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Day of Reconciliation in South Africa

Day of Reconciliation in South Africa

On the Day of Reconciliation, South Africa both remembers its rocky, violent history and strives to move forward in peace and hope. The significance of Reconciliation Day in South Africa can’t be overstated, and if you want to really dig deep into the country’s culture, there may be no better place to start than here.

In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of Reconciliation Day in South Africa, as well as its history and modern-day observations.

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Reconciliation Day in South Africa?

Like many of the nation’s public holidays, the Day of Reconciliation was instituted in 1994 after apartheid ended and all South Africans were enfranchised.

So what is the purpose of Reconciliation Day?

South Africa has a very violent past with many reprobates taking power over the decades, and the Day of Reconciliation is all about instilling a sense of camaraderie among the different cultural groups that spent so many years with some in subjugation to others.

The public holiday aims to help South Africans move forward in hope and reconcile past events with a more positive future.

2. When is the South African Day of Reconciliation


Each year, South Africans celebrate the Day of Reconciliation on December 16. Later in this article, you’ll learn more about the date of the Day of Reconciliation South Africa chose.

3. Summertime in December: Holiday Celebrations

People Celebrating

How is the Day of Reconciliation Day celebrated in South Africa?

Read the Afrikaans text below to learn how many people in South Africa spend their December summertime and the holidays that accompany this time of year.

Die Dag van Versoening is ook die onoffisiële begin van die Suid Afrikaanse somer vakansie, wat 16 dae lank is. Gedurende die 16 dae is daar in totaal 4 openbare vakansiedae in Suid Afrika, die ander drie is Kersdag, Dag van Welwillendheid (ook bekend as Boxing Day) en Nuwejaarsdag. Dit is baie algemeen vir klein besighede om gedurende die somer vakansie te sluit omwille van al hierdie vakansiedae. Baie Suid Afrikaners reis ook gedurende die seisoen, met uitgebreide vakansies om te reis. Omdat Suid Afrika in die Suidelike Halfrond is, val Desember in die middel van die somer.

The Day of Reconciliation is also the unofficial beginning of South Africa’s summer holiday season, which lasts sixteen days. During those sixteen days, there is a total of four public holidays in South Africa, with the other three being Christmas Day, the Day of Goodwill, and New Year’s Day. It is very common for small businesses to shut down during the summer holiday season because of all these holidays. Also, many South Africans travel during the season, taking extended vacations to travel. Because South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, December falls in the height of summer.

4. Why December 16?

The date of December 16 is a poignant reminder of the past. This is the same date as holidays celebrated by two of the main groups in South Africa prior to the institution of the Day of Reconciliation. Here, we’ll review a little bit of the history of Reconciliation Day in South Africa.

1- Day of the Vow

The Afrikaner people observed the Day of the Vow on December 16 to remember a vow that the Voortrekkers made heading into a battle on that date in 1838.

The Voortrekkers had a hostile relationship with the Zulu tribe, fleeing them to prepare for a huge battle over a piece of land that—in a devious move—the Voortrekkers had tried to wrest away from the Zulu people.

The Voortrekkers vowed to build a church on the land and set a holiday to give thanks if they should win the battle.

Fewer than 500 Voortrekkers were able to defeat the over 10,000 Zulus who attacked them on December 16, 1838. This is because they had gunpowder and the Zulus did not.

While just three Voortrekkers were wounded in the battle, over 3,000 Zulus died in it. This was later called the Battle of Blood River.

2- African National Congress’ Spear of the Nation

Before the institution of the Day of Reconciliation, the Africans commemorated the founding of the African National Congress’ Spear of the Nation, the governing body’s armed division, in 1961.

5. Must-Know Afrikaans Vocabulary for Day of Reconciliation

A Scroll

Here’s some essential Afrikaans vocabulary you should know for the Day of Reconciliation!

  • Kerk — “Church”
  • Geskiedenis — “History”
  • Oorlog — “War”
  • Weermag — “Army”
  • Vier — “Celebrate”
  • Demokrasie — “Democracy”
  • Tradisie — “Tradition”
  • Publieke vakansiedag — “Public holiday”
  • Eenheid — “Unity”
  • Saam — “Together”
  • Apartheid — “Apartheid”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Afrikaans Day of Reconciliation word list!

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the Day of Reconciliation in South Africa? Does your country have any special holidays that promote peace and unity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

South Africa certainly has a fascinating and deep history, and a colorful culture. If you’re interested in learning more about South Africa and her people, or if you want more words about summertime here, you may find the following pages useful:

Learning Afrikaans, and becoming familiar with South African history and culture, doesn’t have to be boring or overwhelming. With, it can even be fun!

We hope you enjoyed this lesson and took away some valuable information!

If you’re serious about mastering the Afrikaans language, create your free lifetime AfrikaansPod101 account today.

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Most Common Travel Phrases in Afrikaans


Sometimes, traveling to a foreign country where the natives speak a language completely different from your own can be rather challenging. In South Africa, you have more of a choice! English is one of the country’s eleven national languages, and so is Afrikaans.

While you’ll be able to find your way using English, having useful Afrikaans travel phrases under your belt will definitely make for much easier traveling in this gorgeous country! The native speakers will also appreciate your effort to learn travel words in Afrikaans. Certainly, in Afrikaans language-learning, travel phrases are essential.

We teach you the best basic Afrikaans travel phrases at AfrikaansPod101! With easy, online access to excellent learning materials and tools (like this Afrikaans travel phrases guide), you’ll sound like a native in no time.

Let’s take a tour while looking at the most common travel phrases in Afrikaans.

Table of Contents

  1. Afrikaans Travel Phrases in Transport
  2. Afrikaans Travel Phrases When Eating Out
  3. Other Useful Travel Phrases in Afrikaans
  4. How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Learn Afrikaans Fast and Easily


Airport Terminal

1. Afrikaans Travel Phrases in Transport

Preparing for Travel

So, you’ve landed at one of South Africa’s three international airports: O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport, or Port Elizabeth International Airport.

All three are pretty modern, with good services available to tourists and foreigners in English. However, especially if you travel to the Mother City, Cape Town, you’ll elicit big smiles from the locals by using travel phrases in Afrikaans!

Afrikaans is spoken across the country as a first or second language by millions, but the greatest concentration of Afrikaans native speakers is probably to be found in and around Cape Town.

These handy Afrikaans travel phrases can serve you well at airports, and also around cities when you’re looking for transport.

Usage tip #1: If you’re not attracting a person’s attention, but simply addressing someone asking the following questions, you can leave out the main clause: Verskoon my (Or “Excuse me,” in English).

1- Verskoon my, waar kry ek die taxis, asseblief? OR Verskoon my, waar is die taxi-staanplek, asseblief?

Translation: “Excuse me, where can I find the taxis, please?” or “Excuse me, where can I find the taxi rank, please?”

Woman Getting Out of a Yellow Taxi.

Unfortunately, only the taxi transport service in the country is well-organized, and will probably be your preferred mode of transportation. South Africa has a good Uber network, so be sure to download the app on your phone before you come!

2- Verskoon my, waar is die bus stasie, asseblief? OR Verskoon my asseblief, waar kan ek ek op ‘n bus klim?

Translation: “Excuse me, where is the bus station, please?” or “Excuse me, where can I get on the bus, please?”

Besides the taxis, you’ll also find good shuttle services to hotels at all the main airports. Unfortunately, national bus service in town isn’t always reliable, so many tourists prefer to use taxis to commute. For inter-city travel, many tourists prefer coach services. (By the way, in Afrikaans, a “coach” is also referred to as a bus.)

It would be a good idea to consult with a reputable travel agent for references to good coach services in South Africa.

3- Verskoon my, waar is die trein stasie, asseblief?

Translation: “Excuse me, where is the train station, please?”

In the Gauteng province, the Gautrain is the only reliable and fairly modern rail system in and between Johannesburg and Pretoria. If you’re in one of these two cities, it would be best to ask for the Gautrain by name.

Fast Train Carriage, Yellow

Unfortunately, like the national bus service, the train service in South African cities and towns isn’t recommended. However, if you prefer to travel in style, you could consider either the famous Blue Train option, or book a safari on the equally breathtaking and locally-born Rovos Rail.

4- Verskoon my, hoe laat kom die taxi/trein/bus, asseblief?

Translation: “Excuse me, what time is the taxi/train/bus due, please?”

Always a handy phrase to have, even when you have the time schedule.

5- Baie dankie!

Translation: “Thank you very much!”

In most countries, knowing how to thank the locals in their own language will help you win friends and influence people! ;) In South Africa, this is no exception. When you receive the help you asked for, or even just an attempt to assist you, these are perfect Afrikaans travel words to use in response.

Usage tip #2: The majority of South Africans are friendly, generous people who respond to friendliness. If you address them politely and with a huge smile while looking them straight in the eye, you’re almost guaranteed a friendly reaction! Many will go out of their way to assist you, especially if you use a common travel phrase in Afrikaans. “Thank you” may just be one of the most important Afrikaans travel phrases for this reason.

2. Afrikaans Travel Phrases When Eating Out

Basic Questions

Eating should, ideally, always be a pleasure! Make sure your experiences in restaurants are positive with these useful Afrikaans phrases for tourists and visitors.

1- Goeiedag/goeienaand! ‘n Tafel vir [#], asseblief.

Translation: “Good day/good evening! A table for [#], please.”

Whether you’re booking by phone or as a walk-in at a restaurant, this is a good, casual phrase to use. Obviously, add your own number of diners.

2- Ons/Ek verkies om by ‘n venster te sit, asseblief. OR Ons/Ek verkies om buite te sit, asseblief.

Translation: “We/I prefer a window seat, please.” OR “We/I prefer to sit outside, please.”

Three Women Sitting at a Table Eating Outside at a Restaurant.

Eating outside or near a window isn’t always an option, obviously. But, especially Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (or simply PE, as it’s called by the locals) have restaurants with breathtaking sea and mountain views. You may want to specify where you’d like to be seated!

3- Verskoon my, mag ek die spyskaart/wynlys sien, asseblief?

Translation: “May I see the menu/wine list, please?”

In most restaurants, you’ll be offered the menu, and most likely the wine list, immediately upon being seated.

