I've just discovered a gem that brought tears of laughter (and a few of regret) to my eyes. If you want to understand South Africa and its various racial groups and be thoroughly entertained in the process, the absolute best way is to watch White Wedding. You can get it on Amazon (see insert) and it's also available on Netflix.
Conversation of an expat with kids in a South African school. Kid: "In our Zulu class, Mr. Zulu now says that we have to ask to go to the bathroom in Zulu." Parent: "How do you say it?" Kid: "I just never go to the bathroom during Zulu class." (Really, the Zulu teacher's name is Mr. Zulu.) Zulu is a complicated language, which might explain the urge to hold it in when you need to go.
These lists are always fun to do for any country, but with words like robot, lekker, kak, and braai, the South African version is particularly entertaining. Throw in the whole debate about now, just now, and now now, and you have yourself a really good discussion going, for expats on true-blood South Africans alike. Poor yourself a glass of Chardonnay and enjoy!
This is one of the many things I love about this country: South Africa’s got humour. South Africans are always ready to crack a joke. Whether you're in the relaxed atmosphere of a braai at a friend's house, or finding yourself in the seemingly never-ending queue at the local Telkomstore, someone is bound to make everyone laugh.
The parking guards were brought into South Africa's carparks, so I was told, when crime was still rampant in those early days at the end of apartheid, and having your car burgled while shopping was basically a given. After installing those guards - some, perhaps, having done the burgling themselves - those break-ins decreased dramatically, and the guards became an institution.
No, this is not some sporting match I'm writing about. Unless of course you view living abroad as a sport. Which it might very well be, because it can be just about as exhausting yet at the same time exhilarating. Anyway, I'm referring to an expat survey I recently came across. HSBC Explorer runs an annual questionnaire among expats to determine the quality of life in different countries.
When you first arrive in South Africa, you might be baffled at times when people talk to you. The first words I stumbled over were "bakkie" and "robot," then later "bellboy" on the school supply list. The South African language is full of unique expressions like that, some of them in English and some in other languages. I've compiled a list of my favorite 43 South Africanisms. Enjoy!
- you ask for tomaaaahto sauce to go with your hamburger
- you say “shame” in every other sentence
- you trust the parking guard waving you backwards
- you don’t find it weird that the parking guard calls you “Mami”
This question was something I puzzled over all day yesterday.
Jabulani, in his typical 13-year old morning funk, had thrown a “Mom, I REALLY need a ballbox” at me before rushing out the door. Newly in high school with all its added demands and responsibilities, he has been slightly stressed ...