Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Durban, South Africa
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A short guide to local expressions that may have you scratching your head!
Pitch: 'To pitch up' - to arrive. Also 'to rock up'.
Now, Now, Just Now: An infuriating South Africanism,
I'm coming now now! - round about 5 - 10 minutes
I'm coming just now! - anytime from 10 minutes to two hours.
I'm coming now! - anytime from 20 minutes to Christmas.
Also subject to regional variations and transpositions.
Braai: 'Braaivleis' - Afrikaans for 'roast meat' Barbecue to you and me.
Ja/Nee (Ya/Near): 'Yes/No'. An Afrikaans word that seems to be a generic response to any comment that seems to elicit attention from the listener. Not heard much in Durban.
Dingis and Disting: First Afrikaans, second, commonly used by Indians. Generally means 'thingummy'.
Muthi/Muti: Pronounced 'mooty', a Zulu word employed by almost all South Africans. From 'Umuthi', Zulu for 'medicine'. As most Zulu medicines come from plants, the word also means 'tree'.
Howzit!: Common South African greeting.
Schlep: Something difficult - 'Its a schlep' or going somewhere 'schlepping around'.
Gogga (HoHa) and Noenoe (NooNoo): Gogga is pronounced with a guttural sound (as in 'loch') and noenoe as 'noonoo'. Both words usually mean 'a small thing (usually an unwelcome arthropod).
Padkos: Afrikaans - literally, 'roadfood' or something to eat en route.
Sawubona: Zulu greeting - 'I see you'.
Ngiyabonga: Zulu - 'Thank you'.
Pronunciation of Zulu words:
'Ph' is pronounced 'p', 'k'is pronounced 'g' (as in Shaka), 'c' is pronounced as 'tsk' (with the tip of the tongue), 'x' is pronounced using the side of the mouth (as in 'giddy up horse) and 'q' is pronounced using the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth (a sort of 'popping' sound).
Durban, with its hot days and warm nights is happy hunting ground for these arthropod survivors and they may be seen happily scurrying about the pavements at night.
Even though most of think that the only good cockroach is a dead cockroach, they are really the scavengers of the insect world and houses in the orient that have a couple are thought to have good luck. They are still eaten either deep fried or as a sandwich spread.
Come to Durban in spring after a shower and you will see clouds of flying ants (about the size of a dragonfly). These can also be eaten raw or fried.
The superhumid tropical coastal belt takes its revenge in January and February in the form of irresistible torpidity and a general attitude of mañana. Even airconditioning is insufficient to rid the local populace of this scourge.
Fundi: A teacher/expert (from umfundisi - teacher)
Indaba: A meeting
Ag sies (ach sees): Something you're doing is disagreeable.
Daar sy (daar say): There it is!
Baie Dankie Afrikaans for 'Thank you'.
Bakkie a pickup/ute vehicle.
Donga Dry watercourse
Fundi Expert (from Zulu for 'teacher'.
Indaba A conference (from the Zulu).
Lekker Afrikaans for 'enjoyable'.
Robots Traffic lights to you and me.
Ag Shame! Exclamation of sympathy.
Spruit (sprate) A small stream.
Stoep (stoop) Verandah.
Takkies Sports shoes.
Veldskoens (feldskoons) "country shoes" of untanned leather.
Winkel (vinkle) Afrikaans for a 'shop'.
Kyk daar! (cake daar!): Look there! - Visitors from the Transvaal were commonly called 'kydaars' from the exclamation of the Afrikaans children on reaching the bright lights of Durban.
Banana Boy: A denizen of KZN
Some Zulu Words
Thank You: Ngiyabonga
Please: Ngisize (ingesieze)
Good Morning: Sakubona
Goodbye: Hamba Kahle (garshley) - Go well.
How are you?: Kunjani?