South Africans are big on wines. Like in huge. The country is considered one of the foremost wine producers in the world! So, if you enjoy the occasional glass of good wine, make sure your restaurant of choice is one of the upmarket ones in town. (Most restaurants will have a good selection, but the high-end eateries will treat you to pairing the best wines with your food.)

Cape Winelands

If you’re not a wine lover, but would like to enjoy a stronger beverage, you can still ask for the wine list. This is the term South Africans use to describe the menu for all alcoholic drinks.

And if you don’t have a clue what to order, you could always ask your waitron or maître d’ in perfect Afrikaans…

4- Wat kan jy/u aanbeveel, asseblief?

Translation: “What would you recommend, please?”

This is a catch-all phrase for both food and wine, so make sure you indicate which (by pointing to or holding up the menu).

If you need to be formal, you could use the pronoun U. In old English, this would translate as “Thou.” Like in the U.K., this form of address is no longer commonly used in South Africa. You can still use it if you’re talking to an obviously much older person, or a VIP whom you need to address formally.

Usage tip #3: South Africa has some award-winning restaurants, the best in the world. So relying on the chef’s recommendation could well ensure an unforgettable, superior gastronomic experience for you and your companions!

5- Mag ek die rekening kry, asseblief?

Translation: “May I have the bill, please?”

In some establishments, it’s considered improper for the person who waits on your table to ask if you would like the bill, so this is a good Afrikaans travel phrase to memorize! If you’re paying in cash, but you don’t need change, just look the waitron in the eye, smile, and say: Baie dankie! Then get up and leave. It will usually be understood that you’re leaving the money as their tip. If they return with your change anyway, then just say with a smile: Hou die kleingeld! (Or “Keep the change!” in English).

Alternatively, just hand them the money and wait for your change to be returned to you. Like in many other countries, a fifteen percent tip is acceptable; more, if the service and food were outstanding. (Less than fifteen percent will tacitly indicate that you weren’t pleased with something, especially in fine-dining restaurants.)

The final bill will very seldom include the tip, so be sure to leave one where warranted. Your generosity will be much appreciated! Working as waitrons is a low-paying job in most restaurants, yet it is many South Africans’ main or only source of income.

3. Other Useful Travel Phrases in Afrikaans

Survival Phrases

Our survival Afrikaans travel phrases guide wouldn’t be complete without these additional useful phrases! These Afrikaans words and phrases for travellers will help you out in a pinch.

1- Baie dankie vir alles!

Translation: “Thank you very much for everything!”

2- Daardie een/hierdie een, asseblief.

Translation: “That one/this one, please.”

3- Hoe laat maak die winkel/museum/teater oop, asseblief?

Translation: “What time does the shop/museum/theatre open, please?”

4- Hoe laat maak die winkel/museum/teater toe, asseblief?

Translation: “What time does the shop/museum/theatre close, please?”

5- Waar is die badkamer?

Translation: “Where is the bathroom?”

How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Learn Afrikaans Fast and Easily

We hope you enjoyed learning about Afrikaans travel phrases with us! Which ones do you see yourself using on your trip to South Africa? Let us know in the comments!

If you sign up for a free online course now, you create an account with lifetime access. Depending on the enrollment option, of which there are three different learning plans, you’ll also gain access to the following word and phrase lists. These can greatly augment your Afrikaans travel phrases:

You’ll make your life so much easier using these, especially once you learn Afrikaans travel phrases.

If you’re serious about your learning, don’t hesitate; enroll with AfrikaansPod101 straight away. Affordable, with thousands of lesson plans tailored to your needs, you’ll learn so much more than travel phrases in Afrikaans. And with enough hard work and determination, you’ll be able to speak Afrikaans like a native before you know it!


The Best Tips About Afrikaans Numbers 1 - 30 and Beyond


Without language, numbers make no sense. Yet it’s also true that numbers are a language all of their own! So, when you learn a new language, familiarizing yourself with its numeral system should be one of your first priorities, as numbers are a way to indicate value and meaning of all kinds. In Afrikaans language-learning, numbers are equally essential.

At AfrikaansPod101, we understand that numbers are vitally important in all languages, and that’s why we take extra effort to help you master them. Learn Afrikaans numbers 1 to 30 easily and in fun ways, starting right here with our numbers in Afrikaans dictionary/guide!

Table of Contents

  1. Numbers vs. Numerals
  2. Afrikaans Numbers 1 to 20
  3. Numbers in Afrikaans 21 to 30, etc.
  4. Tips to Easily Memorize the Numeral Terms
  5. AfrikaansPod101 and Learning Afrikaans Numbers Easily

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1. Numbers vs. Numerals

Afrikaans Numbers

First, let’s clear up the distinction between “numbers” and “numerals.”

As explained beautifully clear in, a number is a count or measurement that’s really an idea in our minds. There are different ways of referring to the same number, such as by writing the numeral (4), using a word to say it (four), holding up four fingers, or snapping your fingers four times.

A numeral is, as demonstrated above, a symbol or name that stands for a number. Therefore, we can say that the number is the idea, while the numeral is how we write it.

The Afrikaans numeral system (or Afrikaans number words) is based on the Western Arabic numerals, which is the most-used numeral system in the world today. It’s not really difficult, once you grasp the system.

The trick is to memorize the first twenty numbers. From twenty to ninety-nine, they follow another, fairly easy pattern. Then, things change again from 100 onwards, and again at 1000 and so forth, but not much.

You’ll easily catch on, and before you know it, you’ll be counting numbers in Afrikaans language! Without further ado, our guide on Afrikaans numbers 1-100, and far beyond…

2. Afrikaans Numbers 1 to 20


1- Explanation of the Rules:

  • Afrikaans numbers from zero to twelve are specific words.
  • From thirteen to nineteen, numbers are put together by adding the -tien suffix after the unit. This is the same as in English, which adds the “-teen” suffix, like in thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, etc.

Below are the numerals and words for cardinal numbers. We also give the ordinal word for zero, as well as numbers one to twenty in Afrikaans.

As explained on Wikipedia, ordinal numbers are words representing position or rank in a sequential order. The order may refer to anything from size to importance to chronology (such as “fourth”, “tertiary,” etc.). They differ from cardinal numerals, which represent quantity (such as “three” ) and other types of numerals.

That said, here’s an Afrikaans number chart for 1-20 with both Afrikaans ordinal numbers and cardinal numbers.

[Numeral - Symbol] [Cardinal Numbers - Words] [Ordinal Numbers - Words]
0 Nil n/a
1 Een Eerste
2 Twee Tweede
3 Drie Derde
4 Vier Vierde
5 Vyf Vyfde
6 Ses Sesde
7 Sewe Sewende
8 Agt Agste
9 Nege Negende
10 Tien Tiende
11 Elf Elfde
12 Twaalf Twaalfde
13 Dertien Dertiende
14 Veertien Veertiende
15 Vyftien Vyftiende
16 Sestien Sestiende
17 Sewentien Sewentiende
18 Agtien Agtiende
19 Negentien Negentiende
20 Twintig Twintigste

Learn in only three minutes how to count from one to ten in Afrikaans!

Man Studying

3. Numbers in Afrikaans 21 to 30, etc.

Now the number formulations for twenty-one to thirty in Afrikaans (and beyond) change a bit, but not much.

1- Explanation of the Rules:

  • Except for ten itself, the tens are formed by adding the -tig suffix at the end of the matching digit. Sometimes this involves a change in the word, like in twintig or dertig.
  • From twenty-one to ninety-nine, the tens and units are prefixed with en- meaning “and.”
  • “Hundreds” ( honderde) and “thousands” (duisende) are built by prefixing the scale word with the multiplier unit.
  • In Afrikaans, we use the long scale for big numbers. This means that every new word greater than a million is one-million times bigger than the previous term. You definitely want to be an Afrikaanse biljoener or an “Afrikaans billionaire,” because it means that een miljard is 109 (which is the U.S. billion), and een biljoen is 1012. This is a thousand U.S. billions.

With these rules out of the way, here’s another Afrikaans numbers list starting at 21.

[Numeral - Symbol] [Cardinal Numbers - Words] [Ordinal Numbers - Words]
21 Een-en-twintig Een-en-twintigste
22 Twee-en-twintig Twee-en-twintigste
23 Drie-en-twintig Drie-en-twintigste
24 Vier-en-twintig Vier-en-twintigste
25 Vyf-en-twintig Vyf-en-twintigste
26 Ses-en-twintig Ses-en-twintigste
27 Sewe-en-twintig Sewe-en-twintigste
28 Agt-en-twintig Agt-en-twintigste
29 Nege-en-twintig Nege-en-twintigste
30 Dertig Dertigste
31 Een-en-dertig Een-en-dertigste (etc.)
40 Veertig Veertigste
41 Een-en-veertig Een-en-veertigste (etc.)
50 Vyftig Vyftigste
51 Een-en-vyftig Een-en-vyftigste (etc.)
60 Sestig Sestigste (follow the formula as demonstrated in the previous tens)
70 Sewentig Sewentigste
80 Tagtig Tagtigste
90 Negentig Negentigste
100 Honderd Honderdste
101 Honderd-en-een Honderd-en-eerste (Here, the suffix changes to the ordinal word for one to nine. Refer back to previous column.)
1000 Duisend Duisendste
10 000 Tienduisend Tienduisendste
100 000 Honderdduisend Honderdduisendste
100 000 000 Miljoen Miloenste

So, now you have the basics! As said, the best way to get on top of Afrikaans numbers would be to:

1) Study the system until it makes sense to you.
2) Memorize numbers 1 - 20, as well as the tens (they are the odd ones).
3) Practice, practice, and practice! Repeat your and your friends’ cell numbers in Afrikaans, for instance. Or read the prices of merchandise in Afrikaans while you shop! Or listen to recordings of the numbers in Afrikaans over and over again to work on your Afrikaans numbers pronunciation. You’ll get there!

Little Girl Counting on Her Fingers

Here are some tips to memorize new, unfamiliar number words.

4. Tips to Easily Memorize the Numeral Terms

1- Memory Systems

Memory is a funny thing. Can you still remember the stuff you learned in school purely by rote? Probably not so well. This is mainly because using rote learning isn’t the best memory system at all, and retention is very poor after a while.

