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Afrikaans Rules for Conjunctions—What You Need to Know!


Before learning about Afrikaans rules for conjunctions, do you know what a conjunction is?

Conjunctions are the type of words in a language that “glue” two words, phrases, and sentences or clauses together. For instance:

1- Joining Words: “Pepper and salt.” Here, and is the conjunction that joins the words “pepper” and “salt.”

2- Joining Phrases: “…in the air but not too high.” In this sentence, the conjunction but joins the two phrases “in the air” and “not too high.”

3- Joining Clauses/Sentences: “The man walks into the room as she gets ready to leave.” In this instance, as joins the two clauses “The man walks into the room” and “she gets ready to leave.”

Afrikaans conjunctions (called voegwoorde in Afrikaans) obviously have the same functions, but in this article, we’ll focus on how they join sentences or clauses. To master these easily, join us at AfrikaansPod101!

Conjunctions, Connecting Words

Before we go any further, a note on Afrikaans conjunction groups.

There are three groups of Afrikaans conjunction each distinct in the way they modulate the sentences they join. There are two key things to remember about conjunctions in Afrikaans rules when it comes to groups:

1) Of the two sentences it links, an Afrikaans conjunction mostly modulates or changes the second sentence.
2) The change it brings about mainly has to do with the position of the verb in this sentence.

Also remember: Afrikaans grammar can get very complex! There are nearly always exceptions to every rule, and the ones we explain here are very simple and straightforward. For instance, some of these conjunctions get used only when you’re referring to the past (using past tense verbs), and understanding that is a whole different kettle of fish!

However, for the purpose of learning to speak Afrikaans, there’s no need to get too tangled up in the grammar. Get comfortable with the basics first, and soon you’ll be able to help yourself in Afrikaans.


Let’s take a look at the different Afrikaans rules for conjunctions in each group, as well as a list of Afrikaans conjunctions for each.

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Table of Contents

  1. Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 1
  2. Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 2
  3. Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 3
  4. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Your Afrikaans Conjunctions with Ease!

1. Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 1

This one’s easy—these conjunctions just slap two sentences together and nothing changes about either one. For example:

Afrikaans: Die nag is donker maar die son sal weer opkom.
Translation: “The night is dark but the sun will rise again.”

Afrikaans: Sy koop kos want sy is honger.
Translation: “She buys food because she is hungry.”

Afrikaans: Of hy gaan val, of hy gaan vlieg.
Translation: “Either he’s going to fall, or he’s going to fly.”

Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 1 Examples:

Maar: “But”
En: “And”
Of: “Or”
Want: “Because”
Of…of: “Either…or”
Nog…nog: “Neither…nor”
Sowel as: “As well as”
Dog: “Yet” (As in: “You have your phone with you, yet you don’t answer it when it rings.” Dog is very close in meaning to maar, but not quite, such as is the case with “but” and “yet.” )

Since this one is so simple, why not practice your Afrikaans conjunctions right away? Show us how you use these Group 1 conjunctions by joining two Afrikaans sentences in the comments section!

2. Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 2

When a conjunction from this group is used, it changes the structure of the second sentence. The verb in the second sentence now moves to land straight after the conjunction.


Here are some Afrikaans conjunction examples in sentences for this group:

Sentence 1: Christine vertrek Skotland toe baie vroeg moreoggend.
Sentence 2: Sy slaap oor op die lughawe.
Translation: “Christine will be leaving for Scotland very early tomorrow morning. She will be sleeping over at the airport tonight.”

These two sentences get joined with the Afrikaans conjunction daarom (therefore):

Joined sentences: Christine vertrek Skotland toe baie vroeg moreoggend; daarom slaap sy oor op die lughawe vanaand.
Translation: “Christine will be leaving for Scotland very early tomorrow morning; therefore, she’ll be sleeping over at the airport.”

Can you see how the verb (slaap/sleep) in the second sentence moved position? It now finds itself right next to the conjunction. Furthermore, this particular conjunction is often used with a semicolon or a comma.

Another example:

Sentence 1: Trek jou warmste jas aan.
Sentence 2: Jy gaan koudkry.
Translation: “Put on your warmest coat. You will get cold.”

These two sentences get joined with the Afrikaans conjunction anders (otherwise).

Joined sentences: Trek jou warmste jas aan, anders gaan jy koudkry.
Translation: “Put on your warmest coat, otherwise you will get cold.”

Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 2 Examples:

Dan; daarna: “Then”
Dus; daarom; derhalwe: “Therefore”
Nogtans; nietemin: “Nevertheless”
Anders: “Otherwise”
Gevolglik: “As a result”
Al: “Although”
Toe: “Then”
Tog: “Even so”
Buitendien: “Besides”

3. Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 3

Sentence Patterns

When one of these conjunctions are used to join two sentences, the verb gets shy and does the opposite of Group 2 verbs; it moves as far away as possible from the conjunction, toward the end of the (second) sentence.

Like this: (The verb in red gets to move.)

Sentence 1: Sy mis hom baie.
Sentence 2: Sy sien hom so min.
Translation: “She misses him a lot. She gets to see so little of him.”

These two now get joined by the Afrikaans conjunction omdat (because):

Afrikaans: Sy mis hom baie omdat sy hom so min sien.
Translation: “She misses him a lot because she gets to see so little of him.”

Again, the conjunction changed the sentence structure, as the verb sien (sees) scuttled right to the end of the sentence.

Another example:

Sentence 1: Neem genoeg geld saam.
Sentence 2: Jy kan jouself geniet.
Translation: “Take enough money with you. You can enjoy yourself.”

The conjunction sodat (so that) joins the two sentences here. Watch how the modal verb kan (can) and the transitive verb geniet (enjoy) change positions.

