU: “I got you a coffee”, ME: “Lekker China” = “Thanks mate”, “Thank you bro”

Bliksem (blik-sim) – another word of various meanings and emotions

  1. “Bliksem!” (pain) = “Shit!”, “Bollocks!”, “F**k!”. Typically said after sudden infliction of pain, for example kicking ones toe on a table.

  2. “Bliksem!” (eager / excitement) = “OMG!”, “Wow!”. Typically heard following the passing of someone on the street that one finds very appealing.

  3. “I’m going to bliksem you!” (stern, anger). – Hit. Typically heard just before needing to duck.

  4. “You bliksem!” (surprised) = “You bastard!/bitch!”. Typically heard when surprising another by jumping out of a closest wearing a ‘Scream’ mask. Is often followed with “I’m going to bliksem you!”

Hundreds – see below

  1. YOU: “Are you coming over tonight?”, ME: “Hundreds” = Absolutely.

  2. YOU: “How are you?”, ME: “Hundreds!” = Good, Excellent.

  3. YOU: “How does my bum look in these jeans?”, ME: “Hundreds!” = Great, Awesome. (NOTE: this is the default answer for any South African male asked this question)

Braai (Bry) – Barbecue, BBQ (made with wood and/or charcoal NOT gas!)

Chick – Babe, hon, girlfriend. Primarily used in the Kwazulu Natal region.

  1. “This is my chick, Tammy”

  2. “I love you chick” = “I love you babe/hon”

Yuslike (Yuss-like) – Wow!, OMG!, Damn!

  1. Yuslike, I’m suffering after last night” – OMG

  2. Yuslike that’s a sexy motorbike!” – Wow

  3. Yuslike, Brexit is still ongoing!” – Damn

So there you have it, a brief introduction to some commonly used South African words. I’ll update this glossary as and when necessary. If you feel I have left any obvious words out, please feel free to comment below.



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