There are other systems to learn new words that have proven to be much more successful. They help you use your brain in a different way, allowing you to retain the information much longer. One such method is the Visualization & Association (V & A) technique, as described and taught by Memory Improvement Tips.

The three basic steps of the V&A technique are as follows:

3.1 Use “substitute words” to create an association with the Afrikaans number you’re trying to remember. For instance, the word drie or “three” in Afrikaans sounds just like “dream” but without the -m at the end.

3.2 Use your imagination to create vivid mental images of the ideas. The sillier, funnier, and more outrageous, the better! Also, super-size these images in your mind, and add as much animation as possible. Yup, the process can be great fun, and these are all good “hooks” into your memory! How would you visualize an outrageous dream, without the -m? And how would you visualize the number three?

3.3 Mentally link the visual images you created to each other. How would you associate your outrageous dream-image with the outrageous number three image?

Woman Thinking

2- Other Tips

The British Council also has a few very handy tips for learning and memorizing new vocabulary:

1. Keep an organized vocabulary notebook.
2. Look at the words again after 24 hours, after one week, and again after one month.
3. Read, read, read. The more times you “see” a word, the more easily you’ll remember it.
4. Use the new words. You need to use a new word about ten times before you remember it!
5. Do word puzzles and games like crosswords, anagrams, and word-searches.
6. Make word cards and take them with you. Read them on the bus or when you’re waiting for your friends.
7. Learn words with a friend. It can be more fun (and easier) to learn with someone else.
8. Learn a few number words in Afrikaans, but not too many. About eight new words a day is a good number.

5. AfrikaansPod101 and Learning Afrikaans Numbers Easily

We hope you enjoyed learning about Afrikaans numbers so far! Are you ready to start practicing these, or are there some you’re still struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

Afrikaans is a phonetic language, meaning you mostly pronounce the words as they’re written. Again, AfrikaansPod101 takes the lead with many excellent Afrikaans learning tools to help you master numbers and so much more, easily and almost effortlessly! When you learn about numbers in Afrikaans, lessons like this are helpful, but we have so many more learning options for you, too!

These tools include:

1. An extensive vocabulary list, updated regularly.
2. Every day, there’s a new Afrikaans word to learn. Use the tips described above, and master this word easily!
3. Learn the Afrikaans numbers in context, meaning you get to know how to use them in specific situations, like when you place an order!
4. Access to numerous topical recordings, such as this Afrikaans Vocab Builder.
5. A free Afrikaans online dictionary.
6. An excellent 100 Core Afrikaans Words list!

Learn much faster with the help of a personal tutor, who will first let you take an assessment test to personalize your training. They’ll guide you to fast-track your pronunciation and enunciation of the numbers.

They’ll also be very helpful when you bump into challenges during your studies and learning. Your very own friendly, Afrikaans-speaking teacher will be only a text away on a special app, anywhere, anytime. Using a guided learning system, developed by experts in language and online education, they’ll be giving you personal feedback and constant support to improve quickly. You’ll also be tasked with weekly assignments in reading, writing, and speaking to really hone your Afrikaans speaking skills.

Don’t hesitate—enroll with AfrikaansPod101 now to learn Afrikaans numbers 1 to 30 and so much more.

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The Best Ways to Say “I’m Sorry” in Afrikaans

Apologizing by saying “I’m sorry,” in Afrikaans, or any other language, is a very important relationship skill to have. It can make or break things between people, meaning that learning how to say sorry when learning Afrikaans is so important.

How do you say sorry in Afrikaans? There are many ways of expressing “sorry” in South Africa.

Saying “I’m sorry” in Afrikaans has different applications, and its use depends on circumstances, situations, etc. Sometimes it sounds like an apology, but it’s actually a sort of interjection used to smoothe over interactions in different social situations. Other times, it’s a sincere apology for a transgression. As said, this is a very important relationship skill that no close partnership or friendship can do without.

Learn at AfrikaansPod101 how to say “I’m sorry” in Afrikaans, and other ways of saying an apology in Afrikaans.

Couple with Man Offering Apology

Here, we’ll look at the different types of apologies with their social and linguistic nuances, and give examples of when and how to use each one. Consider this your “Sorry in Afrikaans” dictionary!

Saying sorry in Afrikaans words can become tricky, so let’s start with the easiest application. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Afrikaans Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. Jammer, Verskoon my & Askies
  2. “I’m Sorry” or “Ek is jammer”
  3. 3. Ways AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You to Say “I’m Sorry” in Afrikaans

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1. Jammer, Verskoon my & Askies

3 Ways to Say Sorry

“Sorry” in Afrikaans is an apology that’s used pretty much the same way as in English. It’s often used as an interjection of sorts that serves mostly to indicate an acknowledgement of another person’s possible situation or feeling. Below is a “Sorry” in Afrikaans translation.

Tip: If you need to apologize for a serious transgression, this would not be the go-to apology!

Afrikaans: Jammer or Verskoon my or Askies.
Translation: “Sorry” or “Pardon me” or “Excuse me.”

Jammer, Verskoon my, or Askies can be used interchangeably, mostly based on the situation. In casual scenarios, and when addressing people you know, Jammer and Askies are most suitable. In formal situations, or when talking to strangers, Verskoon my is more appropriate. However, the distinction isn’t terribly important, and you won’t land in trouble if you mix up these three.

1- Situational Use

Like the British, the Afrikaans people consider it polite to apologize for nearly everything. It’s become part of their reflexive, interpersonal repertoire that seems rather odd, once you start analyzing it!

One psychologist speculates that people who apologize for everything might have a hard time differentiating between situations that do (or don’t) require an apology, or they may not fully understand how significant an apology to a loved one is.

Yet, whatever the reasons are behind reflexively saying sorry, knowing how the different forms are used in Afrikaans will help you understand the native speakers better, even if you choose not to apologize over every little thing yourself!

Open Hand with the Word Sorry Written on the Palm

1.) The Afrikaans people often use jammer to get someone’s attention and to apologize for disturbing them—a throwback to good manners in an excruciatingly polite English society. (Afrikaans culture is still very British.)

Example: Verskoon my, maar kan jy my sê hoe laat dit is asseblief?
Translation: “Excuse me, but could you tell me the time, please?”

Another example:

Example: Jammer, maar kan jy my verduidelik hoe om by die lughawe te kom, asseblief? (Here, Verskoon my would also be appropriate.)
Translation: “Sorry, could you direct me to the airport, please?”

In this instance, jammer stands in the place of this phrase: Jammer om jou te pla of Verskoon my dat ek pla, which literally means: “Sorry to disturb you” or “Excuse me for disturbing you.”

You could use the whole phrase, instead of only jammer. As you should see, these can be understood as polite ways of getting someone’s attention.

2.) There are more ways to apologize for a possible inconvenience caused, or to indicate understanding of someone’s discomfort. Again, this isn’t the best way to apologize if you need to say sorry in Afrikaans for a serious transgression, discomfort, or inconvenience.

Example: Jammer, maar ons het nie jou grootte skoen in die winkel nie. (Here, jammer can be replaced with askies, a more informal term.)
Translation: “Sorry, but we don’t have your size shoe in the shop.”

Another example:

Example: (When your cell phone rings at the dinner table, and it’s an urgent call.) Jammer, maar ek moet gou hierdie oproep neem. Ek sal nou terug wees.
Translation: “Sorry, I have to take this call, but I will be back soon.”

And then it’s important to return to your meeting or date as soon as possible! Sometimes interference can’t be helped, but in most situations, it’s considered impolite, even insensitive to interrupt or leave a meeting or date to take a phone call.

In this instance, Jammer takes the place of Ek is jammer vir enige ongerief, translated as “I’m sorry for any inconvenience.” It’s not common to use the long phrase to excuse yourself.

2. “I’m Sorry” or “Ek is jammer”

Say Sorry

Afrikaners use this sentence a bit differently than Jammer, but not much. From this phrase, you can also create more sincere apologies, like “I’m very sorry,” in Afrikaans.

1- Situational Use

Ek’s jammer, which is a contraction like “I’m sorry” (for “I am sorry” ) in Afrikaans, can be used interchangeably with Jammer, but there’s a subtle difference in nuance. This mostly depends on why you use it, meaning it will depend on what the situation is.


1. Casual Situational Use

Ek is jammer, or the contraction Ek’s jammer, can replace Jammer in all of the aforementioned samples. Use it when apologizing for something you should logically not have to say sorry for, as a show of being culturally correct! It is, as said, considered polite to use Jammer this way in Afrikaans, and it will show some sensitivity for the conversational culture on your side.

2. Other Situational Use

Apology for Harm Done

If you have, logically and clearly, caused someone inconvenience or discomfort, and it is appropriate to apologize, these two phrases are more appropriate to use than only Jammer.

However, even here we have subtle nuances which will determine how you use it.

That said—none of these are more important than heart-felt intent. It’s best to never underestimate the power of an apology when you were clearly in the wrong.

If your transgression is really not that serious, meaning that you haven’t caused any serious harm, you’ll probably use the contraction.

Example: (You’re late for your plane, and running to the terminal, you bump into someone. Fortunately, they are unharmed.) Ek’s jammer!
Translation: “I’m sorry!”

Another example:

Example: (You arrive fifteen-twenty minutes late for a date with an Afrikaans friend. Not a serious transgression, but you did keep them waiting.) Ek’s jammer ek is laat!
Translation: “I’m sorry I’m late!”

However, if you’ve caused someone serious inconvenience or hurt them intentionally or unintentionally, use the full phrase to say you’re sorry. This is a way of saying “I am really sorry” in Afrikaans, or “I am very sorry” in Afrikaans.

Couple with Woman Saying Sorry

Example: (After a fight.) Ek is jammer ek het my humeur verloor. Dit was onaanvaarbaar van my en ek wil nie baklei nie.
Translation: “I am sorry I lost my temper. It was unacceptable behavior on my part and I don’t want to fight.”

