Books by Brent Meersman

Latest: Sunset Claws (2017) Primary Coloured (2007) Ophila and the poet (2010) Reports Before Daybreak (2011) Five Lives at Noon (2013) 80 Gays around the World (2015) Homo Odyssee...

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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