Afrikaans: Neem genoeg geld saam sodat jy jouself kan geniet.
Translation: “Take enough money with you so that you can enjoy yourself.”

When Group 3 Afrikaans conjunctions are used at the start of a sentence, however, it changes both sentences with verb movements.

For instance:

Sentence 1: Ons kan gaan koffie of tee drink.
Sentence 2: Ek moet my werk klaarmaak.
Translation: “We can go drink coffee or tea. I need to finish my work.”

Coffee Latte

Starting with the conjunction voordat or voor (before), both sentences are modulated like this:

Afrikaans: Voordat ons koffie of tee kan gaan drink, moet ek my werk klaarmaak.
Translation: “Before we can go have coffee or tea, I need to finish my work.”

Afrikaans Conjunctions Group 3 Examples:

Dat: “That”
Omdat: “Because”
Totdat: “Until”
Voordat: “Before”
Nadat: “After”
Sedert: “Since”
Sodat: “So that”
Wat: “Which”
Wie: “Whom” / “Who”
Terwyl: “While”
Alhoewel: “Although”
Sodra: “The moment that”
Aangesien: “Seeing that”
Mits: “Provided that” / “On the condition that”
Tensy: “Unless”
Indien: “If”
Wanneer: “When”
Hoeveel: “How much”
Waar: “Where”
Hoe: “How”
Waarom: “Why”

Practice: Find the Afrikaans Conjunctions

Improve Listening

So, now you got the basics down! Why not practice, and see if you can find the conjunctions (those connecting sentences or clauses) in this Afrikaans paragraph:

Dit is ‘n mooi oggend. Die bergtoppe lê toe van die mis maar die oseaan is oop. Terwyl sy aantrek, besluit sy om uit te gaan. Sy wil gaan koffie drink saam met Colleen. Sy sal dit doen, indien haar vriendin beskikbaar is. Tog, dis nog baie vroeg; daarom besluit sy om eers haar werk klaar te maak.

Translation: “It is a beautiful morning. The mountaintops are covered with mist, but the ocean is clear. While she gets dressed, she decides to go out. She wants to go have coffee with Colleen. She will do it, if her friend is available. However, it’s very early still, therefore she decides to first finish her work.”

Share in the comments all the examples of Afrikaans conjunctions you could spot!

Did you have trouble finding most of them? Feel free to reach out in the comments if you need clarification on any Afrikaans conjunctions rules or definitions.

4. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Your Afrikaans Conjunctions with Ease!

Improve Listening Part 2

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Afrikaans Etiquette in South Africa: What You Need to Know


If you’re looking to find a formal Afrikaans school of etiquette, South Africa will disappoint you, as there is none. This is mainly because the country is home to over a dozen different ethnicities and cultures, and they all have their own etiquette! Some overlap, but this is often called a South African trait, such as their gregarious nature. Most Afrikaners will treat you as well as—or better than—you treat them!

Don’t let the lack of distinct etiquette guidelines worry you, though, because at AfrikaansPod101, we teach you culturally-relevant lessons! This will prepare you properly for a visit to the country, speaking Afrikaans.

In this lesson, we look at etiquette in Afrikaans-speaking populations in South Africa and how it’s used in different situations. The Afrikaans culture is a hot-pot of a mix, as said, but it’s mostly modeled after the U.K. English and the Dutch culture. Therefore, a lot of the Do’s and Don’ts are still somewhat British or Dutch, yet with a distinct South African flavor. As a guest, you’ll soon know what’s accepted and what’s frowned upon in South African culture!

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Table of Contents

  1. Afrikaans Etiquette in General
  2. Dining Etiquette in South Africa
  3. Make Use of AfrikaansPod101’s Lessons & Tools to Learn About South African Culture!

1. Afrikaans Etiquette in General

So, what is the meaning of etiquette in Afrikaans-speaking populations?

Afrikaners are, by nature, a friendly, loyal, and gregarious—but also no-nonsense—bunch of people. The latter may be due to their Dutch heritage, a nation known for its straightforward manner. This behavior can be somewhat disconcerting, as Afrikaners may come across as blunt and rude to some. Yet, the upside is that you’ll always know where you stand with an Afrikaner. They tend to avoid playing games, and as a rule, what you see is what you get.

Also, Afrikaners are pretty pragmatic. If there’s a problem, they tend to fix it, no questions asked. They’re usually trusting, and their nature is to be generous and helpful when they can be. Rural communities in particular can be incredibly close-knit and supportive of one another, as well as visitors. In cities, Afrikaners tend to be a bit more reclusive, as are most city-dwellers across the world; but if approached, they’ll rarely turn down someone in real need. You can say they’re somewhat gruff on the outside, but softies on the inside!

1- Do’s

1. Do be Straightforward and Honest

What does all of this mean, in terms of general social etiquette in South Africa? Simply this—do return the favor. Straightforward, honest dealings will win you friends and influence people in South Africa. You’ll find that you make loyal friends when you’re transparent in your actions, and when you make an effort to show heartfelt respect and loyalty.

Women Sticking Out Hand for Greeting

2. Greeting Etiquette in South Africa: Initial Greetings

In terms of behavior, this means that when you meet someone for the first time, greet them immediately and by their title. Allow your newly-met Afrikaner to indicate that you don’t have to address them formally. Look them straight in the eye, smile as you introduce yourself, and reach out for a handshake, especially if you’re male. Wait for the lady to extend her hand first. This shows respect for the other person, as well as an openness in your dealings with them—traits Afrikaners appreciate in everyone.

3. Making Friends & Body Language

If you get to know them better and become friends, the women may greet you with a friendly, casual hug, and men may hand out pats on the back with lots of guffawing and “How are you?”s. Some gregarious men may even hug you too. This may not be great workplace etiquette in South Africa, but in private social settings, a male hug means a lot.