You may even want to add the adverb werklik as a sub-modifier to emphasize heartfelt regret, as in:

Example: Ek is werklik jammer ek het my humeur verloor. Dit was onaanvaarbaar van my en ek wil nie baklei nie. (You could also replace werklik with regtig, which is a bit more casual in nuance and closer to “really” in meaning.)
Translation: “I’m truly sorry I lost my temper. It was unacceptable behavior on my part and I don’t want to fight.”

You could use these phrases effectively in an apology letter in Afrikaans, or better perhaps, a card.

Another example:

Example: Ek is jammer ek het jou kar gestamp. Ek sal dit laat regmaak.
Translation: “I’m sorry I bumped your car. I will have it fixed.”

3. Apology to Offer Condolences

In English-speaking cultures, it’s definitely appropriate to use an apologetic form to express condolences or sympathy. This is the same in Afrikaans. It’s a way of expressing caring and empathy.

For example:

Example: Ek is jammer jy het nie die werk gekry nie.
Translation: “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job.”

Or, if someone close to your Afrikaans colleague or friend passes away, you express condolences this way:

Example: Ek is werklik jammer om te hoor van jou verlies. Laat weet gerus as ek kan help met enigiets.
Translation: “I’m truly sorry for your loss. Please let me know if I can help with anything.”

Tip: Offer help only if you do mean to assist. It’s a wonderful way to let the bereft feel supported. However, be discerning if a request for money is made. Asking for money for a funeral (or for personal use) from strangers is not a cultural habit in South Africa, but unfortunately, opportunists could take advantage of well-meaning foreigners. Don’t feel bad to politely decline financial assistance, or, alternatively, offer only a small sum.

If you want to avoid this potential problem, you could offer condolences this way:

Example: Ek is werklik jammer om te hoor van jou verlies. Ek dink aan jou.
Translation: “I’m truly sorry for your loss. You’re in my thoughts.”

If you want to comfort someone when they’re ill, or are clearly upset about something, you can also express empathy using “I am sorry” in Afrikaans.

Two Woman, One Comforting the Other

Example: Ek is jammer jy voel so sleg. Ek hoop jy voel gou beter.
Translation: “I’m sorry you feel so bad. I hope you feel better soon.”

3. Ways AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You to Say “I’m Sorry” in Afrikaans

We hope you enjoyed our article on how to say sorry in Afrikaans language! Do you feel more confident about how to say “I’m sorry” in Afrikaans, or are there still some things you’re fuzzy on? Can you think of any creative ways to say sorry in Afrikaans? Let us know in the comments!

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Celebrating Cultural Heritage Day in South Africa

Cultural Heritage Day in South Africa

Each year, South Africans celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of their country’s many cultures and peoples. Essentially, the meaning of Heritage Day in South Africa is that of unity and togetherness in spirit as a country; this is especially vital for the country when considering the rough South Africa heritage history of apartheid leading up to this holiday’s creation.

In this article, you’ll learn some valuable information about Heritage Day in South Africa. In doing so, you should have a greater understanding of South African culture in general, and the significance of diversity therein.

At, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative! So let’s get started, and delve into the rich meaning and history of South Africa’s Heritage Day.

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1. What is Heritage Day?

On Heritage Day, South Africans celebrate the diversity of their country’s culture, traditions, and beliefs. South Africa is very eclectic in terms of cultures and belief systems, and Heritage Day offers the nation’s people a way to become cognizant about the other cultures within the borders of their nation.

When did Heritage Day start in South Africa?

In 1996, then-President Nelson Mandela urged all people living in the country to have a barbecue on Heritage Day to celebrate their traditions with alacrity. South Africa has an extensive history of divisiveness, so having a day when attention is focused on embracing differences in congruity rather than clamoring against those differences is especially important.

Heritage Day is also about celebrating the many contributions of all people who live in South Africa today.

2. When is Heritage Day?

Heritage Day

Each year South Africa celebrates its Heritage Day on September 24.

3. How do South Africans Celebrate Heritage Day?

Food Grilling on BBQ

South Africans celebrate Heritage Day through a variety of events and activities held throughout the nation. For example, in Hout Bay, the residents celebrate with an army procession and a reenactment of a battle that happened there. However, celebrations can be vast, and there are many other public activities celebrating Heritage Day.

Another way to celebrate is through wearing South African Heritage Day outfits, which comprise of the different types of dress across the country’s many cultures and peoples. This display of different, unique clothing is a prime example of both pride and belonging of various groups throughout South Africa.

But is Heritage Day a public holiday in South Africa?

Yes! On Heritage Day, most people have the day off work and school to fully immerse themselves in the celebrations.

4. Many Names

Do you know what other names people have called Heritage Day?

Before 1995, September 24 was called Shaka Day to commemorate Shaka, the Zulu King. Shaka helped bring together the disparate Zulu clans into a single nation. The Zulu people gather every year at Shaka’s grave to pay homage to him on this date.

In 2015, there was a media campaign which attempted to rebrand Heritage Day as National Braai Day because of the focus on barbecuing together.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Heritage Day in South Africa

Cultural Icon

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Heritage Day!

  • Braai — “Barbecue”
  • Erfenis — “Heritage”
  • Pret — “Fun”
  • Kultuur — “Culture”
  • Geloof — “Belief”
  • Tradisie — “Tradition”
  • Diversiteit — “Diversity”
  • Geslagte — “Generations”
  • Gemeenskap — “Community”
  • Identiteit — “Identity”
  • Divisie — “Division”
  • Verenig — “Unite”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Afrikaans Heritage Day vocabulary list!

How AfrikaansPod101 Can Teach You More About South African Culture

We hope you enjoyed learning about Heritage Day with us! What are your thoughts on unity and diversity throughout South Africa? Does your country have a similar holiday? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

To continue learning about the rich cultures of South Africa and the Afrikaans language, explore We offer an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

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If you want to really get the most out of your learning experience, we suggest upgrading to Premium Plus. This will give you access to your own Afrikaans teacher who will help you develop a personalized learning plan tailored to your needs and goals. Yes, really!

Setting out to learn a new language can be scary, and the road’s not an easy one. But your determination and hard work will pay off. You’ll be speaking, writing, and reading Afrikaans like a native before you know it, and AfrikaansPod101 will be here to guide you along with lessons and support on your way there!

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The Most Commonly Used Nonverbal Gestures in South Africa


Being understood in any language goes far beyond the spoken word. Everyone communicates with their entire body, not just with what they say. To muddy up communication even more, add cultural differences to the mix (take, for example, gestures in South Africa vs. the United States). This is succinctly explained in a quote from an article by Cynthia Ntuli, a student at the University of South Africa:

“As human beings, we use language, i.e., verbal and nonverbal signals to communicate and interact with one another and to link us to the world. Much of what we do when we interact with others is based on our cultural values and background. In this interaction we often encounter people who not only use different languages but who also come from cultures and backgrounds different from ours. Because of our differences, misunderstandings may occur in the process of communication and this may have a negative effect on people around us.”

Women in Suits Talking Around a Water Cooler

Therefore, it’s important to know typical gestures as they’re used by Afrikaans-speaking people, as well as the rude gestures in South Africa. In Afrikaans language-learning, body gestures and how they’re used could mean the difference between making friends or making enemies! This makes Afrikaans lessons about body language an essential aspect of your learning journey.

At AfrikaansPod101, we know that communication is a complex process, especially where Afrikaans body language is involved. So, read on for a quick and easy guide on the most commonly-used hand gestures in South Africa, as well as the ones to avoid. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Afrikaans Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. Hand Gestures in South Africa
  2. Rude Hand Gestures in South Africa
  3. What Makes AfrikaansPod101 Different?

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1. Hand Gestures in South Africa

Afrikaans Hand Gestures

The most important body language in South Africa for you to learn is hand gestures. Most hand gestures used by Afrikaans-speaking South Africans are fairly well-known in most Western cultures. There are only a few such Afrikaans body gestures that are fairly native to the language.

1- Shaking Your Hand to Show Commiseration with Pain

Let’s start with a typically South African gesture. This gesture in South Africa is used most commonly to indicate commiseration or empathy with someone when they’re experiencing physical pain or a situation of discomfort.

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

It’s not difficult—simply imagine injuring your finger painfully, like, for instance, getting it pinched in a door. What’s your first response? Universally, we either grasp the sore finger and squeeze it, or we vigorously shake the hand (usually with the palm towards the body and the fingers spread open), as if we’re literally trying to shake off the pain.

All human bodies are, in fact, designed to instinctively do this to draw more blood to the site of pain and injury. The movement initiates the process of healing, but South Africans commonly use it as an eloquent gesture. Try it now by pretending you hit your finger with a hammer…

Well, there you have the gesture! It’s custom to shake your hand approximately three times.

2. When to Use

Use this gesture if you witness someone injuring themselves. Usually, you would then suck in a breath through your teeth, and say something like: Eina! Is jy okey? meaning “Ouch! Are you OK?” Of course, you can offer help if the injury is serious and you know what to do. Otherwise, your simple empathy is enough.

This gesture is also used as a non-verbal cue to express commiseration when experiencing (or expecting) an uncomfortable situation. Such as:

Person 1: Ek skryf vandag eksamen en ek het deurnag gestudeer! Maar my brein voel sif, ek kan niks onthou nie!
Translation: “I’m writing exams today and I studied through the night! But my brain feels numb, I can’t remember anything!”

Person 2: *Pulls face in sympathy and uses this shaking gesture.* Eina! Ek hoop jy voel gou beter.
Translation: “Ouch! I hope you feel better soon.”

The gesture is common not only among Afrikaans-speaking South Africans, but in all other South African cultures too. Don’t use it to show sympathy for a serious incident or illness, though, such as death, a cancer diagnosis, or the like.

2- Rubbing Fingers to Indicate Money or Texture

This is yet another gesture in South Africa that’s so eloquent and universally understood that you don’t have to say anything to make yourself clear. It’s used to mean two things: money and the texture of soft fabric.

Money Gesture

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

Clench your hand in a loose fist, and then rub your forefinger and thumb together, as shown in the illustration above. Repeat about three times.

2. When to Use

Spice up your conversation with this gesture when someone mentions a lot of money or something expensive. Like this:

Person 1: Kyk daai Alfa 4C!
Translation: “Look at that Alfa 4C!”

