South African has 11 official languages. In the Western Cape, where Stellenbosch is situated, Afrikaans, English and Xhosa are the official languages. You will also hear French, Swahili and other African languages spoken by refugees and immigrants from the DRC and other African countries.
Here are a few handy South Africanisms:
Howzit: A greeting, often used instead of hello. Combines “hello” and “how are you”, so it saves time.
Braai: brrr-rye (roll that r): The South African version of a barbecue. It usually involves a large amount of meat such as boerewors (directly translated as farmer’s sausage), lamb chops, steak, mealies (corn on the cob), braaibroodjies (cheese, tomato and onion toasties done on the open coals), and possibly a sprinkling of salad, if you’re lucky.
Ubuntu: Southern African humanist philosophy that holds as its central tenet that a person is only a person through others. I am because of you.
Sharp: Pronounced “Shup” – Usually used in conjunction with a thumbs-up sign to indicate that it’s all good.
Rusk: A traditional Afrikaner breakfast meal or snack. Rusks (“beskuit” in Afrikaans) have been dried in South Africa since the late 1690s as a way of preserving bread, especially when travelling long distances without refrigeration. The use of rusks continued through the Great Trek and the Boer Wars through to the modern day. Rusks are typically dunked in coffee or tea to soften them before being eaten. If you want to know more about the South African obsession with these hard biscuits, you can google “Ouma Rusks”.
Lekker: Afrikaans for nice, pleasant, fun, lovely, good, pretty. It is used by all language groups to express approval. You can have a lekker boerie on the braai. Holidays are lekker.
Ja-nee (Yes-No; Ja-No): A confusing exclamation that actually means “yes”.
Now-now: An indeterminate time that could be now, just now, soon … or even never.
As in: “I will call you back now-now”.
INKOSI, THANK YOU, DANKIE