From Babbalas to Yebo

Having been in South Africa for 4 months, we have greatly added to our dictionary of South African expressions, so here is Part II on my Language entry (click here for Part I):

=&0=&A hangover =&1=& – Dried meat, like jerky – grows on you! =&2=& – That which goes on a braai (a really long coiled-up sausage) =&3=& – Gosh/bummer/ouch/no way – fits in most “welcome to Africa” situations =&4=& – Answer to Howzit (I’ve often felt a bit awkward when I only say “good, thanks” and then get “good thanks” back automatically, even though technically I didn’t ask “and you?”) =&5=& – How are you? =&6=& – Oh really? (which sounds funny to us in a dialog such as “I’m planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro,” and “Izzit?” as the response) =&7=& – Afrikaans for yes =&8=& – Technically this means soon; but in reality not very soon at all, definitely not immediately, might not even be today =&9=&Uniform (athletic) =&10=& – Tangerine/clementine =&11=& – You’re kidding/really – hard to translate but used often, like when you’re telling someone an endearing story and they cluck sympathetically on occasion =&12=& – Team =&13=& – Patio =&14=& – Sneakers/tennis shoes =&15=& – Zulu for yes

One last thing on language: I’m very impressed what an effort South Africans make to pronounce words correctly, as opposed ... 


West With The Night

Few books capture the spirit of Africa as well as West with the Night. There are tales of lions, courageous dogs, horse breeding, flying, and elephant hunts, all laced with a great deal of wisdom. Even though it was written in the 1930s and is set in Kenya (or, as it was then called, British East Africa), it brings alive so many things I’ve come to cherish about South Africa.


African Crafts

african crafts at Rosebank rooftop market in johannesburg

The Rosebank Rooftop Market on Sunday is a flea market where you'll find the gaudy and useless, but also a huge collection of African crafts. Stalls upon stalls of wares crammed onto the roof of Rosebank Mall, from wooden masks to drums, spears, paintings, clothing, incense, soap, spices, beaded figurines, stone carvings, woven grass baskets, cheese, painted ostrich eggs, and more.


World Cup Fever

Wherever you look in the streets of Johannesburg these days, you can’t escape the World Cup Fever. Street vendors are selling flags, mirror covers, hats, and tons of other gadgets in team colors and they’ll quite happily run and find what you’re asking for if they don’t have ... 


Saving Face – the African Way

I’ve found that whenever I ask for something, in a store, for instance, and they have no idea what I’m talking about, instead of admitting that they don’t know, they will pretend to look for it, and then apologetically inform me that they are sold out. “I’m sorry Ma’m, we don’t have ... 


Finally – a New Trash Can!

Just a quick update on my trash odyssey: It took almost a week of waiting for our landlord to divulge our account number with the City of Johannesburg, but he did, and I faxed that to the Piki Tup people, and lo and behold, a few days afterwards, a new trash can sort of just appeared in my driveway. ... 


Recycling in Joburg

I’m happy to report that I just got our recycling set up. Recycling is not very big here, and I almost got used to throwing everything in the trash over the past few months, but not quite. It turns out there is recycling, but not for free. I went with Mama ...