Person 2: *Uses this rubbing gesture.* Ja, fantastiese karre en lekker duur!
Translation: “Yes, fantastic cars and very expensive!”


While using this popular gesture in South Africa, you could comment: Wys my die geld! meaning “Show me the money!”


Ek soek ‘n bloes in sagte materiaal.
“I’m looking for a blouse in a soft fabric.”

3- Holding Thumbs or the Good Luck Gesture

“Holding thumbs” is a positive, popular gesture in South Africa among the Afrikaans-speaking folk. It can even be called one of the South African gestures of respect.

The gesture itself means you’re rooting for someone and wishing them good luck. In both Afrikaans and English, hou duimvas, or “holding thumbs,” is a common expression too, and popularly used together with the gesture.

A Clover

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

Place your thumb flat onto the same hand’s palm. Now curl the rest of the fingers over the thumb, like infants are often seen doing. It’s similar to a fist clench, only the thumb gets placed under the other fingers, not over.

2. When to Use

Use this to indicate that you’re supporting someone in thought, and to wish them good luck for an important event. To properly use this gesture, you’d slightly raise your fist and say, for instance: Ek hou duimvas vir ons span! meaning “I’m holding thumbs for our team!”

In a conversation, you can use it like this, as well:

Person 1: Ek gaan my bestuurslisensie toets doen vanoggend.
Translation: “I’m going for my driver’s license test this morning.”

Person 2: *Slightly raises their fist in this gesture.* Voorspoed! Ek hou vir jou duimvas! Hoop jy slaag maklik.
Translation: “Fare well! I’m holding thumbs for you! Hope you will pass easily.”

Another gesture, crossing fingers, is similar but not completely identical in meaning. It’s also commonly used in many Western countries.

4- Crossing Fingers: A Gesture to Wish for Good Luck

This gesture in South Africa means the same as in many other countries. It’s based on an old superstition that you’ll be protected and/or gain good luck if you wish for it with your fingers crossed.

Woman Crossing Fingers

Crossing fingers has another, more nefarious meaning, also based on superstition. If you cross your fingers while telling a lie, or making a promise you’re not intending to keep, the belief is that you’re sort of asking God for forgiveness. Usually, you’d hold your crossed fingers behind your back.

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

Simply cross the middle finger of one or both hands over the index finger.

Man Holding Fingers Behind His back

2. When to Use

It’s slightly more common among Afrikaans speakers to wish someone else good luck by holding thumbs than by crossing fingers. The Afrikaners also don’t have a specific word or phrase that goes with this gesture. However, you could, for instance, raise your crossed fingers, and say something like: Voorspoed! meaning “Best wishes!”

If you’re betting or gambling, or if you wish good luck for yourself, simply cross your fingers and slightly raise your hands. Everyone will understand what you mean!

5- The OK Gesture

This is another popular gesture in South Africa that’s well-known in most Western countries. The OK gesture means just that—you’re fine and/or the situation is fine. It’s commonly used by divers who are underwater to indicate that everything is OK or safe.

Woman Showing OK with One Hand

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

Form an O with your thumb and forefinger. Keep the other three fingers lifted.

2. When to Use

Any time you wish to indicate that something is great (such as fantastic food, or a magnificent car), or that you’re personally OK, this gesture is good to use.

You could say something like: Alles reg hier! meaning “Everything OK here!” when you want to indicate that you’re fine.

Or you could comment Manjifiek! meaning “Magnificent!” if something is particularly to your liking.

6- Peace Sign and Bull’s Horns

These signs have their origins in old Western superstitions, but in many cultures they mean different things. The gestures are rooted in popular heavy metal and rap culture, and the meaning is usually benevolent, such as wishing peace or warding off evil.

In South Africa, you’ll usually see the younger generation using these gestures.

Young Man Making the Peace Sign

Two Men Showing the Bull's Horn Gestures

1. What the Gestures Looks Like

The Peace Sign is a raised fist with the index and middle fingers up. The palm is turned outward and away from the body.

The Bull’s Horns is also a fist, with the index finger and pinky raised, sometimes with the thumb raised too. The palm is turned towards the body.

2. When to Use

Use these gestures in South Africa when you want to extend a benevolent greeting or salutation, mainly to young people.

7- Tapping a Finger Against Your Head or Crazy/Clever Gesture

This South African gesture has two meanings: crazy or clever.

Man Tapping Finger Against Head

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

It’s pretty simple: Using the index finger, simply tap repeatedly against the temple.

2. When to Use

You need to be sensitive in your use of this gesture, or you could offend someone. If your gesture refers to someone who’s clearly suffering from mental health issues, you would be offensive to many. However, if you’re witnessing someone clowning around or making jokes, it would be appropriate to use this gesture with a smile while shaking your head. As if you’re saying: “What a crazy clown!”

Or, you could use this gesture to indicate someone who’s brainy or very clever. To make your meaning clear, you could add a comment, such as: Dis slim van jou! meaning “That’s clever of you!” or Slimkop! meaning “Clever head!”

So, these gestures are popular and positive ones to use when you’re in the company of Afrikaans-speaking people. There are a few rude ones, though.

2. Rude Hand Gestures in South Africa

The following gestures are rude and no-no’s for use in company. Completely avoid using these!

1- The Fig Sign

The fig sign is an important thing to note about body language in South African culture. This sign demonstrates the differences between cultures, because it’s considered to have an obscene, rude meaning in South Africa. It represents a common swear word. However, in Brazil, it’s used to ward off the so-called “evil eye,” and in Hindu culture, it has religious connotations.

Fig Gesture

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

Holding the hand in a clenched fist, push the thumb through the index and middle fingers.

2- Middle Finger Gesture

This gesture is universally offensive and considered quite aggressive. Walk away if someone shows you this one, because they’re nonverbally swearing at you!

Man Hand with Middle Finger in Obscene Gesture

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

As the image demonstrates, the hand is in a clenched fist, with only the middle finger raised. Usually, the hand is raised, too.

3- The Peace Sign with Palm Towards Body

This peaceful sign turned towards the body is, in some Afrikaans circles, considered an aggressive one. It means, more or less, the same as the middle finger, and serves as an offensive swear word.

Man Making Two Peace Signs

1. What the Gesture Looks Like

The hand is in a fist, with the index and middle fingers raised, like the Peace Sign. However, the palm is turned inward, and usually, the complete gesture involves shoving both fists upward from the waist. The inference should be clear…!

What Makes AfrikaansPod101 Different?

So, these common gestures in South Africa will go a long way to help you communicate with clarity. At AfrikaansPod101, we make that process even easier with our culturally-relevant content, and our practical, fun approach to learning.

When you enroll, you can expect to receive many benefits, including different membership options. Depending on your personal needs, these will unlock functions such as a personal tutor, available via text nearly 24/7, or access to knowledgeable, energetic hosts who are native Afrikaans speakers.

Also get access to downloadable apps and many other tools you can use on your Android or IOS phone, tablet, or laptop—everywhere and anywhere! You can practice, for instance, an Afrikaans word a day or these 100 Core Afrikaans Words anywhere you are! Or, on your own time, learn with the help of these Afrikaans vocabulary lists.

Get a new lesson delivered every day, and easily learn to speak Afrikaans like a native! Using popular gestures in South Africa, you’ll soon be fluent in every way. And with enough practice, you’ll be using them like a native.

Which is your favorite gesture? Are any of these Afrikaans hand gestures similar to those in your country? Let us know in the comments! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Afrikaans Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

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The Best Afrikaans Internet Slang and How to Use it!

South Africans call themselves ‘’The rainbow nation,” and with good reason. South Africa is home to a variety of very diverse cultures, with eleven official languages! Approximately 14% of the population speaks Afrikaans, which is a unique cousin of Dutch that was born on the African continent centuries ago.

Learn to speak this beautiful language with us at—starting with the most commonly used Afrikaans text and internet slang! You can use any of these in voice-conversations too, of course.

One thing you’ll notice is that most of these expressions are filler words. Afrikaans native speakers, locally called “Afrikaners,” just love them. You can safely and prolifically use most of these in almost any social conversation, and you’ll be appreciated and understood. Even if you don’t really understand what you’re saying. Yup, an uncommon language!

Table of Contents

  1. Siestog / Shame
  2. Jinne!
  3. Lekker!
  4. Jislaaik / Jissie / Jissis
  5. Sommer / Just sommer
  6. Ja-nee
  7. Nou-nou
  8. A jol
  9. Ag
  10.—Learn to Say it Like the Locals!

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1. Siestog / Shame

Because South Africa is such a hotchpotch of cultures and languages, naturally a lot of cross-pollination has taken place over time. Therefore, you’ll recognize some of the words, such as ‘’shame,'’ a loan word from English.

This is a common text slang in South Africa, and can also be used in daily speech.

However, the Afrikaans people don’t use it quite the way the English do.

Siestog (or shame as Afrikaans text slang) can express empathy, or adoration (mostly of small, cute things).

How to Use

If you visit the country, you’ll probably find your Afrikaans host a caring person. That’s a trait Afrikaners are well-known for.

A: “Can’t join you, sorry, I have a headache.”
B: “Shame / Siestog! Here’s a pain killer. And let me know if I can do anything more to help.”

“Shame” makes sense in this context, because it could be seen as a compound of an English expression: “Such a shame that you have a headache!”

But both words also get used in another way that’s just plain weird to everyone but Afrikaners.

Commenting on something youthful, adorable, or cute, such as a tiny baby or a kitten, most Afrikaans speakers will gasp: “Shame!” This doesn’t mean they’re feeling embarrassment or pity—their protective instincts, compassion, and adoration just get all mixed up, and are (at least to them) perfectly expressed with: “Siestog, how small…!”

It’s a mystery how the Afrikaners ended up using these particular interjections. Maybe it’s because they have roomy hearts and a generous nature? Who knows?

2. Jinne!

This Afrikaans text slang term is perhaps the Afrikaans word for “Wow!”, but it’s infinitely more expressive.

Smiling Woman Looking Surprised

How to Use

Jinne! from the lips of an Afrikaans native speaker can express surprise, excitement, amazement, appreciation, upset, or shock—it really depends on the situation. Its general function is to emphasize whatever you add after it. Or it can just be a noise to make when you feel you’re expected to comment.