Usually, Afrikaners will be sensitive to your body language, and won’t overstep personal boundaries. Yet, if they start hugging you, it most often means you’ve been accepted into their inner circle of friends. Cherish this, because it’s not easily won, and you can know that you’ve made friends for life. They tend to forgive a lot, but their friendship can be easily lost at any sign of disrespect and/or duplicity.

Party People Laughing Toast

4. Ask How They Are

When you greet, don’t forget to inquire after your Afrikaner friend, host, or acquaintance’s wellbeing, as this is considered respectful and shows that you care about them. Paying close attention to their response and reacting appropriately will go down well and will demonstrate even more respect. Afrikaners like to see and connect with people, and in return, they like to be seen and appreciated (or, at least, respected). This is a fairly common human need, but among Afrikaners, it’s an easily-detectable, important aspect of cultural etiquette in South Africa.

Here’s an AfrikaansPod101 blog post to learn How to Say Hello in Afrikaans; it has some pointers with regards to etiquette, too.

5. Gift-Giving Etiquette in South Africa


Afrikaners don’t expect their guests to bring gifts when invited to a social event or a get-together. However, such a gesture is always appreciated, and the more thoughtful and personal the gift, the bigger their appreciation often is. Wine and/or chocolate are common gifts to offer a host you don’t really know.

Taking something pertaining to your culture or country, especially if it’s very different from the South Africans’, is normally welcome. Offering a friendly thank-you card written by yourself in Afrikaans will also very likely win you a lot of favor! Any person likes it when you make an effort to learn their language; it warms the cockles of the heart. Learn in this blog post how to say thank you in Afrikaans!

6. Wedding Etiquette

Regarding South African social etiquette for weddings, South Africa is a country with diverse habits dictated by the culture you find yourself in. Afrikaans newly-weds greatly appreciate, but don’t expect, lavish wedding gifts. Your presence will very likely be the only present they want. But simultaneously, a gift will remind them of your good wedding wishes. In the cities and more sophisticated Afrikaans societies, wedding gift-lists are made available by the bride prior to the wedding, often at the shop where the items are sold.

Wedding Couple

7. Etiquette Rules in South Africa for Expressing Condolences

If an Afrikaner acquaintance or friend loses someone to death, it’s proper etiquette to express your condolences, either in person or with a bouquet of flowers and a sympathy card. Especially if your relationship is close, a call or personal email will be well-received.

8. Hygiene and Dress Code


Hygiene is an important part of both social and business etiquette in South Africa.

Most Afrikaners are appearance- and hygiene-sensitive, especially given the climate they live in. Going without a bath or a change of clothes for days could result in unhygienic personal care. While your host won’t ban you from their company if you’re not up to standard, it’s considered a subtle show of respect when you arrive at any event clean, neat-looking, and smelling fresh.

While they like to dress up for the occasion, Afrikaners aren’t sensitive about ostentatious clothing, and the Kardashians are not huge on their radar. So, as long as you stick to the basic standards of cleanliness, you’ll be welcome in any garb you choose!

Dress code is important and mostly determined by the event. Creative expression in clothing will certainly attract attention, but it’s unlikely to get you ostracized anywhere. So, if you want to make a good impression, don’t arrive in old shorts and sneakers at a wedding or a meeting with your new CEO, for instance.

2- Don’ts

Because Afrikaners are a pretty fuss-free people, there aren’t that many societal don’ts. These tips about the etiquette of South Africa are also apparent and not difficult to fathom.

1. Don’t be Disrespectful or Dishonest

Bad Phrases

Afrikaners don’t take kindly to people who play games with them (except in jokes or sport), or abuse their generosity. This is true of business etiquette in South Africa, and also in social relationships. So, acting disrespectfully and dishonestly will get you pushed out into the cold very swiftly. Also, don’t show any disrespect to an Afrikaner’s family or close friends. They’re very loyal, and if you seriously offend one, you may find yourself unwelcome in the whole community.

2. No Spitting in Public

Don’t spit in public, and take care to cough and sneeze away from people. If you’re sick with a cold or flu, blow your nose often and discard dirty tissues in the dustbin.

3. Cover Your Mouth When Yawning

Don’t yawn with your mouth open. Cover your mouth with your hand.

Man Yawning

4. Avoid Political Discussions


In both social and business etiquette in southern Africa, it’s best to refrain from discussing politics.

South Africa’s history of apartheid and social injustice is all but addressed, and still painfully raw in the minds of her citizens. If such a conversation starts, let your Afrikaans friends speak and listen sympathetically, with sensitivity. If you find the conversation offensive (this is possible in the company of some, unfortunately), find a way to change the topic, or discreetly excuse yourself. It’s always good to remember that every person in the country was negatively affected in some way by South Africa’s political history, and the topic is complex. There’s no easy answer to anyone’s problems.

5. Avoid Religious Discussions

Also, don’t discuss religion, especially if your Afrikaner friend, colleague, or host is a Christian and you’re not. Many Afrikaners align themselves with the Christian faith, and their religion is often a cornerstone in their lives not to be trifled with! Again, discretion and sensitivity are advisable if you don’t want to offend.

2. Dining Etiquette in South Africa

Women Restaurant

1- Table Manners

Table manners in South Africa among Afrikaners are pretty upper-middle-class British—eat with a knife and fork, don’t take humongous bites, chew with your mouth closed, and don’t slurp when you drink anything. Also, refrain from talking with your mouth full of food. Remaining attentive to your companions’ needs at a table is usually viewed favorably.

