7 Popular Phrases Only South Africans Would Understand

You know you’re South African when ‘Ja, no exactly’ means ‘yes, I agree whole heatedly’

We may be a country with 11 official languages but there are a few phrases that we’re all familiar with. If there are any you think are missing, leave us a comment below…

1. Phrase: ‘Just now’

Use it in a sentence: ‘Sorry I couldn’t fix that yesterday. I’ll do it just now’

Translation: ‘I totally forgot about doing what you asked me to do. I’ll maybe do it much later today but I’ll probably forget again’

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2. Phrase: ‘Now, now’ 

Use it in a sentence: ‘Sorry I couldn’t fix that yesterday. I’ll do it now now’

Translation: ‘I feel guilty that I still haven’t attended to the matter. Therefore I will do it in the next 10 minutes or so.’

3. Phrase: ‘Ja, no exactly’

Use it in a sentence: ‘Ja, no exactly! That’s what I’ve been saying this whole time!’

Translation: I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. I’m so glad you view this the same way that I do!’

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4. Phrase: ‘Shame, man’

Use it in a sentence: ‘Shame man, she’s so pretty.’

Translation: ‘The woman over there is very good looking.’

5. Phrase: ‘Ma-Charna’

Use it in a sentence: ‘Hey ma-charna! I haven’t seen you in since in ages!’

Translation: ‘Hello my good friend! It’s been a very long time since I last saw so I’m very happy to see you here today.’

6. Phrase: ‘Sho’t left’

Use it in a sentence: ‘Take a sho’t left here. I know a short cut!’

Translation: ‘We’re running late so we’ll have to take a much faster route. Quickly make a turn over here.’

7. Phrase: ‘Shap-shap’

Use it in a sentence: ‘Shap-shap’

Translation: ‘Thank you very much for the help my good friend.’


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