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Learning South African Slang, Pt. 3

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Getting to Grips with South African Slang, Pt. 3

The third and final instalment in our guide to learning South African slang (read Part 1 and Part 2 here). We’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg, but you’ll very quickly learn the rest when you’re here!


The South African word for BBQ. A braai is ingrained in almost every South African’s culture and is a must-try for an authentic South African experience. A real braai involves making a fire (with wood, charcoal and occasionally firelighters), waiting for the flame to die out, and then cooking the meat on the coals. A braai is the perfect way to spend time with loved ones while chatting around the fire while you cook your food. If you’re looking for a truly authentic braai experience, check out our post on Authentic African Food in Cape Town.


The ‘g’ in miggie is pronounced like the ‘ch’ the Scottish ‘och’, almost like you’re clearing your throat. Miggies are what South Africans call gnats. You will most likely encounter a cloud of miggies at some point, especially if you go on safari; but just wave them away, they’re harmless.

Ja Nee

(yah – nee)

A derivative of South Africans’ favourite word ‘ja’. ‘Ja nee’ meaning ‘yes no’ is a phrase used to express agreement or confirmation. “Did you have a good time last night?” ”Ja no, it was a nice evening.”



Another South African word for friend or ’china’.


The epitome of South African small talk – if a South African is struggling for something to say they will most likely use one of the following phrases. It’s our subtle way of putting the ball in your court and keeping the conversation alive.


“Otherwise, how are things?”

“Otherwise well?”

“Family well otherwise?

“And otherwise?”

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