Set of felt tip pens and note page

10 More South African Words That Just Don’t Translate Well

According to you, these are the 10 South African words you love the most, and whose English translations just don’t mean the same

Set of felt tip pens and note page

When it comes to South African words, we certainly do have our own language – we might not speak South African, but there are some words that just don’t make sense anywhere else in the world. Unless you’re there will fellow South Africans!

There was an awesome response to ’10 South African Words That Don’t Translate Well’ and you guys suggested so many more we could add.

So here are 10 more of the most popular South African words, as suggested by you all, that just don’t translate well.

Number one on the list from you guys had to be voetsak. It was one of the most mentioned words on our post and of course does not translate to anything else half as well. ‘Go away’ is the closest you can get and that is nowhere near as effective!

Whether you’re getting a klap or wanting to give someone else a klap, it sounds much more serious than a ‘smack’.

Somehow, confused just doesn’t cut it. When everything is upside down and you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, you’re deurmekaar.

This has to be one of the best words we have – shongololo. It just rolls off the tongue. And so much better than ‘millipede’.

Ag shame, that baby is so cute. Ag shame man, that’s terrible. Ag shame, let me help you. One word, yet so many meanings… The English particularly don’t get this one and definitely does not mean ‘to be ashamed’!

I’m not sure I even have a translation for this one! Little muddy hole in the ground, that could be small or huge? Does that work? No. It’s a donga!

Four letters. So many uses. Eish bru, that was hectic. Eish man, why did you do that? Eish, it’s so hot.

For the times when klap is too soft a word, bliksem steps in and does the job!

Seems like we’re an angry bunch doesn’t it! I’m going to klap you. I’m going to bliksem you. I’m going to moer you!

One of my personal favourite words. In the UK, it’s a felt tip pen. In Australia it’s a texta. But nothing beats a good old koki pen!

Also Read…

5 more things you should never say to a South African

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