2- Tipping Etiquette in South Africa

Tipping etiquette in South Africa is pretty standard. If the service was good, 15% minimum is acceptable, while more will be highly appreciated. Less will indicate that you weren’t pleased with the service.

If you feel very aggrieved about any experience in a restaurant or hotel, it would be in order to complain. Afrikaner business owners pride themselves in making their guests feel welcome, and they normally take complaints seriously. Avoid being rude or offensive, as this behavior is very unlikely to draw the best from your hosts. Polite and respectful are good go-to mannerisms.

3- Saying Thank You

Saying thank you is big among Afrikaans people. It’s considered somewhat rude not to say thanks when someone hands you a drink, passes the salt, etc.

3. Make Use of AfrikaansPod101’s Lessons & Tools to Learn About South African Culture!

Do any of the Afrikaans do’s and don’ts remind you of those in your own country? Are any of them very different? Be sure to let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

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Dates in Afrikaans: Afrikaans Months of the Year and More!


It’s obvious that knowing how to read the calendar in another culture’s language is very important, especially if you’re planning to work in that country. Showing up on the wrong day for an interview because you didn’t know that Dinsdag meant “Tuesday” could cost you a lot! At AfrikaansPod101, we teach you the Afrikaans months of the year, as well as the days of the week and much more, to ensure this never happens!

Read on for simple vocabulary, and learn how to say “week,” “month,” and “date,” in Afrikaans. And afterwards, we’ll also be taking a look at important dates pertaining to South African holidays.

Table of Contents

  1. Background - The Gregorian Calendar
  2. The Calendar Months of the Year in Afrikaans
  3. The Calendar Days of the Week in Afrikaans
  4. Vocabulary Related to Dates
  5. Important Days on the South African Calendar
  6. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Dates and Much More?

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1. Background - The Gregorian Calendar

Like most countries in the world, South Africa follows the Gregorian calendar. As explained by Wikipedia, this calendar was named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October, 1582. Based on the earth’s revolutions around the sun, the average year is 365 days long. However, because the sun doesn’t orbit earth in exactly that many days, a 365.2422-day tropical year is approximated, which occurs every four years. This is called a “leap year.”

In simpler terms, this means that the Gregorian calendar groups approximately 365 days into twelve months per year, each with thirty or thirty-one days, except for February. The month of February has only twenty-eight days most years, because in every fourth one (the aforementioned leap year), February is twenty-nine days long. Imagine being born on the 29th of February. Would this mean you’d age slower than other people? Wouldn’t that be awesome!

Silly joke, before we proceed: What do calendars eat?



Do you have any funny jokes that have to do with calendars and dates? Share with us in the comments!

2. The Calendar Months of the Year in Afrikaans


The names of months in Afrikaans sound pretty similar to their English counterparts. For instance, January in Afrikaans is Januarie. Since Afrikaans is a phonetic language, meaning that we pronounce words the way they’re written, you should be able to easily derive what words mean if you understand some of the basic phonetics of the language.

As you’ll see, there’s very little difference in spelling between English and Afrikaans months. This should make how to say dates in Afrikaans a piece of cake!

English           Afrikaans
January           Januarie
February           Februarie
March           Maart
April           April
May           Mei
June           Junie
July           Julie
August           Augustus
September           September
October           Oktober
November           November
December           Desember

3. The Calendar Days of the Week in Afrikaans


The days of the week are a somewhat different story, but it’s still not that difficult to memorize.

English           Afrikaans
Monday           Maandag
Tuesday           Dinsdag
Wednesday           Woensdag
Thursday           Donderdag
Friday           Vrydag
Saturday           Saterdag
Sunday           Sondag

Dates are indicated with numbers, so therefore, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the Afrikaans numeric system first.

Learn more about the system here, in this blogpost, and practice pronouncing Afrikaans numbers with this Beginner Vocabulary List on AfrikaansPod101.

The way dates are used in Afrikaans is pretty easy, like in English. It’s based on the U.K. system of dates, which means the numeral precedes the name of the day, such as in:

1 Januarie
30 Desember

The same goes if you prefer to use the rank term of the day, such as in:

Afrikaans: Ons vakansie begin die eerste Januarie.
Translation: “Our holiday starts on the first of January.”


Afrikaans: Sy verjaarsdag val op Vrydag, die twee-en-twintigste November.
Translation: “His birthday falls on Friday, the twenty-second of November.”

4. Vocabulary Related to Dates

Here’s some Afrikaans vocabulary to explain the calendar. These words are used the same way as their English counterparts, and will make saying dates in Afrikaans so much easier for you.

Airplane in Flight

1- “Day” / Dag

A: “Vir watter dag beplan jy die vlug?”
Translation: “For which day are you planning the flight?”

2- “Date” / Datum

B: “Wil jy die dag of die datum weet?”
Translation: “Would you like to know the day or the date?”

3- “Month” / Maand

A: “Die dag en die maand, asseblief.”
Translation: “The day and the month, please.”

B: “Ek gaan die vlug bespreek vir Sondag, die agt-en-twintigste Julie.”
Translation: “I’m going to book the flight for Sunday, the twenty-eighth of July.”

4- “Week” / Week

A: “Dis goed, die laaste week van Julie pas my.”
Translation: “That’s good, the last week of July suits me.”

5- “Weekend” / Naweek

B: “Ek is bly jy is tevrede. Daardie naweek vlug na Skotland behoort nie te vol te wees nie.”
Translation: “I’m happy it suits you. That weekend flight to Scotland shouldn’t be too full.”

5. Important Days on the South African Calendar


Like other countries, South Africa has special days during which events of national significance are celebrated. Knowing the date in Afrikaans for each of these holidays is sure to win the hearts of the South Africans in your life!

