Books by Brent Meersman

Latest: Rattling the Cage (2021) A Childhood Made Up (2020) Homo Odyssey (2018) Sunset Claws (2017) 80 Gays around the World (2015) Five Lives at Noon (2013) Reports Before Daybreak...

Brent Meersman



amaqabane – IFP term for communists at the time
askari – East-African soldier or police. Used to describe blacks who enforced colonial / apartheid rule
baas – master
befokked – fucked
bergie – homeless person in Cape Town
blerrie – as in English bloody for shock or anger
bliksem – bastard
boet – brother
boepens – potbelly
boerewors – South African suasage
bokbaard – goatee
bosberade – “bush council”, a strategy meeting in an isolated venue
braaisous – marinade for BBQ
brei – refers to the manner some Afrikaans people speak with an uvular “r”
Broederbonder – a secret Afrikaans business league
broekielace – decorative wrought iron work
bunny chow – Durban food in which a bread is hollowed out and filled
casspir – type of armoured personnel carrier
chakalaka – a spicy tomato and onion mix
doek – headscarf
dompas – apartheid era identity document “non-white” South Africans were forced to carry
dwaal – daze
eish! – an exclamation
fokof – fuck off (Afrikaaans)
gat – hole
GCM! – a slang exclamation
gemors – mess
gesuip – get drunk
handlanger – sidekick
hendsopper – pejorative word for Afrikaaners who surrendered to the British during the Anglo-Boer war
hok – cage
impis – Zulu military formation
induna – the chief’s advisor, but on the mines a black overseer
intelezi – magic potion of herbs to cleanse
ja-nee – literally: yes-no, a common Afrikaans expression for agreeing with someone
kak – shit
kêrels – guys
kettie – a slingshot
kitskonstabels – “instant constable”, referred to new police deployed with little training to shore up numbers
klap – slap
Klippies – Klipdrift brand of brandy
Klova – an insulting term used to taunt someone
knobkieries (not knobkerries) – short stick with a knob at the head used in fighting
lappie – rag
larnie – fancy (slang)
lobolo – bride price
los poppies – “loose” women
makwerekwere makoerekoere – derogatory word for black immigrants
mebos – a sweet confection from dried fruit
meidenaaier – literally “maid fucker”
mielies – corn
moegoe – idiot
moffie – homosexual
muti – African potion for magical strength
naai – fuck
necklace / necklaced – term used to describe execution using a burning tyre
oke – guy
ou sis – older sister
panga(s) – machete
pêl – pal
piepies – diminutive for penises
poephol – asshole
potjie – a stew dish referring to the three-legged cast iron pot it is cooked in
pondok – hovel
rooinek – derogatory term for Enlgishman (literally red neck referring to sunburn)
samp – coarse ground maize
shebeen – a speakeasy
sloot – a ditch
snoek – a type of fish
sorrie – sorry
spaza – a convenience store found in African townships and rural areas
stayaway(s) – a form of workers’ strike
stokvel – a savings syndicate
stywe pap – thick maize porridge
terrs – terrorists
tickey-box – phonebooth
tjaile – rest time
toppie – old man
truessbob – “as true as Bob”
tshisa nyama – BBQ
tsotsi – gangster
umlungu – white man
umngqusho – porridge (traditional)
voetsek – bugger off
watsenaam – what’s his name
wena – watch out
witdoeke – a vigilante group in the 1980s in the Western Cape
wors – sausage

Xhosa & Zulu phrases
Nceda, hlala phantsi – Please sit down
Injani intombi yakho – how is your daughter?
Uphumaphi? – where have you come from?
Ikrisimesi Emnandi – merry Christmas
Sininqwenelela Unyaka Omtsha – happy new year
Molo, bhuti – hello, brother
Gcwalisa! – fill up
Molo, kunjani? – hello, how are you
Bekumnandi ukuthetha nawe. Sobonana kwakhona ngomso. – It was good to speak to you. We will see each other tomorrow.

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