A: “I caught a fish today!”
B: “Jinne, that’s amazing!”


Jinne! Don’t give me a fright like that!”


A: “The pap and wors you can chow at this spaza is just, like, the best in the whole world.”
B: (Not understanding much, nodding with a smile) “Jinne, hey!”

3. Lekker!

The English community in South Africa has adopted this word, and it’s now used…well, almost the same as Jinne! Meaning, you can use it liberally in any situation and context, and it’ll most likely be perfectly acceptable. This includes using it as a text slang term.

Lekker literally means “nice” or “tasty,” though, so it’s best employed in a positive context.

Woman Smelling Coffee

How to Use

Use it the same way you would the interjection “Cool!” in English.

Express your satisfaction with something:
Jinne, this coffee smells lekker today.”

Or, when you admire someone (usually males):
“My new boss is a lekker guy.”

In some conservative communities, “She’s a lekker girl,” could mean you’re saying a woman has loose morals. Obviously, you might get into trouble this way. Saying: “She’s a lekker mom” or “That woman we just spoke to seems like a lekker person,” should be okay, though.

Or you can use it simply if you agree with something someone says. (Fillers are big in Afrikaans, remember?)

A: “That party is going to be a blast.”
B: “Lekker, lekker!

This works well as Afrikaans text slang, as well as when you’re in company.

Tip: smile and nod emphatically in agreement.

4. Jislaaik / Jissie / Jissis

This interjection is probably closer in meaning to “Wow!” than Jinne! is, and is used prolifically by the Afrikaners.

How to Use

It’s often used to convey a sense of awe when witnessing or looking at something impressive. If you’re awestruck by, say, the height of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, commenting with only a Jislaaik will be sufficient. Afrikaners will get exactly what you mean. Or you could elaborate—Unnecessarily!—with:

Jislaaik, what a tall building.”

It’s also perfect to use when you’re in need of an expletive, but you’re afraid to offend. Accidentally hit your thumb with a hammer? A loud Jissis! should be okay, even in children’s company.

If you feel the need to emphasize a point, say it like this: “Jissie, but I’m hungry,” or “Jislaaik, but it’s cold outside!” or “Jissis, now I’m angry!”

5. Sommer / Just sommer

One meaning of this Afrikaans text slang is close to “(Just) because,” but it depends on the situation. It’s also used to describe a cavalier, easy-going attitude or manner of doing something. This can easily be used as a text slang in South Africa.

Sulking Guy in Suit

How to Use

Sommer can be a passive-aggressive reply of note:

A: “Why are you upset with me?”
B: “Sommer.” (Then keep quiet and sulk. Obviously not good for relationship-building, so rather limit using it this way.)

Sommer is also commonly used to express amazement over something easily done, as in: “He sommer shot that ball straight into the net!” Here, it could mean the same as “Just like that!”

Or say it to express a casual, easy-going attitude: “You can just sommer come as you are.”

You can also employ it to brush something away in a conversation, or when you’re not in the mood to think hard about a reply:

A: “Why are you laughing?”
B: “Just sommer.”

6. Ja-nee

This literally translates as: “Yes-no,” and it’s one of those infinitely expressive, yet utterly inexplicable, interjections in Afrikaans. Some say it means the same as the British: “Ja well no fine,” which conveys reluctance or hesitancy, but this isn’t really accurate.

How to Use

Basically, you can use Ja-nee as a conversation filler to convey your wholehearted agreement with a point someone’s making. Always use it at the start of a sentence.

A: “Politics can be so dumb!”
B: “Ja-nee, it certainly can be.”


A: “This course is really good.”
B: “Ja-nee, we’re learning Afrikaans easily with AfrikaansPod101!”

7. Nou-nou

This sounds like you’re saying “No, no,” but it’s not even close in meaning. It has to do with time, and is almost as mysterious in meaning as Ja-nee. It’s not difficult to use, though.

Watch on a Chain

How to Use

Nou-nou refers to an indefinite time in the near future. It could be very near, like within a minute or two, or not so very near, like within an hour or three.

This time-telling isn’t an exact science at all—it’s a non-committal way of giving someone a time.

A: “When are you coming?”
B: Nou-nou.


A: (On Christmas Eve: ) “Mom, when is Father Christmas coming?”
B: “Nou-nou. Be patient. He probably got stuck in a chimney.”

8. A jol

Afrikaans people say a jol to express that they’re having a good time. You’re really enjoying yourself when you’re having a jol. It can also mean the same as playing, or refer to an actual party.


How to Use

Very simple:

A: “So, how was your office Year End event?”
B: “Man, we had such a jol!”


“Let’s go jol tennis tomorrow.”

9. Ag

No list of Afrikaans text slang would be complete without Ag. Afrikaner babies are born knowing how to use it. It sounds the same as the Scottish “Ach,” another word for “Ah.” But it doesn’t mean the same thing at all.

How to Use

You can use it to depict disappointment, as in: “Ag no, man. We just missed the train!”

It can convey the sense that something isn’t as big, bad, important, or terrible as it may appear: “Ag, don’t worry about the spill. It was an old jacket anyway. And the red paint splatter looks kind of lekker.”

It can also be used to strengthen Jinne, and Shame / Siestog as in:

Ag jinne, that baby elephant is adorable!”


Ag shame, you must be really tired.”—Learn to Say it Like the Locals!

Be lekker; learn to speak Afrikaans. With, you won’t make a mistake, as you’ll be learning with the best team! From text slang in South Africa to more elaborate conversational and cultural information, we have you covered.

Sign up for a free online course now, and create a lifetime account. You’ll have access to the following and more:

What’s not to love?!

If you’re serious about your learning, make use of the three different learning plans—so affordable, the only suitable comment is Jislaaik! Just sign up, sommer now.

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July 18: Nelson Mandela Day in South Africa

Nelson Mandela Day in South Africa

Nelson Mandela is a respected and well-known person all around the world, and this is especially true for South Africa. It’s no surprise that in South Africa, Nelson Mandela is such an admired figure. Because of Nelson Mandela, South Africa became the “Rainbow Nation,” a name representing its post-apartheid status.

In this article, we’ll be going over Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy (including the development of the Mandela Rainbow Nation), as well as common Nelson Mandela Day celebrations.

By learning about this important figure in South Africa’s history and development, you’re putting the right foot forward in mastering the Afrikaans language. And at, we hope to make your learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. Who is Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first black president and also the first president after the termination of apartheid and the first president elected there in a wholly democratic election. He served from 1994 until 1999.

He was also an apartheid abolitionist and a key figure in the battle to end segregation in South Africa. Because he was the first post-apartheid president, his administration was tasked with dismantling the system that institutionalized racism and promoting reconciliation among the races.

The struggle to end apartheid lasted for decades, and although at first Mandela endorsed peaceful protest of the regime, he later co-founded the militant wing of the African National Congress in 1961. The same year, he led a subversion crusade against the government, but was arrested the following year.

After nearly thirty years in prison, he joined the talks with President F.W. de Klerk to eradicate apartheid and set up multiracial elections, which finally took place in 1994.

As the candidate for the African National Congress, Mandela was voted into office. During his administration, he also led the Government of National Unity, which propagated a new constitution for the country.

2. When is Nelson Mandela Day?

Rainbow Nation Flag

Each year on 18 July, Nelson Mandela Day is celebrated, on the same date of Mandela’s birthday.

3. How is Nelson Mandela Day Celebrated?

Providing Service to Others

Though not a public holiday, Nelson Mandela Day celebrations abide in many countries, including South Africa.

When looking into traditions and celebrations on this day, first ask yourself “How did Nelson Mandela change South Africa?” In many ways, it was his striving for peace and harmony, as well as his determination to make South Africa a place of total equality and freedom, that allowed him to create the legacy he did for the country.

This in mind, many people choose to participate in volunteer work on this day. Further, organizations hold events to commemorate Nelson Mandela and his legacy, as well as encourage people to continue the pursuits he began for the country.

4. The Rivonia Trial

Read the Afrikaans text below to learn about the Rivonia Trial, and find the English translation directly below it.

Die Rivonia Verhoor het geduur vanaf 1963 tot 1964 in Suid-Afrika en buiten Nelson Mandela, was daar ook ‘n lang lys van mense wat aangekla is van en skuldig bevind is aan aanklagte van sameswering om die regering te saboteer en gevonnis is tot lewenslange tronkstraf. Die verhoor het sy naam gekry van die Johannesburg-voorstad Rivonia waar Mandela en die ander leiers van die revolusie gearresteer is. Dokumente wat verband hou met hul pogings is ook ontdek by Liliesleaf Farm. Die African National Congress het weggekruip op die plaas. Mandela het verskuif na die plaas toe in 1961 en polisie ontduik vir tyd lank onder die skyn van ‘n kok en tuinier genaamd David Motsam.

The Rivonia Trial lasted from 1963 until 1964 in South Africa, and in addition to Nelson Mandela, there was also a long list of people who were accused and convicted on charges of conspiracy to sabotage the government and sentenced to life in prison. The trial got its name from the Johannesburg suburb of Rivonia where Mandela and the other revolution leaders were arrested. Documents relating to their efforts were also discovered there at Liliesleaf Farm. The African National Congress hid out at the farm. Mandela moved to the farm in 1961 and evaded police for a time under the guise of a cook and gardener named David Motsam.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Nelson Mandela Day

Man Finding Inspiration

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Nelson Mandela Day!

  • Verander — “Change”
  • Regte — “Right”
  • Vryheid — “Freedom”
  • Versoening — “Reconciliation”
  • Inspireer — “Inspire
  • Geregtigheid — “Justice”
  • Leierskap — “Leadership”
  • Diens — “Service”
  • Bemagtiging — “Empowerment”
  • Reënboog nasie — “Rainbow nation”
  • Impak — “Impact”
  • Omskep — “Transform”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Afrikaans Nelson Mandela Day vocabulary list!


We hope you enjoyed learning about Nelson Mandela Day with us! Did you learn anything new about Nelson Mandela? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

To continue learning Afrikaans, explore and take advantage of our fun and practical learning tools! Read more insightful blog posts like this one, study free Afrikaans vocabulary lists, and make the most of your time with our mobile applications! By upgrading to Premium Plus, you can also begin using our MyTeacher program with a more personalized learning plan and your own Afrikaans teacher!