The most important national holidays are the following:

1- March 21 - Human Rights Day / Menseregte Dag

Human rights as such is self-explanatory in terms of importance for any modern society, but in South Africa, human rights have special significance. The country has a sad history of gross human-right crimes, spanning over many centuries, and affecting the lives of all the people of South Africa.

Strife and war in South Africa, which were borne from people’s desire to be treated with equality and dignity, reached a critical point during the sixties. In Sharpeville, a small settlement close to Vereeniging, Gauteng, an infamous massacre took place on March 21, 1960. The protesters had gathered to petition against an old South African law, the so-called Pass Law, which was grossly unfair and derogatory toward South Africans of color. Members of the South African police force fired bullets to disperse a peaceful protest crowd, and on that sad day, sixty-nine people died and 180 were wounded.

The event became symbolic of the South African battle for true democracy and people’s human rights, which are rooted in the simple fact of their humanity. This battle took many decades, and the country is all but free from its turbulent past. Yet currently, the South African Constitution is of the most progressive in the world, and it includes indivisible human rights in its Bill of Rights, Chapter 2. The twenty-first of March is the day on which South Africans commemorate their hard-won rights as free and equal citizens.

2- April 27 - Freedom Day / Vryheidsdag

South African Flag Freedom Day

For the largest part of its history, the majority of people in South Africa could not vote democratically, and thus had no say in how to run the country. This all changed on the 27th of April, 1994, when the first-ever democratic vote was held.

Back then, the day was characterized with much joy and jubilation as the first-ever democratic referendum. It was symbolic of freedom for millions of South Africans. This is commemorated every year as Freedom Day.

3- June 16 -Youth Day / Jeugdag

This is another day of commemoration with a devastating history. In 1976, the repressive previous regime announced that Afrikaans would be added to English as one of the two main languages of education. (Many saw Afrikaans and English as the languages of the oppressor for decades.) This sparked an uprising by the youth in Soweto, a settlement just out of Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Multiracial Hands Together, Pact

The students not only protested against the unfairness of getting taught in a language other than their native tongue, they also fought against the repressive and unfair schooling system. Schools were racially segregated, which was the crux of the uprising, as it added to the view that some citizens were less human and worthy than others in South Africa. Approximately 20,000 students took part in the protests in the streets of Soweto on that day.

Yet again, the South African police used blunt-force brutality against unarmed citizens, and it’s estimated that up to 700 civilians died that day.

Today, their sacrifice is commemorated as Youth Day.

4- August 9 - National Women’s Day / Nasionale Vrouedag

The protests against unfair laws didn’t start in the sixties—these had been going on for many years. On August 9, 1956, tens of thousands of South African women of all races marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, which is the official seat of the South African government. They petitioned against the previously mentioned Pass Act, which, as explained by Wikipedia, required South Africans who were classified as “black” under The Population Registration Act, to carry an internal passport (commonly called a “pass” by people). This pass served to maintain population segregation, to control urbanization, and to manage migrant labor during the apartheid era.

Women Protesting

After leaving approximately 14,000 petitions on the steps of the Union Buildings for then-President J.G. Strijdom, they sang a protest song which has since been turned into a national incantation: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo! Literally, it translates as: “Now that you have touched the women, you have struck a rock,” or, as is more commonly used these days: “You strike a woman, you strike a rock.”

This protest was peaceful, fortunately, and to this day, it’s commemorated to draw attention to significant societal problems South African women still face. Many men have joined their ranks to continue addressing issues such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, discrimination in the workplace, unequal education, and so forth.

5- September 24 - Heritage Day / Erfenisdag

In 1996, the South African Department of Arts, Culture, Science, and Technology, released a statement that declared the 24th of September a public holiday on which all South Africans’ cultural heritage is celebrated. They defined heritage as such: “That which we inherit: the sum total of wildlife and scenic parks, sites of scientific or historical importance, national monuments, historic buildings, works of art, literature and music, oral traditions and museum collections together with their documentation.”

South African Heritage Day, Woman in Traditional Gear

They furthermore expressed the notion that Heritage Day’s commemorative events each year are a powerful agent for promulgating a South African identity, fostering reconciliation, and promoting the idea that variety is a national asset, as opposed to igniting conflict.

So, Heritage Day is also about reconciliation and building a new identity together.

6- December 16 - Reconciliation Day / Herenigingsdag

This used to be a commemorative holiday based on an event in the history of the Boers—Caucasian immigrants who entered the country for the first time in the 1600s. The event was an epic battle between the Boere soldiers and a Zulu tribe in Kwazulu Natal. According to Boere lore, those soldiers vowed to God to commemorate the day if they won the battle, which they did. The Stryd van Bloedrivier (Battle of Blood River) was said to have taken place in the late 1800s.

However, against the backdrop of the enormous social injustice that followed over the next century, it was impossible to keep this holiday commemoration as is in the new, democratic South Africa. Therefore, in the spirit of reconciling painful histories and working together rather than fighting, Reconciliation Day was born.

What are the important national holidays in your country? Share with us in the comments!

6. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Dates and Much More?

We hope you enjoyed this lesson about how to say dates in Afrikaans, and that you gained some valuable insight about Afrikaans culture through our section on special dates.

AfrikaansPod101 brings you culturally significant language-learning, teaching you about the most important commemorative holidays in Afrikaans. We provide the following lessons and materials, and so much more:

a) Vocabulary for South African National Holidays
b) Recordings about Human Rights Day as part of our Advanced Lessons presented in Afrikaans. Similar ones are available for all other important holidays.
c) Tips on how to spend your South African holidays.
d) Access to other free tools, such as this Afrikaans Key Phrase list, the 100 Most Common Afrikaans words, and nearly inexhaustible Vocabulary Lists.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about South African history, or planning to visit or work in the country, knowing your dates and months in Afrikaans will only help you. At AfrikaansPod101, we make sure that you understand the vocabulary related to these holidays, and speak like a native would!

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Names and Terms for Families in Afrikaans


Family is important in every culture, no matter what size or form it takes. Interaction with this group of people gives us our first relationship lessons in life. If these are disrupted, it can have an impact not only on all of our other relationships and the way we bond with others, but also how we see and experience ourselves.

At AfrikaansPod101, we’re aware of how important it is to know how to talk about families in Afrikaans. That’s why we’ve crafted this insightful article about Afrikaans words for family and family in Afrikaans culture, just for you!

What is the role of family in your culture? And how important is family to you personally? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!

Table of Contents

  1. Family in Afrikaans
  2. Immediate Family in Afrikaans
  3. Extended Family in Afrikaans
  4. Afrikaans Terms for Marriage or Extended-Family Relationships
  5. How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Learn Afrikaans Family Terms

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1. Family in Afrikaans

Family Words

Family is a strong institution among most of the Afrikaans-speaking people of South Africa, with differences that largely depend on culture. South Africa hosts a very diverse people, with multiple cultures within its borders. Afrikaans is but one of eleven nationally-acknowledged languages. In Afrikaans, the term “family” (familie) tends to refer to relatives and extended family, while the nuclear family is called a gesin.

1- How to Use:

Afrikaans: Ons gesin gaan vandag strand toe.
Translation: “Our family is going to the beach today.”
Context: Use when the family unit consists of either a couple or single parent with their offspring.


Afrikaans: DIe familie kom kuier elke Sondag.
Translation: “The family comes to visit every Sunday.”
Context: This can refer to either adult or child siblings of the parents, and/or grandparents, relatives, and extended family.

1.1 Families of European South Africans

Among Afrikaans-speaking Caucasians, families are modeled after the typical European or American family, with a great variety in expression. Tolerance for non-traditional families depends on social circles or where you live—in some areas of the countryside, for instance, small-town mentality will frown upon same-sex, single-parent, or even mixed race/culture families. In the cities and more populated areas, though, diversity is much more tolerated and accepted.

1.2 Families of African or Mixed-Race South Africans

Among Afrikaans-speaking people of color (which is not a derogatory term in South Africa, by the way), family tends to be a more important institution. This is not only, but strongly, due to cultural traditions steeped in a native philosophy that’s popularly called ubuntu.

Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term, meaning “humanity.” In Zulu, ubuntu is explained with the phrase Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, which literally translates as: “A person is a person through other people.” It’s understood that a person’s humanity and identity is shaped by, and sustained through, their relationships and connections with other people. Ubuntu has become a popular philosophical term which indicates the belief in “a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” Of course, this includes the family.

2. Immediate Family in Afrikaans

Parent Phrases

“Close family” in Afrikaans refers to the nuclear family, as previously explained. Sometimes, this includes great-grandparents and grandparents, especially if they all live together.

The Afrikaans people love to use diminutive nouns to express endearment. Look for the suffixes -tjie or -ie—they’re everywhere!

Here’s our guide to help you learn family words in Afrikaans for those closest to you!

1- Great-grandmother

Formal: Groot-grootmoeder literally means “big-big mother.” People normally use this term with a possessive pronoun, not as a form of address. Such as in My groot-grootmoeder is siek. Translation: “My great-grandmother is ill.”

Informal: Oumagrootjie. This is used as above. Simply replace grootmoeder with oumagrootjie for a more informal term, which is used more often.

Form of address: To address their great-grandmothers, Afrikaans-speakers often use the same term as they do for “grandmother,” which is ouma, simply because it’s easier. Yet, some prefer to call this matriarch Oumagrootjie, and it’s not incorrect.

2- Grandmother

Formal: Grootmoeder, which means “big mother,” is used as in the previous example, normally with a possessive pronoun in more formal settings, and not as a form of address. Such as in: Haar grootmoeder is ‘n afstammeling van President Jan Smuts. Translation: “Her grandmother is a descendant of President Jan Smuts.”

Informal: Ouma means “old mother” and is used as a noun like above, but more informally. It’s the equivalent of an English “grandma.” This is also the most popular way to address a grandmother from either side of the family. Such as in: Ouma, ek is lief vir jou! Translation: “Granma, I love you!”

Common Terms of Endearment: Oumie or Oumsie.

Other Uses: Sometimes, the words ouma or oumatjie are used in reference to an elderly lady who’s not a relative. Such as in: Die oumatjie wat melktert verkoop op die mark is so vrolik. Translation: “The little old lady selling confectionery at the market is very joyful.”

Grandmother with Flowers

3- Mother

Formal: A “mother” in Afrikaans is a moeder. Again, this is mostly used as a noun, and is a slightly formal term, such as in: Haar moeder is gister oorlede. Translation: “Her mother passed away yesterday.” It’s not a common form of address, but it’s not incorrect to use it this way.

Informal: Ma or Mamma, which translates as “Mom” or “Momma.” As above, these are used as nouns in a more informal setting. They’re also interchangeable and the most commonly-used terms of address that Afrikaans children or offspring use. Such as in: Ma/Mamma, hierdie nagereg is wonderlik! Translation: “Mom/Momma, this dessert is wonderful!”

Common Terms of Endearment: Moekie or Mammie or Moedertjie

See those diminutives?! These mostly translate as “Mommy.”

4- Daughter

Formal: A “daughter” in Afrikaans is dogter. This phrase is used, like in English, to indicate female offspring, as in: Marietjie is my dogter. Translation: “Marietjie is my daughter.”