Know that the hard work and effort that you’re putting into your language studies will pay off, and you’ll be speaking, writing, and reading Afrikaans like a native speaker before you know it! AfrikaansPod101 will be here with you on each step of your journey to Afrikaans mastery!

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Most Interesting Untranslatable Afrikaans Words

At AfrikaansPod101, we know that language is a wondrous thing! It gives ’shape’ to people’s thoughts and experiences, but is also much more than that.

As humans, we share a “consensus reality,” which comprises experiences, traits, concepts, and so on. (Everyone experiences food and air, and can breathe and eat, for instance.) Yet all of these are filtered through different lenses, such as geography, history, religion, and a host of other factors. Our differences, in turn, can be enriching, informative, and fun to share with others, and language is the tool to confer this magic! What a great incentive to learn!

Take the untranslatable Afrikaans word springmielies, for instance. Literally translated, it means “jumping corn,” but actually refers to popcorn. Yet, you see the aptness of the Afrikaans word?!

Hands Shaped in a Heart with South African Flag Painted on them

However, it’s good to remember that having unique concepts doesn’t necessarily indicate a progressive culture, nor does it indicate language, cultural, or other superiority in any way. This is explained very well in an excellent article in The Conversation:

“While careful experimentation has shown that having words for concepts makes them easier or faster to name, it is not true that lacking a concept means you cannot conceive of it, and vice versa. For instance, many languages have gender-neutral pronouns (the same word is used for he and she) but are spoken in cultures with very poor levels of gender equality.”

Therefore, it’s better to see how we can enrich our view of the world and connect with others by familiarizing ourselves with the untranslatable words in other languages, including Afrikaans phrases with no English equivalent!

Table of Contents

  1. List of Untranslatable Afrikaans Words
  2. AfrikaansPod101 for Learning the Best Untranslatable Afrikaans Words

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1. List of Untranslatable Afrikaans Words

Here are some of the most unique untranslatable words in Afrikaans. Afrikaans is a literal language with a vocabulary that often paints clear, evocative pictures. We hope you enjoy and love these Afrikaans words that are untranslatable as much as we do!

1- Dwaal

A Man Walking

Literal translation: This word doesn’t have a literal translation.

What it actually means: Dwaal’s English approximate is “roam” or “wander,” but it denotes something subtly different, which is probably why it was recently included in the Oxford Dictionary. This is definitely one of the most popular Afrikaans words with no English translation!

When or where you’d use the word: You can use it to translate “roam” or “wander” to a degree, but it means…more. Melancholy? Bored? Absent-minded, or just needing space? Then you’d dwaal away from the crowd. Or you’d wander directionless through a mall in a mindless, almost spaced-out way. You never dwaal when you’re upbeat and happy (except in the first crazy, stupid-happy, cross-eyed flush of infatuation, of course). But then your brain isn’t working too well, so yeah. Dwaal, by all means.

Example: Waarheen dwaal jy? OR Ek was in ‘n dwaal en het die afdraai gemis.
Translation: “Where are you going to?” OR “I was in a daze and missed the turn-off.”

2- Koeksister

Twin Sisters

Literal translation: “Cake sister”

What it actually means: A word on the theme of foods, this is a confection some consider a South African delicatessen. It’s closely related to pastries like doughnuts or apple fritters, but not entirely similar. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful untranslatable Afrikaans words for those with a sweet tooth! Koeksisters are pretty, very sweet, and slightly chewy, and can probably induce secondary diabetes with their binge-worthiness.

When or where you’d use the word: The word is appropriate for use anywhere you find the pastry.

How to use the word: Jy kan my maklik in ‘n wip vang met koeksisters.
Translation: “You can easily catch me in a trap with koeksisters.”

Other notes: In Kaaps Afrikaans, a dialect found mostly in the Western Cape province of South Africa, it’s pronounced without the second “k,” like in koe’sister.

3- Kattekwaad

Angry Kitten

Literal translation: “Cat’s anger”

What it actually means: If you can guess the actual meaning of this word, you deserve something special. Because, like candy floss, it’s nowhere close in meaning to the literal words. Kattekwaad is an adjective which describes naughty behavior, and “pranks” is the English approximate. Usually, this word refers to the kind of behavior you’d expect among teenage boys, but grown men are known to engage in the same for fun.

When or where you’d use the word: This isn’t a clear-cut positive or negative expression. It can refer to naughty but relatively harmless activities, such as brothers playing pranks on their sister, for instance. Hanging her bicycle in a tree during the night would be described as kattekwaad—it’s somewhat shocking, and therefore not exactly innocent, but it’s not truly harmful either. However, if your neighbor comes over to complain about your kids’ kattekwaad in his yard, then pay attention. The kids have probably crossed a line.

How to use the word: Geniet die vakansie maar moenie te veel kattekwaad aanvang nie, asseblief!
Translation: “Enjoy the holiday but don’t play too many pranks, please!”

4- Geluksalig

Woman Lying in Grass Listening to Music

Literal translation: “Blissful happiness”

What it actually means: Well, it actually does mean “blissful happiness,” but there’s no single English word that encompasses the meaning of geluksalig. It’s commonly used in Christian churches from the pulpit to describe divinely inspired joy, but isn’t limited to places of worship. Geluksalig is also used to express a sense of superior relaxation, enjoyment, and gratification in any situation.

When or where you’d use the word: When it comes to untranslatable Afrikaans words to English, it’s considered quite a fancy word to use, but it’s safe in meaning and can be used as you see fit in any situation.

How to use it: Ons vakansie was geluksalig. OR Hy kyk na sy nuwe kar met ‘n geluksalige uitdrukking.
Translation: “Our holiday was blissfully fantastic/wonderful.” OR “He regards his new car with an expression of blissful worship.”

5- Verpletter

Literal translation: There’s no literal translation for this one!

What it means: Verpletter describes a particularly harsh form of destruction or demolition. It’s English approximates are probably “shatter” and “utterly destroy.”

When or where you’d use the word: This word has a certain tonal value that denotes utter destruction. It’s used, for instance, to describe a disastrous event with grave consequences, as well as a particular emotional state. In such a case, it’s a pretty strong word to use. Or, it can also be used to (gleefully) describe a victory in competitive sports, such as how your favorite rugby team destroyed their opponents during a match. (Rugby is big in South Africa, much like football in the U.S.A. and soccer in the U.K. Expletives and hyperboles abound.)

How to use the word: Die nuus van haar dood het die man verpletter. OR Die Blou Bulle is verpletter in vanoggend se wedstryd!
Translation: “The news of her death destroyed the man.” OR “The Blue Bulls were utterly destroyed during this morning’s match!”

6- Rymkletser

Old Couple, Old Woman Talking

Literal translation: “Rhyme babble mouth”

What it actually means: Well, if you’re astute, you can probably guess this one’s meaning. A kletser in Afrikaans is a person (typically an older, bored lady) who talks and talks and talks and…you get the idea. Combine this with “rhyme” and you get…? That’s right—a rapper! This is one the most unique Afrikaans phrases with no English equivalent, for sure.

When or where you’d use the word: Any time you want to describe a rapper, this is your go-to Afrikaans word. You may need to explain it to some locals, as it’s not that widely used. However, you should still invest in memorizing it, because the Afrikaners will love you for it!

How to use it: Die Antwoord is Suid Afrika se bekendste rymkletsers.
Translation: “Die Antwoord are South Africa’s most famous rappers.”

7- Skedonk

Literal translation: There’s no translation for this one either!

What it means: Skedonk (which has also recently earned Oxford Dictionary-status) refers to an old, often broken or malfunctioning car. Its English approximate is the phrase: “Old, broken vehicle.” The untended, missing-a-tire, nineteen-years-ago Chevy in your backyard that you just can’t bear to part with—that’s a textbook skedonk.

When or where you’d use the word: The word often denotes a fond relationship with said buggered-up motorcar, but it can be successfully used to describe any old or broken vehicle, too.

How to use it: Ja, dis tyd dat ek die skedonk verkoop. OR Ons vliegtuig was ‘n regte skedonk.
Translation: “Yup, it’s time I sell this old vehicle.” OR “Our airplane was really old and rickety.”

8- Papbroek

Porridge, Oatmeal

Literal translation: “Grits/oatmeal pants” OR “Deflated pants”

What it actually means: Well, another easy one for the astute. This word’s approximate is “coward,” “whimp,” or “weak man,” and if it conjures an image of a hunched, rather sad (if not sneaky) guy with baggy, saggy pants, you probably got the meaning. It denotes someone without a backbone, and who’s too afraid to take any risk that can cause him even the slightest harm. It also indicates a person of weak character.

When or where you’d use the word: This isn’t a flattering term in any way, even if it’s apt. It’s usually used to insult men, but women can be papbroeke, too. So, if you need to use it to describe someone other than yourself, be sure you can trust the listener to keep your confidence. And don’t use papbroek as an insult to someone’s face in a bar, as you may just learn they’re not that—the hard way.

How to use it: Hy sien homself nie as ‘n papbroek nie.
Translation: “He doesn’t see himself as a coward.”

9- Voetstoots

Man Pushing Car

Literal translation: “Foot push”

What it actually means: Another recent Oxford Dictionary addition, this untranslatable Afrikaans word has no English approximate. It refers to buying or selling any property without a warranty, meaning if you buy it and it breaks, there’s no return policy.

When or where you’d use the word: Definitely one to remember when you make a sale or buy something from an Afrikaner! It’s not offensive, so it can be freely used.

How to use it: Hy het die wasmasjien voetstoots gekoop.
Translation: “He bought the washing machine without warranty.”

10- Voetsek!


Literal translation: “Foot-(something)”; there’s no literal translation, really!

What it means: It’s got very little to do with a foot, unless it’s one kicking someone’s figurative butt. Voetsek is a strong command (definitely insulting and derogatory) that means “Leave now!”, but it can also denote someone’s speedy exit. Afrikaner farmers would shout Voetsek! to shoo away stray animals, such as feral dogs and cats, or a predatory jackal, from their sheep.