Informal: There’s no distinction between formal and informal nouns with regards to offspring in Afrikaans.

Common Forms of Address: Parents address their children by their names or pet names. There’s no form of address to indicate family relations pertaining to children.

Grandmother with Granddaughter

5- Granddaughter

Formal: Kleindogter is a literal translation of “little daughter.” It’s used as a noun, such as in English, to indicate relation: Marietjie is haar kleindogter. Translation: “Marietjie is her granddaughter.”

Informal: There is no distinction between formal and informal nouns with regards to grandchildren in Afrikaans.

Common Forms of Address: Grandparents call their grandchildren by their names or pet names, as there’s no form of address that indicates this type of family relation. Afrikaans for “grandchildren” is kleinkinders [plural] or kleinkind [singular].

6- Great-granddaughter

Formal: “Great-granddaughter” in Afrikaans is klein-kleindogter, and it literally means “little-little daughter.” This term is used as a noun, such as in English, only to indicate relation: Sy klein-kleindogter is baie mooi. Translation: “His great-granddaughter is very pretty.”

Informal: There’s no distinction between formal and informal nouns with regards to great-grandchildren in Afrikaans.

Common Forms of Address: Great-grandparents call their great-grandchildren by their names or pet names, as there’s no form of address that indicates family relations of this kind.

7- Sister

Formal: Suster is normally used only as a noun, such as in English, to indicate a sibling relationship: Sy suster is baie suksesvol. Translation: “His sister is very successful.”

Informal: Sus or Sussie. To indicate rank in family, the younger or youngest sister is often called kleinsus or kleinsussie, translating as “little sister.” An older sister is called ousus or grootsus, which translates as “older/big sister.” These are used as nouns, but they are also common forms of address.

Common Terms of Endearment: Siblings mostly call one another by their names or pet names, or sus. Sometimes, a sister and/or daughter gets called Sussa.

Grandmother, Mother, Daughter

8- Great-Grandfather

Formal: Groot-grootvader literally means “big-big father.” As in the case of its female equivalent, this is a noun, not a form of address. For example: Sy groot-grootvader se plaas is deur familie geërf. Translation: “His great-grandfather’s farm was inherited by the family.”

Informal: Oupa-grootjie translates as “grandpa-big.” Like its female equivalent, this is an informal term for “great-grandfather.” Use as above, just replace groot-grootvader with oupagrootjie.

Common Terms of Endearment: To address their great-grandfathers, Afrikaans-speakers often use the same term as for “grandfather,” which is oupa, simply because it’s easier. Yet, many do prefer to address this patriarch as oupagrootjie, and it’s not incorrect.

9- Grandfather

Formal: “Grandfather” in Afrikaans is grootvader, which literally means “big father.” Like its female equivalent, this term is used as a noun, not a form of address. It gets used this way: Sy grootvader aan moederskant is van Frankryk. Translation: “His maternal grandfather is from France.”

Informal: A “grandpa” or “grandfather” in Afrikaans is called an oupa. It’s used as above, but in more informal settings (and literally translates as “old father” in English). So simply replace grootvader with oupa. This is also the most popular way to address a grandfather from either side of the family, such as in: Jou baard is so mooi, Oupa. Translation: “Your beard is lovely, Grandpa.”

Common Terms of Endearment: Oupie or Oupatjie or Oups

Other Uses: Sometimes, the words oupa or oupatjie are used in fond reference to an elderly person who’s not a relative. Such as in: Die oupatjie wat vrugte verkoop op die mark is so vriendelik. Translation: “The little old man selling fruit at the market is very friendly.”

Father and Baby Son

10- Father

Formal: “Father” in Afrikaans is vader. It’s used the same way as its female equivalent, moeder, but mostly as a noun, not a form of address (unless the relationship is very formal). It’s most commonly used as a religious term for Father God, such as in Ons Vader wat in die hemel is… Translation: “Our Father in heaven…”

Informal: Pa or Pappa. When referring to a father, the word pa is used, such as in: My pa is baie ryk. Translation: “My dad is very rich.” Both are used as terms of address, too.

Common Terms of Endearment: Pappie or Paps

11- Son

Formal: A “son” in Afrikaans is seun. It’s used, as in English, to indicate an offspring relation, as in: Trevor is my seun. Translation: “Trevor is my son.”

Informal: There is no distinction between formal and informal nouns with regards to offspring in Afrikaans.

Common Ways of Address: Parents address their children by their names or pet names. There’s no term of address to indicate family relations pertaining to offspring. However, some Afrikaner parents address their son as seun, such as in English and American cultures.

Grandfather with Grandson

12- Grandson

Formal: A “grandson” in Afrikaans is a kleinseun, and it’s literally a translation for “little son.” It’s used as a noun, such as in English, to indicate relation: Trevor is haar kleinseun. Translation: “Trevor is her grandson.”

Informal: There’s no distinction between formal and informal nouns with regards to grandchildren in Afrikaans.

Common Terms of Endearment: Grandparents call their grandchildren by their names or pet names, as there’s no form of address that indicates family relations.

13- Great-grandson

Formal: Klein-kleinseun, literally translates as “small-small son.” It’s used as a noun, like in English, to indicate relation, as in: Sy klein-kleinseun bly in Tzaneen. Translation: “His great-grandson is living in Tzaneen.”

Informal: There’s no distinction between formal and informal nouns with regards to great-grandchildren in Afrikaans.

Common Terms of Endearment: Great-grandparents call their great-grandchildren by their names or pet names, as there’s no form of address to indicate family relations.

14- Brother

Formal: Afrikaans for “brother” is broer. It’s used as a slightly more formal noun to indicate sibling relation, as in: My broer bly in Skotland. Translation: “My brother lives in Scotland.”

Informal: Boet or Boetie. Translation: “Bro.” These are used equally as forms of address and as nouns.

Common Terms of Endearment: Boeta. Also, when Afrikaners like you, you could well be addressed as Boet (even if you’re not related), especially in informal situations, like chatting around the signature braaivleis vuur (somewhat similar to a barbeque). Braai-ing is a famous South African form of social catering, and families often hold them at gatherings.

Family Get-Together Lunch

3. Extended Family in Afrikaans

As mentioned, the nuclear family (mother, father, and offspring) is called a gesin in Afrikaans. Other family (grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, etc.) are usually referred to as familie.

These are the Afrikaans terms for relatives.

1- Uncle: Oom

Like the English “uncle,” oom is the title for the maternal or paternal brother and extended family of the parents.

Example: My Oom Kobus ry ‘n Mazda.

Translation: “My Uncle Cobus drives a Mazda.”

Children always use this term to address or refer to any adult male other than their father. In colloquial, informal Afrikaans, many adult Afrikaners also use the term to address or describe any male much older than themselves, irrespective of relation.

Example: Die oom eet ‘n koekie.

Translation: “The (uncle/old man) eats a cupcake.”

2- Aunt: Tant or Tante or Tannie

Tant or tante are the more formal nouns or forms of address for an older female relative.

Example: Tant Bettie verjaar vandag.

Translation: “It’s Aunt Betty’s birthday today.”

The diminutive, tannie, is the most commonly used term to describe or address the maternal and paternal sister/s (aunt/s) and extended female family members of both parents. Tannie is also used to address or describe any older female. Children always use this term for any adult female other than their mother.

Example: Die tannie koop piesangs.

Translation: “The (older lady/aunt) buys bananas.”

Cousins Playing with Laptop

3- Cousin: Neef or nefie AND nig or niggie

Neef or nefie AND nig or niggie are all Afrikaans terms for “cousin.” These terms are used to describe the offspring of maternal and paternal siblings, meaning the children of related aunts and uncles. The terms are specific, and commonly only used to describe true relatives in modern times.

Neef is slightly more formal than nefie, and is used to address and describe the male cousin.

Example: Neef Pieter is terug in die Kaap.

Translation: “Cousin Peter is back in the Cape.”

Nig or niggie is the form of address (and noun) for the female cousin.

Example: My niggie Susan kom by ons kuier.

Translation: “My cousin Susan will be visiting us.”

4. Afrikaans Terms for Marriage or Extended-Family Relationships

Fortunately, these terms are more fixed, and indicate the specific extended-family relationships between people.

Newlyweds at Wedding

1- Husband and Wife: man en vrou OR eggenoot en eggenote

In an Afrikaans married couple (getroude paartjie), a husband is simply called man, and a wife is simply called vrou. These are the most commonly used terms, and they’re only distinguishable from “man and woman” (man en vrou) when a possessive pronoun is used (sy/haar/my, which is “his/her/ in English).

Examples: Sy vrou staan op. AND Haar man werk by die bank.

Translations: “His wife gets up.” AND “Her husband works at the bank.”

There are other, slightly more formal terms too: eggenoot (masculine) and eggenote (feminine). They’re used exactly the same way as man and vrou.

2- “Mother-in-Law” and “Father-in-Law”: Skoonma and Skoonpa

These terms for inlaws are used exactly the same way as in English. They translate literally as “clean mom” and “clean dad,” but this doesn’t hold any significance in their meaning!

Example: Haar skoonma dra ‘n pienk rok vandag.

Translation: “Her mother-in-law is wearing a pink dress today.”

3- “Sister-in-Law” and “Brother-in-Law”: Skoonsuster and Swaer

Skoonsuster translates literally as “clean sister,” but, again, that’s not what it means. It means “sister-in-law,” and an informal term is skoonsus.

Swaer is the term for “brother-in-law” and it’s a homonym for the Afrikaans word swaar, which means “heavy.” This is exactly what some Afrikaners affectionately call their brother-in-laws: Karel is my naaste heavy. Translated: “Carl is my closest brother-in-law.”

5. How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Learn Afrikaans Family Terms

Family Quotes

We hope that we helped you expand your family in Afrikaans vocabulary, and that you now have a better idea of what family in Afrikaans culture looks like.

AfrikaansPod101, with its innovative online learning system, stands out among online learning platforms to help you master Afrikaans easily! Why not test it—quickly learn Must-Know Terms for Family Members in Afrikaans. Our lessons are culturally relevant, meaning they’re tailored not only to increase your language skills, but to also inform you of Afrikaner culture, such as the Afrikaans family structure.

When you sign up, you get instant access to tools like:

1- The Afrikaans Core 100 Word List
2- A new Afrikaans word to learn every day!
3- An extensive vocabulary list, regularly updated
4- A free Afrikaans online dictionary
5- Monthly video talks and shows to help you learn easier and faster, and stay motivated
6- Easy and fun ways to cement your new vocabulary by placing it in context, such as this recorded lesson about possessive pronouns called Who’s in These Family Photos?

Further speed up your learning with the help of a personal tutor, who will first assess your current Afrikaans language abilities to personalize your training and tailor it to your needs.

Hard work always pays off, and to help you in this, AfrikaansPod101 will be there every step of the way toward your Afrikaans mastery!

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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!

Afrikaans, which is closely related to Dutch, is both an easy and challenging language to master, especially if your own is not Germanic-based.

Let us make it easier for you with our innovative approach to language learning. You can expect the following:

Enroll with us at AfrikaansPod101 now for a lifetime membership, and easily learn how to say “I’m sorry” in Afrikaans. You won’t be sorry if you do…

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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!

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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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