When or where you’d use the word: The command is more reserved for bothersome animals; otherwise, it’s a rude way to strongly advise someone to leave immediately. And you’d shout it, probably. But the friendship would be over then, or in need of serious patching up, so it’s best to use it conservatively. It’s not something to shout or say to any officer of the law, no matter how much you itch to. You could also use voetsek to self-deprecatingly describe your own hasty departure from any situation, but reserve this for informal conversation.

How to use it: Ag nee, my vroutjie is te kwaai vanoggend. Ek gaan maar voetsek. OR Die man het voetsek geskree vir die bobbejane by die asblik.
Translation: “My wifey is too angry this morning. I’m rather going to leave now.” OR “The man shooed away the baboons at the dustbin.”

2. AfrikaansPod101 for Learning the Best Untranslatable Afrikaans Words

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We hope you enjoyed our list of untranslatable Afrikaans words in Afrikaan language and learned something you can use soon! These untranslatable words from South Africa can make any conversation a little more colorful and fun. :)

Afrikaans can be a fun language, as it often describes the thing as it is. Learn it in entertaining ways with us, and you won’t be sorry!

Upon signing up, you immediately receive many free learning tools to help you master untranslatable words in Afrikaans without a struggle.

These tools include:

  1. An extensive vocabulary list, regularly updated
  2. A new Afrikaans word every day to memorize and use
  3. Fast access to an invaluable Afrikaans Core 100 Word List
  4. A free Afrikaans online dictionary
  5. Culturally-relevant lessons and numerous tricks to make your studies easier, such as this lesson on Painless Afrikaans Grammar tricks.

Fast-track your learning with the assistance of a personal tutor, who will first let you take an assessment test to personalize your training. You’ll also be guided to record yourself pronouncing these super-cool untranslatable Afrikaans words, so don’t hesitate to join our team now! You’ll sound like a native before you know it.

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How to Say “My Name is…” in Afrikaans & More!

There’s a perception in the world that Afrikaans-speaking South Africans are racist and nasty. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

South African Flag Painted on Hand Make a Heart Shape

While overt racism isn’t dead in South Africa, it’s common only among a tiny percentage of the nation. Most South Africans ignore color, creed, and nationality.

Let AfrikaansPod101 help you to endear yourself to them quickly! Knowing how to introduce yourself in Afrikaans will help oil the wheels of conversation. It will also ease your way with local clients, and help you to more easily connect with your colleagues. Introducing yourself in Afrikaans language doesn’t have to be difficult or frightening!

Starting with “My name is,” in Afrikaans, we’ll show you all you need to know about introductions, and more information on how to introduce yourself in South Africa. This way, you can easily learn Afrikaans and introduce yourself with flying colors!

This introduction will follow greetings in Afrikaans, which another blog post introduced. It’s generally considered polite to wait for others to introduce themselves first, but if you’re feeling confident and they’re looking shy, fall in through the door with “My name is …” in Afrikaans!

Table of Contents

  1. Identifying Yourself with Your Name, Age, and Nationality
  2. Placing Yourself in Society
  3. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Afrikaans Easily and Effortlessly

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1. Identifying Yourself with Your Name, Age, and Nationality

When it comes to how to introduce yourself in Afrikaans language, begin by talking about your name in Afrikaans. “My name is…” in Afrikaans looks similar to written English. However, it sounds somewhat different.

Afrikaans: My naam is Eun Jung.
Translation: “My name is Eun Jung.”

With “My name is,” in Afrikaans, and any other self-introduction in Afrikaans, you can lead with a specific introductory phrase: Aangename kennis. It’s slightly formal, but still commonly used among Afrikaners when meeting people for the first time. (Note: If you’re giving a speech in front of an audience to introduce yourself, you will not start with this phrase.)

Use it this way:

Afrikaans: Aangename kennis. My naam is Eun Jung.
Translation: “Pleased to meet you. My name is Eun Jung.”

Normally, you won’t offer information about your age right off the bat in conversations. Like most Westerners, the older Afrikaners get, the less they want to broadcast just how old they are. But as a foreigner, you’ll likely be forgiven most gaffes. Also, talking about your age in Afrikaans isn’t considered a big social no-no, so if you’re specifically asked for more personal details about yourself, feel free to share this bit of information.

Afrikaans: Ek is twee-en-twintig jaar oud.
Translation: “I am twenty-two years old.”

Sharing your nationality is a good idea, as your new friends or hosts will want to know where you’re from. Also, it’s a nice conversation-starter.

Afrikaans: Ek is van Suid Korea en ek bly in Seoul.
Translation: “I’m from South Korea and I live in Seoul.”

1- Situational Use

Barbeque with Meat and Veg

1. Informal

When you introduce yourself in Afrikaans phrases, the phrase below is suitable to use when you’re meeting new friends or colleagues in a casual, mostly social situation, such as at a party or the inevitable (and famous) South African barbeque, called a braai.

Afrikaans: Hallo. Ek is Eun Jung.
Translation: “Hello. I am Eun Jung.”

Using “I am …” in Afrikaans is the most casual, informal means of introducing yourself.

This will usually suffice, along with simultaneously offering your hand for a handshake with a warm, friendly smile. (Afrikaans men tend to shake hands every time they see each other, while women only do so when meeting someone for the first time. If you do proceed to become friends, you can expect a light hug when seeing them again, but be sure to let them initiate any embrace.)

Handshakes work in both formal and informal situations; never forget to look the person straight in the eye with a friendly smile when you do so. To Afrikaans-speaking South Africans, this indicates confidence and honesty. In more formal situations, don’t expect hugs, unless you know the person well and they initiate it.

Man and Woman Shaking Hands

2. Formal

Use these phrases when you greet and introduce yourself to a much older and senior colleague, boss, or dignitary. Also offer a firm handshake while looking them in the eye with a friendly smile.

Afrikaans: Goeiedag. Goed om u te ontmoet. My naam is Eun Jung.

The pronoun “u” is slightly dated and formal, but still a very polite way to address Afrikaans-speaking people. If you’re introducing yourself to a younger VIP, or if the situation warrants a more casual form of address, you can use “jou” instead of “u.”

Translation: “Good day. Pleased to meet you. My name is Eun Jung.”

2. Placing Yourself in Society

You’re still chatting with new colleagues or friends who are curious about your personal details. Don’t disappoint them—rather, blow their socks off with your excellent Afrikaans!

Afrikaans: Ek studeer pediatriese chirurgie by Yonsei University Medical School. OR Ek is ‘n loodgieter.
Translation: “I study pediatric surgery at Yonsei University Medical School.” OR “I am a plumber.”

This should be enough to oil the conversational wheels, but if not, you can go on to share more about your family.

Among Afrikaans-speaking South Africans, it’s socially acceptable to divulge your marital status upon introduction. Here’s an example of talking about your family in Afrikaans:

Afrikaans: Ek is getroud en het twee kinders. OR Ek is ongetroud en enkellopend.
Translation: “I am married and have two children.” OR “I am unmarried and single.”

Asian and Black Woman Chatting with Coffee

1- Situational Use

It’s acceptable to share this type of information with both a formal and an informal audience, with one exception: In a formal situation, it would be best to wait for a specific request to share more personal details about yourself. This can be done in a one-on-one conversation, but more likely when you’re specifically asked to give an introductory speech (like to your new work’s Board of Directors or such).

Informally, however, you can offer this voluntarily in any casual situation. Your openness will likely be met with appreciation, and most possibly, reciprocation.

Afrikaners like people, and they like to know about people. They’re curious that way! But, it’s seldom appropriate to over-share intimate details when you first meet people, such as relating the woes of your recent bunion operation, or your daughter’s maniac ex-boyfriend who set himself on fire in her bedroom. Save those details for later, when you’ve developed a closer friendship.

Most of the time, you can relax and just be yourself. Afrikaners are generally a rather forgiving bunch, and the odd social gaffe won’t get you excommunicated. To them, most of the time, emphasis is on social interaction and making strangers feel welcome and safe.

2- Sharing More Personal Titbits

So you’re on a roll; you’re talking to a captive audience and feel they want more from you. Now you can delight them with personal details, like your hobbies, any sport you partake in, any special interests you have, etc.

Do it this way:

Afrikaans: My stokperdjie is om natuur videos te skiet. Ek is ook baie lief vir lees en tennis speel.
Translation: “My hobby is to shoot nature videos. I also love reading and playing tennis.”

Sharing little bits of information about ourselves like this makes us more relatable and “human.” It can furthermore be a good way to find friends with similar interests.

Pets are also an acceptable topic of conversation among Afrikaans-speaking people.

Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir diere en het ‘n hond en twee katte by die huis.
Translation: “I love animals and have a dog and two cats at home.”

A Selection of Pets

3. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Afrikaans Easily and Effortlessly

So, reader, do you know how to introduce yourself in South Africa after reading our article? Do you feel comfortable enough to introduce yourself in Afrikaans words? If so, why not tell about yourself in Afrikaans in the comments? We’d love to hear from you and look forward to reading your self-introduction in Afrikaans!

Afrikaans is mostly a phonetic language (meaning you mostly pronounce the words as they are written), but then you have to be able to read Afrikaans. AfrikaansPod101 takes the lead with many free learning tools to help you master Afrikaans reading easily, and in fun ways.

These tools include:

  1. An extensive vocabulary list, regularly updated
  2. A new Afrikaans word to learn every day
  3. Quick access to the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List
  4. A free Afrikaans online dictionary

Learn more efficiently with the help of a personal tutor, who will first let you take an assessment test to personalize and tailor your training. You’ll also be guided to record your self-introduction in Afrikaans!

Getting a tutor is also a good option if you meet challenges in your learning, or need to fast-track correct pronunciation and enunciation. Your very own friendly, Afrikaans-speaking teacher will be only a text away on a special app, anywhere, anytime. Using a guided learning system, developed by experts in language and online education, you’ll receive personal feedback and constant support to improve in no time. You’ll also be tasked with weekly assignments in reading, writing, and speaking to really hone your Afrikaans speaking skills.

Imagine how impressed your South African friends will be when you display your excellent Afrikaans in conversation! With AfrikaansPod101, getting there will be easy and fun.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans